Skip to comments.Conservatives Split on Gingrich's Courts Plan
Posted on 12/19/2011 9:54:13 PM PST by Jim Robinson
For nearly a decade, 2012 contender Newt Gingrich has been floating some controversial ideas aimed at reining in the federal judiciary. He's called that branch of government "grotesquely dictatorial" and elitist. Should he become president, Gingrich says he'll ignore Supreme Court decisions if they don't square with his interpretation of the Constitution or what he believes the country's founders intended.
Gingrich says federal judges should be called before Congress to explain their decisions, suggesting Sunday that he'd even approve of arresting them if they refused to show up. It's an issue raised Thursday in Fox News' GOP debate in Iowa, with Gingrich responding, "I would be prepared to take on the judiciary if, in fact, it did not restrict itself in what it was doing."
Former Pennsylvania Rep. Bob Walker, a Gingrich supporter, says the proposals are spot on.
"What he's suggesting is a very, very important change in the direction of how we deal with the courts acting more like legislatures than like courts," Walker said. He adds that it's time to "rebalance" the system. For Gingrich, in some cases, that would mean abolishing certain courts altogether.
There are plenty of critics taking aim at Gingrich, including those who say he's misread the Constitution and Federalist Papers. Roger Pilon, vice president of legal affairs for the CATO Institute, says Gingrich is challenging the very system established at our nation's origins.
"If you're going to attack it, you're really attacking the (Constitution's) framers," he said.
Others who agree with Gingrich that the federal judiciary has often overstepped its bounds say the solutions he's proposing are unworkable.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
I give credit to Gingrich for recognizing that they must be reined in. The dunderhead Romney sure as hell won't. He blames the judges in Massachusetts for gay marriage on his watch but refuses to lift a finger to oppose them.
Someone sometime has to rein in the Black-Robed Priests.
And it looks like Newt is the only one with the guts to do it.
I really wish we were talking about massive tax reform instead.
Analysis: Gingrich tax plan starves government, say economists
Start with taking down all the activist judges and you are on the road to massive tax reform.
Constitution’s there for a reason. Call me a traitor, but I think the first obligation of the president is to uphold the constitution.
I think Newt’s plan is the worst thing that could happen. Better to do nothing than to tear down what has been built.
The constitutional way is to appoint justices who will uphold the constitution in their rulings. If the republicans had done that instead of nominating Souter and O’Connor, it would be a much different picture today.
Looks like a shot across the bow.
I agree: better to have the courts disempowered and fight things out in legislatures.
Refusing to acquiese to court decisions which betray the Constitution is upholding the Constitution.
“The real enemy is OBAMA, & no more circular firing squads.”
I agree Obama is the enemy. So why are conservatives even entering into a conversation that could help him justify ignoring a SCOTUS decision against Obamacare? That seems shortsighted and foolish.
Bob Walker, a name from the past whom I always liked admired! Very happy to learn he is supporting Newt Gingrich!
We know that Gingrich is right and that his detractors aren't presenting his position on the Courts accurately. After all, most of them are lawyers....lol.
Read and learn: www.newt.org/ = PDF FILE
The president wouldn't have much say about it if Congress issued an arrest warrant for contempt for failure to appear for a Congressional subpoena. The president could approve in one hand and disapprove in the other and see which one filled up first.
Regime change in the courts. Impeach activist judges!
Congress can dissolve any court it chooses at any time save the SCOTUS. The President has no such power. Gingrich should have acted when he was Speaker.
Well, the news tonight about the Tea Party vote - with 23,000 on a conference call - voted for Newt - 30%, Bachmann 28% and Romney 20%...would seem to refute FOX’s claim.
So it doesn’t sound like these people - a conservative block - are worried about Newt’s stance on the courts. Unlike BOR and others, conservatives know very well what the courts have become - another arm of government for the Socialists.
How many times, in state after state, have people voted in issues the opposite way in which the Socialists wanted, so they send it to one of their courts and the peoples votes are tossed out?
And I believe a President Gingrich would carry it through. Doubtful Clinton would have.
The Constitution did not call for or provide for ACTIVIST judges. You do know the difference, don't you?
15 Federal Judges have been impeached since 1789.
Newt would simply refuse to enforce unconstitutional judicial fiats.
It would be up to the legislative branch to impeach him, or the judge who overstepped their bounds.
It’s nothing new.
Yup. They definitely need reining in. Don’t look to Mitt to do so.
All this is true. Unfortunately, the masses that go to the polls are influenced by headlines and propaganda hit pieces. Despite misgivings on a liberal judiciary, the masses still look to an independent judiciary and explains why it has a higher popularity than the other two branches of government. If and when the tables are reversed and there is a Democratic president and Democratic Congress who then try to get rid of conservative strict constructionist judges the outcome would be scary.
