On Judges, Gingrich’s Foolishness On Display

For the record, I still do not believe that Evangelical Christians should give a serial adulterer serious consideration for President of the United States.  If you take issue with that declaration, then you need to re-evaluate your judgment on William Jefferson Clinton’s moral authority to successfully lead our nation during his time in the Oval Office.  And, while Newt Gingrich may have repented of his sins and been forgiven by God for his transgressions (God’s grace knows no boundaries when it comes to our sin), that does not mean that he should be given a pass in the current Presidential sweepstakes.  After all, the Bible clearly tells us that those who commit adultery are utter fools whose shame will never be erased (see Proverbs 6:32-33).

Added to Gingrich’s past tom-foolery is his present folly regarding judges and the Constitution.  Feeding red meat to a small, but vocal minority of the Republican Party, all in the hopes of trying to win the nomination, Gingrich has once again revealed an arrogance unbecoming in a political leader and in the process has shattered his image of the world’s smartest politician.  For a man who fancies himself a Constitutional scholar, Mr. Gingrich has uttered inane and foolish comments that would give John Cusack a run for his money.  On CBS’s Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer asked Gingrich about the practicality of bringing federal judges before Congress because of disagreements with “radical” judicial rulings.  Doubling down on his earlier statements about hauling activist judges before Congress, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives had this troubling exchange with Schieffer:

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.

You have got to be kidding.  This cannot possibly be a rational — not to mention conservative — stance of one of the leading candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination, can it?  As a former lawyer and conservative, I am both perplexed and appalled by Gingrich’s transparent attempt to win over “conservatives” that make up the base of the Republican Party.  However, no true conservative — no matter how much we might loathe the liberal judicial activism that has permeated the federal bench — could possibly accept Gingrich’s position as viable.  If you find yourself agreeing with Gingrich, ask yourself if you would approve of President Obama sending the U.S. Marshalls to bring in a “wayward” conservative jurist who ruled that the new Health Care Law was unconstitutional.  Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey categorized Gingrich’s views as “dangerous, ridiculous, totally irresponsible, outrageous, off-the-wall and would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle.”

I agree with Mr. Mukasey and others, including conservative columnist George Will, that Gingrich’s position on judicial activism is downright nutty (my word, not theirs).  How else to explain Newt’s equating the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals “Under God” decision with the infamous Dred Scott decision in the lead-up to the Civil War:

That decision to me had the same effect that the Dred Scott decision extending slavery to the whole country had on Abraham Lincoln.”

To believe that is to be on the same level of liberal lunacy that equates American politicians with Hitler and the Nazis.  I’m fairly certain that the 9th Circuit’s opinion (subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court) did not result in one death, much less 625,000 deaths suffered in four years of fighting between the North and the South.

Many labels have been used to describe one Newt Gingrich — brilliant scholar, master political tactician, leading Presidential contender.  But, with each interview and debate, it cannot be denied that Mr. Gingrich, for all his self-professed intellect, comes across more and more like a fool.  The label that resonates with the American people — particularly Republican Primary voters — will determine Newt Gingrich’s future.  Each time he opens his mouth, Mr. Gingrich seems well on his way to removing all doubt as to the final label that will attach to the man and the politician.

8 comments for “On Judges, Gingrich’s Foolishness On Display

  1. December 19, 2011 at 6:10 AM

    Howell,

    It seems to me that the Judiciary has taken way more of a role in this country than was ever intended in the Constitution. It was intended that the Judiciary was to be the least of the 3 branches and I a, inclined to agree that the intended purpose was so that 2 of the 3 branches were to override the 3d so to speak as a means of checks and balances in government.

    The courts have established themselves as much more than that and in a sense they are legislating from the bench as opposed to elected officials representing you and me, which carries plenty of debate as well.

    This is as I understand it the underlying basis for Gingrich’s position. There has to be some kind of checks and balances on the judiciary as I see it. Some of these courts are radically biased and I for one would applaud a plan to bring them into check.

