Newt Gingrich, who is just finishing his turn as King of the Hill in the Iowa caucus polling, recently raised eyebrows when he suggested that "activist" judges should be forced to testify in Congress, explaining their controversial rulings. He even went a far to suggest abolishing entire courts.
Of course, this all ignores that if you go around "abolishing" "liberal" judges and circuit courts, a Democratic Congress or presidential administration could retaliate and take out "conservative" judges. Plus, there's that whole "separate but equal" clause of our Constitution, where we have three co-equal branches of government and if you, a legislator or you, a president, does not like a court's decision, it is up to Congress to either write or rewrite the law the court "got wrong" or for the President's executive branch to choose how they would execute this ruling they disagree with, perhaps appealing the ruling to the highest court in the land or working with Congress to write a new law.
But that's it. Those are your choices.
The fact that Gingrich could even bring up something so unconstitutional and unethical and have a quasi-legitimate debate about it is evidence of how shitty civics are taught in American public schools, but crazier than this is ... when did Newt's Nixon-level paranoia lead to Pervez Musharraf crackpot decision-making?
Remember Musharraf? OK. Maybe you don't. But back in 2007, the then leader of Pakistan (and our buddy in the War on Terror), went to war with his own judiciary. Using the imposition of "a state of emergency" as an excuse, Musharraf gave several members of the judiciary the pink slip, causing a ruckus that lead to political instability, emboldened terrorists, political assassinations, bloody riots and a near civil war.
You know? No big! Just the near collapse of a country that has nukes!
I imagine that if you're a judge -- liberal, conservative, moderate or Libertarian -- you probably don't like this discussion one bit. It probably already annoys judges that they're accused of being "activists" when if you're a crazy Congress Critter, rigidly holding so fast to an ideology that you causes the entire city of D.C. to become dysfunctional, you're called "sir" or "madam." You're probably tired of being to blame for every time Congress writes some crappy piece of legislation that gets challenged in the courts and you have to try to interpret this poorly thrown-together by lobbyists piece of legislation.
It's also weird for lawyers to fight former lawyers (which is what most members of Congress technically are and what most judges used to be), over who gets to interpret the law when it clearly states -- in the law -- that law interpretation is the judges' job. They don't create "new" law. They just tell you when your law is unconstitutional based on existing law, or when it contradicts other laws and they have to "interpret" which law trumps the other law.
But, bump that noise, says Gingrich. He's holding fast to his stupid.
From The Washington Post:
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.
But that's not why Newt is dropping in the polls ahead of the Iowa caucuses in January.
That's going to happen no matter what because the guy is a douche. I mean, when your fellow Republicans hear your name and start having PTSD flashbacks to the 90s, you're not the one. When Joe Scarborough went on a lengthy rant about Newt being "a bad person," I kept expecting him to finally shout, "And fuck that guy. That's why!"
Even when Scarborough tries to give Newt a compliment it's wrapped in how much he can't stand the guy:
[Scarborough] also praised Gingrich's performance on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. The GOP candidate had said he would be willing to arrest a judge who he thought was out of line. Scarborough said that he disagreed "with everything [Gingrich] said," and that it "scared the hell out of me." But he called it a "command performance," where "Newt Gingrich looked as good and as confident and as calm as I've seen him in years."
He's nuts, but he speaks so well! Yeah. Ringing endorsement.