Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingrich (R) Suggests Subpoenaing Justices Over Unpopular Decisions

Not the appropriate way for Congress to show disapproval of a judicial ruling. This has bad idea written all over it.

"That's what he's saying, right? Gingrich hopes that by holding the threat of a trip to Congress courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service over judges' heads, judges will be more likely to issue rulings that please congressfolk.

You read that right. Gingrich proposes to make the folks charged with reviewing acts of Congress more susceptible to congressional influence.

Gingrich says if there is broad opposition to a court decision, Congress should subpoena the ruling judge to defend his or her action in a hearing room.
When asked if Congress could enforce the subpoena by sending the Capitol Police to arrest a judge, Gingrich assented.

“If you had to,” Gingrich said. “Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshall.”

That's an interesting reversal. The U.S. Marshal Service ordinarily provides security for the federal courts and judges. Gingrich's suggestion is an extreme departure from the vision of Founders. Alexander Hamilton wrote at length about the dangers of subordinating the judiciary to the legislative and executive branches. History buffs might review Federalist #78, in particular, on this issue.

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