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

    ><>”

    • December 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      Bob,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I would not disagree with you that some within the Judicial Branch have exercised authority that should rightly be left to the Legislative Branch. There are too many cases to name where this has happened. I certainly understand the frustration that many conservatives have with some of the rulings that have been issued by the Supreme Court and other lower courts, but Newt Gingrich’s prescription for bringing back “checks and balances” to the role of the Federal Judiciary border on unconstitutional themselves. I’m not sure too many conservatives would approve of President Obama sending the U.S. Marshalls to bring in conservative judges to explain their opinions in striking down the Health Care Legislation. I understand that Mr. Gingrich is appealing to the conservative base of the party, but his over-the-top rhetoric is, in my opinion, fool-hardy to say the least. Elections have consequences. If we do not want liberal, activist judges on the bench, then we need to elect conservative Senators and a conservative President. Next year is a good chance to do that, but I’m not sure that Gingrich is the one to unseat a sitting President, no matter how unpopular Obama is at the moment. After all, it would help for the Republican nominee to be likable, and that is not necessarily Mr. Gingrich’s strong suit. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas. God bless,

      Howell

  2. December 19, 2011 at 6:11 AM

    Here is a question I raise this morning… love your take.

    Can I Miss God’s Salvific Plan for my life?

    I read this statement this morning and am wondering how it “squares” with irresistible grace?

    “Wondering this morning how many prayed for Messiah’s kingdom to come before Christ was born but missed it b/c they were expecting something different…and how often I pray the same (Luke 11:2) with my own agenda at heart and, thus, set myself up to miss God’s plan b/c I have my heart set on something different.”

    Your thoughts?

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

    ><>”

  3. December 19, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    The conflation of political actions, decisions, beliefs and personal actions is problematic for those who conflate the two.

    Was Clinton a better or worse president because of his shenanigans?

    Was Kennedy?

    Was Carter a better president because of his fidelity? If so, in what way?

    Is Obama a better president because of his stellar family life? Not that I can see.

    • December 19, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      William,

      If conservative Christians are not to be hung with the “hypocrite” label, then I think we need to apply the same standards of Biblical ethics to anyone who holds office, be they Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. Many (most?) Evangelicals would argue that you cannot separate faith from life. That’s why so many (including Newt Gingrich) were up in arms over Bill Clinton’s moral failings and believed that those failings disqualified him from serving as President. But, even beyond Newt’s past indiscretions is his present idiotic rheteroic related to “activist” judges and how the U.S. Marshalls should forceably bring in judges to explain their decisions. While I agree that judges have overstepped their boundaries in some cases, I think Newt’s position is not only unconstitutional, but would be unacceptable if applied by a liberal President towards a conservative jurist. I’m not so concerned about Newt’s adultery as I am about his arrogance, character, and leadership style. If he wins the nomination, I can’t see how he can beat Obama in the General Election, but stranger things have happened. Hope you have a good week and a Merry Christmas! God bless,

      Howell

  4. BDW
    December 19, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    I’ve never understood the “Newt Gingrich is Brilliant” narrative. Sure, the guy does have ideas. But, many of his ideas as far from brilliant!!

    I get a kick out of his arrogance especially when he reminds folks that he’s a historian. But my wife really can’t stand him, thinks he’s a bully. I thought Michelle B. did a nice job of standing up to Newt during the last debate.

    Newt is that guy growing up who always lets you know in some way that he’s smarter than everyone else. I’d love to see others hold their ground and not concede that Newt is the smartest guy in the room.

    • December 19, 2011 at 9:33 AM

      Gingrich gets gigged for Commanement Numero Siete, Adultery, while Bachmann, if Politifact has any cred, gets gigged for Commandment Nueve, bearing false witness. Heard a politifact guy say that of the GOP candidates, Bachmann’s statements were rated “not true” and “pants on fire” more than any of the others.

      Are both unqualified?

    • December 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      Aaron,

      I tend to agree with your wife that Newt comes across as a bully, know-it-all. When you have to let everyone in the room know you are the smartest one there, then maybe you have overestimated your own intelligence. I personally do not think that Newt has the character and the demeanor to do well in a head-to-head matchup with President Obama. As I told William, though, stranger things have happened, but Newt would not be my ideal choice for President. Hope you are doing well in Waco. Have a Merry Christmas! God bless,

      Howell

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