Gingrich would have gotten just as much mileage if in his usual professorial manner he had picked out a couple of outrageous decisions and made the case why a second term Obama would be disastrous for the nation.
He could also have insisted that he would insist on Congress carving out exceptions to what cases may be taken on appeal to the federal courts. Art II of the Constitution allows for this.
The vast swath of independent voters in certain battleground states like Ohio, VA, and New Hampshire (all winnable against Obama) will not take lightly to the notion of hauling judges replete with subpoenas and warrants to testify before Congress. Now, that may not be what Newt said or meant but you can bet that’s what the barrage of attack ads will portray.
Indeed, I expect Newt to issue some clarification statement in the next couple of days when his internal polling will show that these statements are beginning to drag him down. People respond to specifics not the abstract institution. Newt is smart. he needs to highlight some truly atrocious decisions like civilian trials for non-citizen GITMO detainees according to the UCMJ, pledge of allegiance; removal of Christmas creches and 10 commandments, moment of silent prayer in public schools, forcing religious charities to accept gay adoptions, etc. This is what voters relate to, not a broad brush attack
Nor does it call for the imperial presidency. Checks and balances from Montesqieu.
If this were Obama saying it we’d be in arms, but it’s ok for Newt? I don’t think so.
A Republican president could provide a good deal of support and guidance to a Republican Congress on reigning in an activist judiciary even if he can’t be directly involved. Especially if he has a good deal of Congressional experience.
The Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights to protect us from the government. What did we do? We went to the government and asked THE GOVERNMENT to tell US the meaning of each one of those amendments. WE should be telling them, including the judiciary, what each amendment means. Those rights belong to us.
Not by the presidency.
This is a decision that only the legislature can decide, whether to remove a justice.
“Newt would simply refuse to enforce unconstitutional judicial fiats.”
How is this any different from Obama refusing to enforce immigration laws? If we are arguing that the first duty of the presidency is to uphold the constitution, that means that they have to work within the constitutional framework. They simply can’t ignore rulings they do not like.
Newt can and will ride this horse to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! GO NEWT! Git’er done!
Newt is a terrible standard bearer because he has difficulty controlling what he says. He’s basically handed Obama a carte blanche.
Bravo Newt. Thank goodness you’re running for presidency so we can’t have a real conservative who believes in strict constructionisms instead of ‘stroke of the pen, law of the land”.
The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
". . .vested in one supreme Court . . . . as the Congress may . . . establish."
The Newt is asking for a mandate to reign in the courts from legislating from the bench. When he's elected he will have the mandate.
Sounds like a strong Conservative principle.
That’s not a decision the president gets to make.
The vast swath of all Americans agree with Conservative principles.
Now, if you ask them about individual anecdotal hypotheticals . . . .
But this is about a principle.
His temporary drop in some polls are directly related to the attack ads and the media barrage against him leadingup to the Iowa caucus.
The is a winning issue for him. He’s already articulated two specific cases which he will pound home.
The Texas judge who prevented the words “prayer, benedition, amen,” and even standing, and the 9th Circus that ruled against “one nation under God” in the pledge of allegiance.
He also noted the two CA cases, Mt Soledad’s historic cross and another in the Mojave desert.
These cases hit home with voters.
Gingrich will be fine on this issue.
Lawyers are pitching hissy fits. (Of course).
When did he say these exact words?
That’s what I’m thinking. I used to think Bream had some credibility.
Newt must have PO’d all the right people along the line.
nOOt is right.. and the lawyers HATE IT... they just hate it..
Next you know.... Newt would be advocating serious Tort Reform..
OH! thats right he already did.. they simple HATE that too..
He must be trying to STAMPEDE the lawyers.. the bovine milkers that they are..
This guy is with the CATO Institute? Yikes.
The US Constitution offers a fairly sparse job description for the Supreme Court, especially compared to the other two branches. Most of the "power" the Supreme Court now has it took for itself along the way. Shame on those who let it happen, who let the courts embed themselves at the top of the government food chain to the point where, for example, a single scumbag in black can overrule millions of referendum or ballot initiative voters.
Gingrich simply wants to (finally!) bring the judiciary back to the coequal branch of government status it was supposed to have from the beginning. I'm pretty sure the framers never intended for the judiciary to legislate from the bench or govern by fiat.
Bravo for Newt. And to hell with the CATO Institute if they can't do better than Roger Pilon. Apparently even a layman like me knows more about the Constitution than he does.
Out of probably 1500 who should have been impeached.
Wow. Only 15 impeached in 222 years? That's a cowardly disgrace.
That is what Newt is saying so what is the problem?
Fears to use the force he does.
It seems to me the people of Iowa unseated three justices a couple of years ago because of their ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Conservatives have used "activist judges" as a battle cry for a long time. In Iowa, if this issue resonances with the voters you'll see it in the up coming state primaries as well.
