My initial reaction to being asked to watch any more Republican debates is to reach for the Eighth Amendment and seek judicial relief from the cruel and unusual punishment of this interminable campaign season, but lately I've come to consider myself lucky. After all, Newt Gingrich's historical perspective usually costs well into the seven figures, yet here he is, condescending for free…
"Just like Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and FDR, I would be prepared to take on the judiciary," Gingrich said.
Citing Lincoln's criticism of the Dred Scott decision, Gingrich said he had no time for legal experts – including former U.S. attorneys general – who argue his plan would undermine the separation of powers.
"I would suggest to you, actually, as a historian I may understand this better than lawyers," Gingrich said, adding that law schools have "over-empowered lawyers to think that they can dictate to the rest of us."
Hopefully, it's not too contemptuous of Gingrich's superior learning to point out that Andrew Jackson's confrontation with the Justice Marshall and the Supreme Court was precipitated by the president's policy of Indian removal and wholesale ethnic cleansing of several Native American tribes, in violation of treaty obligations. And Franklin Roosevelt's "court packing" scheme is usually not held up as the finest moment in American constitutionalism. So giving Gingrich the benefit of the doubt, I assume we're going to go the Lincoln route and impose martial law within the catchment of the 9th Circuit Court, until those liberal activist judges stop being so
But I know the real surprise here isn't the brilliant historical exposition, but the modesty of Gingrich comparing himself to only four of our country's most famous leaders…
Newt Gingrich, ahead in the polls and facing withering criticism from his own party, compared himself to Ronald Reagan in the last debate among the GOP presidential contenders before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
Still, only five! What a blessed relief from the "arrogant" former constitutional law professor in the White House.
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Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Debates, Franklin Roosevelt, Iowa, Judiciary, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Supreme Court