At this week’s debate for Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich emphasized one of his favorite subjects: his disgust for the federal judiciary. The disgraced former House Speaker warned of “an uprising” against the courts, adding that he’s “prepared to take on the judiciary” unless federal courts start issuing rulings he agrees with. He went on to say he understands these issues “better than lawyers,” because he’s “a historian.”
Yesterday, Gingrich hosted a conference call with reporters and went even further, sketching out his vision for policymakers literally ignoring federal court rulings. Referencing Supreme Court findings on the handling of suspected terrorist detainees, for example, Gingrich said, “A commander in chief could simply issue instructions to ignore it, and say it’s null and void and I do not accept it because it infringes on my duties as commander in chief to protect the country.”
Gingrich went on to describe “the rule of two of three” — a made-up rule with no foundation in American law — in which two branches of government could out-vote the other one.
He wasn’t kidding, by the way.
This led CBS’s Bob Schieffer to ask Gingrich a good question on “Face the Nation” this morning.
SCHIEFFER: One of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, that Congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before Congress and hold a congressional hearing … how would you enforce that? Would you send the Capitol Police down to arrest him?
GINGRICH: Sure. If you had to. Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.
Just so we’re clear, this week, a leading presidential candidate articulated his belief that, if elected, he might (1) eliminate courts he doesn’t like; (2) ignore court rulings he doesn’t like; and (3) take judges into custody if he disapproves of their legal analyses.
I hope it’s unnecessary to note that Gingrich’s vision is stark raving mad.
I’ll just conclude with this observation: Newt Gingrich believes Barack Obama is a wild-eyed fanatic, guided by an extremist ideology, hell bent on overseeing a radical overhaul of the American system of government.
The irony is rich.