Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

South Carolina’s Divisive Message – NYTimes.com

South Carolina’s Divisive Message – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

South Carolina’s Divisive Message

Since it was first held 32 years ago, the South Carolina Republican primary has been won by the party’s most electable candidate, the one backed by the Republican establishment and invariably the winner of the nomination. On Saturday, the state veered in an extreme direction, and the outcome spoke poorly for a party that allowed itself to be manipulated by the lowest form of campaigning.

[…]

South Carolina has moved sharply rightward since Mr. Obama arrived on the national scene. In 2000, 24 percent of state voters said they were “very conservative,” but that number jumped to 34 percent in 2008. Now it is up to 37 percent, according to exit polls. Two-thirds of Saturday’s voters said they supported the Tea Party, reflecting the election in 2010 of four South Carolina freshmen who are among the most extreme members of the House.

In one of the most telling results of the exit polls, most voters said that cutting the federal budget was more important than encouraging job growth. At a time when more than 13 million people remain unemployed, these voters do not want the government to do a thing about it, possibly because it might improve Mr. Obama’s re-election chances.

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It was Mr. Gingrich who pulled the race into the gutter, where he found considerable support.

[…]

As one voter told a reporter, “I think we’ve reached a point where we need someone who’s mean.”

They got that candidate on Saturday.

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Newt Gingrich and the Supreme Court: The liberal scholars who support his critique on judicial supremacy. – Slate Magazine

Newt Gingrich and the Supreme Court: The liberal scholars who support his critique on judicial supremacy. – Slate Magazine.

Newt and His Surprising Liberal Allies

He’s not the only one who thinks there is a huge problem with giving the Supreme Court final say on the Constitution.

Newt Gingrich has turned his guns on the federal judiciary, and a lot of predictable squealing—from both left and right—about the threat to the rule of law has resulted. But Gingrich’s public statements, and a more elaborate position paper posted at his website, deserve serious consideration.

The brouhaha began at the last Republican presidential debate when Gingrich declared that “the courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful, and I think, frankly, arrogant in their misreading of the American people.” In a subsequent TV interview, as well as in the position paper, Gingrich argued that when the president and Congress believe that the judiciary has rendered decisions that violate the Constitution, they should be willing to impeach judges, strip them of jurisdiction, haul them before congressional committees, and abolish courts.

The position paper, “Bringing the Courts Back Under the Constitution,” challenges the theory of judicial supremacy, which holds that the courts enjoy the last word on the meaning of the Constitution. As Gingrich correctly points out, the theory of judicial supremacy does not appear in the Constitution and, while the idea has roots in constitutional history, the Supreme Court’s clearest endorsement of it has surprisingly recent vintage in a case called Cooper v. Aaron, decided in 1958. The founders’ writings shed little light on what should happen when the branches disagree about the Constitution. They differed among themselves and in any event did not have a clear understanding of how the government would operate once set in motion. But Thomas Jefferson did clearly reject judicial supremacy and instead advocated departmentalism, the doctrine that each branch enjoys absolute authority to interpret the Constitution within its domain. And judicial supremacy is hard to reconcile with the Madisonian vision of the branches holding themselves in equilibrium through their efforts to increase their power at the expense of the others. Extended to the Supreme Court, this reasoning implies that the Supreme Court will advance spurious constitutional interpretations to enhance its power, and that Congress and the president must be prepared to resist.

This idea might be unsettling but Gingrich has logic on his side. If judges really had the last word, then there is no remedy if they misinterpret the Constitution—aside from constitutional amendment, which is extremely difficult, and in any event futile if judges then misinterpret the amendment. From a Madisonian perspective, while it is entirely predictable that the Supreme Court would claim that its views prevail over those of the other branches, the other branches have no reason to accept this claim.

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Read the full story here: Slate Magazine

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What logic could possibly be behind Newt Gingrich’s crazy attacks on the federal courts? – Slate Magazine

What logic could possibly be behind Newt Gingrich’s crazy attacks on the federal courts? – Slate Magazine.

Courting Disaster

Newt Gingrich’s ill-advised war on the only branch of government that people believe in.

For a self-confessed epic character, Newt Gingrich has stage-managed himself into an epic piece of political stupidity. With his escalating attacks on the federal judiciary, he has confirmed that, if elected, he would place himself atop a government that simultaneously manages to be both a dictatorship and a theocracy. In recent weeks—and just as his presidential star was improbably rising—he doubled down on his initial claims that the federal courts “have become grotesquely dictatorial and far too powerful,” to offer up new promises that, as president, he would abolish federal judgeships, occasionally ignore the Supreme Court, and—in the manner of a tiny tyrant in khaki shirts and mirrored sunglasses—have federal marshals arrest errant federal judges and force them to testify before Congress about their unpopular decisions.

