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Presidential Issues: Judiciary


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How to end judicial supremacy

January 9, 2012

By John Yoo

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich knows how to press the Left’s soft spots. Even as he fades from the front of the Republican presidential pack, he deserves credit for attacking the judiciary’s seizure of power over some of society’s most important issues. Choosing new Supreme Court justices will be one of the next president’s most influential tools for changing direction on controversies ranging from the balance between national security and civil liberties to a woman’s right to an abortion.

Sometimes, however, Gingrich presses so hard that he ends up hurting his own cause. He stands on firm constitutional and historical ground when he attacks the commonly held idea that Supreme Court decisions bind the president or Congress and suggests that they could ignore judicial opinions under certain circumstances. He is surely right that the executive and legislative branches have a number of ways to corral wayward judges, including the power to change the jurisdiction of the courts, to eliminate judgeships, and perhaps to make greater use of impeachment.

Unfortunately, Gingrich couldn’t stop there. He undermined the main thrust of his plan, posted in a white paper on his campaign website, by advocating extreme methods for imposing accountability on judges. He proposed the use of subpoenas to drag federal judges before congressional hearings to explain themselves—a counterproductive thought that drew fire from all sides of the political spectrum. But it would be a shame if Republican politicians concluded that the water is too hot just because Gingrich got burned when he tried a running belly-flop...

Read the full article at the American Enterprise Institute: How to end judicial supremacy

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