Uh huh. And if Gingrich can take over the Judiciary as President, how do you feel
about the next Democratic President doing the same thing after Gingrich’s term is over?
[ Fears to use the force he does. ]
You mean IRS audits or cutting of brake lines?..
Why not use the persuasion technique from a famous movie ("make them an offer they can't refuse") to bring these marxist judges back to the jobs originally intended by the framers...
Two problems solved...
All spending bills originate in Congress.
Judges could be selectively de-funded.
Their salaries and their staffs could be eliminated.
Their chambers and courtrooms could be closed or leased out to new tenants.
If Newt Gingrich restores America as it should be, we'll never have any more commie RATS in the White House again. American Exceptionalism comes back in the Happy Newt Year, starting January 2013!
Go Newt! Blast the commie RATS with a Newt-ron bomb!
America should be sticking to the Constitution, enforcing the law, using legal means to fix problems and taking care to not retreat from or even ignore activist judges but not overstepping the Constitution either.
Anti-American groups are aggressive so the response must be aggressive.
I am no fan of Congressional hearings because they are nothing more than populist grandstanding and the hallmark of the establishment at this point. The populace is so used to hearing crime and immorality of fantastic proportions that the most heinous revelations in a hearing are but a headline for a day or two. The absurdity of fast & furious is a recent example of this; it’s just beyond any semblance of legitimate government in the audacity of both the operation and the Executive branch’s response.
The Executive branch certainly does have tools in it’s toolbox to control the out-of-control judiciary that a moral, law-abiding administration could use to imbue those same traits in the Judicial branch from which they have receded.
The ranks of judges need to be cleaned up constantly using impeachment and every legal means possible.
To arrest judges simply for not showing up and testifying before a Congressional committee, IMHO, sets a precedent that could eventually be used for anarchy. If a judge is indicted for a crime, then of course arrest procedures should be followed as prescribed by law, but I don’t favor making a C-Span circus out of grilling judges.
We need to remember that the reverse can happen if a leftist President and Congress are elected; they could use the very same tactics to remove judges that are not activist enough for their tastes.
That’s why I think Federal judicial housecleaning should be continued on an ongoing basis in a methodical manner that does not overstep the Constitution and is truthfully justified and documented and done very transparently and according to law.
The real root of problems is groups that are very powerful and anti-American, have significant financial backing and have their influential fingers all throughout both parties; the mainstream big-money interests are happy to sell out moral principles and American citizens and put their support behind anti-American elements, to wit, the 2008 election.
We also need a simultaneous ongoing societal shift in America, a grassroots shift towards morality, to support fixes made to the government.
"Governor Mitt Romney, who touts his conservative credentials to out-of-state Republicans,
has passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he has faced,
instead tapping registered Democrats or independents -- including two gay lawyers who
have supported expanded same-sex rights, a Globe review of the nominations has found.
Of the 36 people Romney named to be judges or clerk magistrates, 23 are either registered Democrats
or unenrolled voters who have made multiple contributions to Democratic politicians
or who voted in Democratic primaries, state and local records show.
In all, he has nominated nine registered Republicans, 13 unenrolled voters,
and 14 registered Democrats."
- Boston Globe 7/25/2005
Romney Rewards one of the State's Leading Anti-Marriage Attorneys by Making him a Judge
Romney told the U.S. Senate on June 22, 2004, that the "real threat to the States is not the
constitutional amendment process, in which the states participate,
but activist judges who disregard the law and redefine marriage . . ."
Romney sounds tough but yet he had no qualms advancing the legal career of one
of the leading anti-marriage attorneys. He nominated Stephen Abany to a District Court.
Abany has been a key player in the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association which,
in its own words, is "dedicated to ensuring that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision
on marriage equality is upheld, and that any anti-gay amendment or legislation is defeated."
- U.S. Senate testimony by Gov. Mitt Romney, 6/22/2004 P>
"Romney announces he won't fill judicial vacancies before term ends
Despite his rhetoric about judicial activism, Romney announced that
he won't fill all the remaining vacancies during his term - but instead
leave them for his liberal Democrat successor!
Governor Mitt Romney pledged yesterday not to make a flurry of lame-duck
judicial appointments in the final days of his administration . . . David Yas,
editor of Lawyers Weekly, said Romney is "bucking tradition" by resisting the urge to
fill all remaining judgeships. "It is a tradition for governors to use that power to appoint judges
aggressively in the waning moments of their administration," Yas said.
He added that Romney has been criticized for failing to make judicial appointments.
"The legal community has consistently criticized him for not filling open seats quickly enough
and being a little too painstaking in the process and being dismissive of the input of the
Judicial Nominating Commission," Yas said.
- Boston Globe 11/2/2006