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A conservative worries: Will Gingrich return America to the days of King George?

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Gingrich asserts in his whitepaper that Congress has the power to “abolish judgeships” and “eliminate funding of the Courts to carry out specific decisions or a class of decisions.” And according to Gingrich, the executive branch has the power to “[limit] the general application of a judicial decision,” or if all that failed simply “ignor[e] a judicial decision.”

Certainty in law requires that there be one final decision in a constitutional matter. Refusing to enforce constitutional decisions he disagrees with, Gingrich arrogates final constitutional decision-making authority to his administration. That is an imperial presidency, something to be feared by all who believe in limited government.

The executive branch already reaches into Americans’ daily lives in too many ways. It is much more powerful than the judiciary. The framers were surely right when they recognized that even an occasionally wayward court is less of an ultimate threat to liberty than a powerful presidency.

In The Federalist Papers #78, Alexander Hamilton opined that, “A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by judges as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning...”

Hamilton also supported judicial independence and the rule of law when he stated: “If, then, the courts of justice are to be considered the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments, this consideration will afford a strong argument for the permanent tenure of judicial offices...”

The Declaration of Independence, with its grievances against England’s King George III, clearly evidences that the founding generation went to war over executive usurpations.

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