Former House speaker Newt Gingrich appears to be running against the Constitution as much as against President Obama these days. Gingrich has been promising to round up judges who do not agree with him — statements that have even conservative figures like Michael Mukasey, former attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, denouncing him. Mukasey was the attorney general who blocked prosecutions into torture, but finds Gingrich truly scary. I am currently scheduled to be on Hardball tonight to discuss this latest attack on the judiciary.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Gingrich indicated that he would call judges who hand down controversial opinions to appear before Congress to answer for their transgressions and would send federal law enforcement to arrest judges failed to appear.
It is the latest attack on the judicial branch — attacks that led Mukasey to denounce his proposals as “dangerous, ridiculous, totally irresponsible, outrageous, off-the-wall and would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle.”
Here is one of the exchanges:
SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this and we’ll talk about enforcing it, because one of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, the congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before congress and hold a congressional hearing. Some people say that’s unconstitutional. But I’ll let that go for a minute.
I just want to ask you from a practical standpoint, how would you enforce that? Would you send the capital police down to arrest him?
GINGRICH: If you had to.
SCHIEFFER: You would?
GINGRICH: Or you instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshal. Let’s take the case of Judge Biery. I think he should be asked to explain a position that radical. How could he say he’s going to jail the superintendent over the word “benediction” and “invocation”? Because before you could — because I would then encourage impeachment, but before you move to impeach him you’d like to know why he said it.
Now clearly since the congress has….
SCHIEFFER: What if he didn’t come? What if he said no thank you I’m not coming?
GINGRICH: Well, that is what happens in impeachment cases. In an impeachment case, the House studies whether or not — the House brings them in, the House subpoenas them. As a general rule they show up.
It is the very definition of demagogy to dangle out the image of judges being clapped in irons to satisfy citizens angry over decisions by judges. Article III is designed to guarantee independence from people like Gingrich so that judges can rule in favor of the Constitution and, yes, at times take positions disliked by the majority.
Source: Washington Post
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