One is tempted to open up a can of lofty rhetorical whoopass to explain why each of these ideas offends the basic constitutional principles of separation of powers, and judicial independence, but really, why? Does anyone even have to explain why Gingrich’s plans to construct a federal judiciary out of his own rib, then terrorize it into imposing his constitutional vision on the nation is a staggeringly bad one? Not really, given that conservative commentators have ably done so already. Former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week called the Gingrich court plan “ridiculous,” “irresponsible,” “outrageous,” and “dangerous” and former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called it “intimidation or retaliation against judges.” Conservative legal analyst Edward Whelan dismissed Gingrich’s proposal for abolishing judgeships “as constitutionally unsound and politically foolish.” Conservative columnist George Will poked fun at Gingrich’s hysterical rant about how the 9th Circuit’s decision that the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional was comparable to the court’s infamous Dred Scott decision. Wrote Will: “Really? It took four years of war and 625,000 dead to settle the slavery question; it took a unanimous Supreme Court a few minutes to swat aside the 9th Circuit’s silliness.”

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How Low Can the Judicial Confirmation Process Sink? – NYTimes.com

How Low Can the Judicial Confirmation Process Sink? – NYTimes.com.

December 14, 2011, 9:00 pm

Rock Bottom

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Newt Gingrich’s aid quit after calling Mormonism a cult. Is it? – Slate Magazine

Newt Gingrich’s aid quit after calling Mormonism a cult. Is it? – Slate Magazine.

What’s the Difference Between a Religion and a Cult?

And where does Mormonism fit in?

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Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts – NYTimes.com

Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts

In any campaign season, voters are bound to hear Republican candidates talk about “activist judges” — jurists who rule in ways that the right wing does not like. But Newt Gingrich, who is leading in polls in Iowa, is taking the normal attack on the justice system to a deep new low.

He is using McCarthyist tactics to smear judges. His most outrageous scheme, a plan to challenge “judicial supremacy,” has disturbing racial undertones. If he is serious about his plan, a President Gingrich would break the balance of power that is fundamental to our democracy.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Intellectuals and Politics – NYTimes.com

Intellectuals and Politics – NYTimes.com.

December 7, 2011, 6:26 pm

Intellectuals and Politics

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2012: The year of the insider? – The Washington Post

2012: The year of the insider? – The Washington Post.

2012: The year of the insider?

at 01:25 PM ET, 12/05/2011

Every poll conducted over the last two years makes one thing crystal clear: Voters are sick of the status quo in Washington and want outsiders to shake things up.

And yet, with less than a month remaining before the Iowa caucuses, the two frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination — former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — are political insiders of the first sort.

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Christian theocracy: How Newt Gingrich and the GOP would abolish courts and legislate morality. – Slate Magazine

Christian theocracy: How Newt Gingrich and the GOP would abolish courts and legislate morality. – Slate Magazine.

Rule of Lord

The Republican plan to nullify the courts and establish Christian theocracy.

Is the United States sliding toward theocracy? That’s what Republican presidential candidates have told us for more than a year. Radical Islam, they’ve argued, is on the verge of taking over our country through Sharia law. But this weekend, at an Iowa forum sparsely covered by the press, the candidates made clear that they don’t mind theocracy—in fact, they’d like to impose it—as long as it’s Christian.

You can find video of Saturday’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum” on the Web sites of two organizations that sponsored it: CitizenLink and the Family Leader. Here are highlights of the candidates’ remarks.

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Read the full story here: Slate Magazine

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If everyone is unhappy with the Supreme Court, has it found the right spot? – The Washington Post

If everyone is unhappy with the Supreme Court, has it found the right spot? – The Washington Post.

The High Court
By Robert Barnes

If everyone is unhappy with the Supreme Court, has it found the right spot?

Newt Gingrich says the Supreme Court is so far off base that its decisions would be practically non gratain his White House.“I would instruct the national security official in a Gingrich administration to ignore the Supreme Court on issues of national security,” he told the conservatives gathering at the Values Voter Summit.

At the opposite end of the political spectrum, the liberal Alliance for Justice last week excoriated the “Corporate Court” for its decisions upholding big business’ increasing use of arbitration to settle disputes with consumers.

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Read the full story here: The Washington Post

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