Gingrich on presidency, judicial branch (AUDIO)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, co-author of the newly-released book Valley Forge, spoke to a crowd of about 100 this afternoon in a Borders book store in West Des Moines, Iowa, then he signed copies of the book before speaking with a small group of reporters for a few minutes.  AUDIO: 7 min

Gingrich answered a question about a potential presidential run:

I think the real question is could we build a movement of replacement big enough that it would be able to effect deep into the elected system, not just the presidency.  There are 513,000 elected officials in the United States and if you really want to fundamentally make this country competitive and healthy and capable of creating a better future, you’re talking about a wave of change much deeper than just the presidency and I’m frankly trying to sort out whether that is doable and whether or not I’m the right person to try to do it and being out here (in Iowa) is a part of it.  I’ll be with the Republican governors in San Diego on Thursday and I’ll keep talking to people and Calista and I will make a decision probably in February or March.”

Gingrich also talked about the federal and state judicial branches of government:

If you read The Federalist Papers, the legislative and executive branches who re elected ultimately are expected to win over the judicial branch.  I mean that’s exactly what Hamilton and Madison wrote and they said the judicial branch will be very timid because, in the end, in a straight up fight it can’t win and i just think for the last, since 1958 we have allowed this whole model of judicial supremacy to run amok so that lawyers rig the game in favor of lawyers and you have a very elitist view in which they impose on the rest of us things that are absurd…You have federal judges today who are pretending that they’re the commander-in-chief, making decisions about national security with zero comprehension of the consequences and we shouldn’t tolerate it.  We don’t have to impeach them. That’s a long, lengthy trial. Just simple (say), ‘You want your court abolished? We’ll abolish it.’ We have the absolute precedent of Jefferson, 1802.  There’s no question that Jefferson and Madison understood the Constitution and their precedent was to eliminate 18 out of 35 judges — over half.  I’m only suggesting one demonstrational effect: the 9th circuit.”

As you may know, voters in Iowa ousted three of the seven members of the Iowa Supreme Court in a judicial retention vote.  The issue:  an April, 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling which paved the way for same-sex marriage in Iowa.  Gingrich was asked what he would ask of the four remaining justices on the Iowa Supreme Court:

“Ask them to step down, as a matter of honor.  It’s clear, if they’d have been on the ballot, they’d have been repealed and it seems to me — this is pure Thomas Jefferson — if the integrity and the authority of the system comes from the consent of the governed — which is the Declaration of Independence — then the governed have indicated that they don’t agree with this court.  I don’t think anybody in this state believes the other four justices would have survived, and so I think if they have any sense of integrity about protecting the courts, they’ll step down and if the bar association has any sense of integrity, they will deliberately not pick radical judges and will not make recommendations to the new governor and if Culver has any sense of integrity, he will not appoint anyone.  I mean, for a defeated governor to try to replace defeated judges by repudiating the values of the people of Iowa strikes me as the absolutely opposite of a free society.”

During his speech to the crowd of about 100, Gingrich said the 2010 election results had been a “rejection of the left” and he said it’s time to find a “replacement for the left” in America.  Gingrich expanded on that idea during his 7-minute discussion with reporters:

The fact is we rejected the left in ’72. We rejected the left in ’80. We rejected the left in ’84. We rejected the left in ’94 and we rejected the left in the last election — ’10 — but the left still survives…I think we’re at the end of the 80-year cycle of  the ‘New Deal’.  I think the country’s ready to recognize that many of these institutions don’t work anymore and that we have to have a fundamental rethinking of where we are and that requires a much broader and bigger coalition than the traditional Republican Party.”

Gingrich is giving a speech and signing books tonight at Iowa State University in Ames.  Tomorrow night he’ll be in Cedar Rapids at a book store, giving a short talk about his new book and then signing copies of Valley Forge.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.

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