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Newt’s radical proposals for federal judges

by AirTalk®

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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks during a townhall meeting in Hiawatha, Iowa, on December 19, 2011. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

If Newt Gingrich becomes president, he says he would ignore Supreme Court decisions that conflicted with his powers as commander in chief. On a recent edition of "Face the Nation" the republican former Speaker of the House and candidate for the republican presidential nomination, said that he would subpoena a judge who jurist disagreed with him and send the police or a U.S. Marshall to bring a recalcitrant judge in.

Gingrich said his views on federal judges stem from two observations: “the steady encroachment of secularism through the courts to redefine America as a non-religious country and the encroachment of the courts on the president's commander-in-chief powers, which is enormously dangerous."

These views may please conservatives who rail against "activist" judges over gay marriage rights or school prayer but they could also backfire against Gingrich since voters already are angry over constant bickering between the White House and Congress.

This kind of talk may just re-enforce the notion that Washington is divisive and nothing can get done. Gingrich critics see these proposals as an outrageous infringement on the separation of powers in government.


Do you think federal judges have too much power and need to be reigned in? Is Gingrich pandering to right? Are these ideas a serious and dangerous attempt to make the president all powerful?


John Eastman, Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, Former Dean and Professor, Chapman University School of Law

Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law

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