Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich is showing why he’s the proper junkyard bulldog for the Tea Party and extremist conservatives by using his front-runner status spotlight to voice his incredibly dangerous and oppressive ideas. The disgraced former House speaker revealed in a phone call with reporters Saturday, that as president, he would throw out entire courts and judges whose decisions he doesn’t agree with or like.
Of course, Gingrich is using the old religious right rallying cry of banning prayer in school, or the non-existent liberal “war on religion” to support his warped view.
From the Washington Post:
“Are we forced for a lifetime to keep someone on the bench who is so radically anti-American that they are a threat to the fabric of the country?” Gingrich asked. “What kind of judge says you’ll go to jail if the word ‘invocation’ is used? If this isn’t a speech dictatorship, I’d like you to show me what one looks like.”
In particular, Gingrich has criticized the US. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, on the West Coast, as well as U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of Texas, who ruled this year that a public school district in Texas could not, among other things, use the words “prayer,” “amen,” “invocation” or “benediction” during a graduation ceremony.
Newt thinks those he labels as “activist judges” should be brought before Congress and forced to explain their legal decisions, and subjected to impeachment for rulings that Gingrich feels are out of step with the country. This idea even has conservatives twitching a little:
Judicial experts, including conservatives, are questioning the constitutionality of Gingrich’s stance. The Constitution specifically grants federal judges life terms with good behavior, many of Gingrich’s critics note, and provides only for impeachment as the way to remove bad judges. To do so by other means, they say, is an encroachment on judicial independence and an affront to the separation of powers doctrine that underlies the entire document.
“Overall, he’s racing towards a cliff,” said Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the nonpartisan Justice at Stake campaign, which advocates for an independent judiciary. “It may be expedient to appeal to specific voters in primaries or caucuses, but it’s a constitutional disaster. Americans want courts that can uphold their rights and not be accountable to politicians. When you get to the point where you’re talking about impeaching judges over decisions or abolishing courts or calling them before Congress, it’s getting very far away from the American political mainstream.”