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I have been watching most of the Republican presidential debates because I fondly remember my years working in Iowa in past elections and because I think it's important to see what the candidates are saying. It continues to strike me about how bad most of them are in dealing with legal issues.

Each debate there is a lot of talk about the Constitution. Perry and Bachmann are the usual flash points on the topic. As a group, they take various positions that usually add up to "we are a nation that is run by a reading of the Constitution". We have the allegiance to the 2nd Amendment, the reminder that the States need the 10th, and an overall reminder that we need to run the country constant with the Constitution.

How do they jump over, ignore, and trample on the 7th Amendment? They are tort reformers who will limit the rights of the consumer to the courts and even sidestep the 10th in their drive for a national tort reform act. They either have a Constitution with a hole in it or they really don't want to govern by the whole.

Let's add to the debate Gingrich's call for the ignoring of the courts. So we look at a third branch of government and act like it's not there? There are already major problems with not funding the courts, but to actively call for this type of action really does sound dangerous. As the Volokh Conspiracy pointed out:

Historically, federal courts have erred at least as much by failing to strike down unconstitutional laws and policies as by overruling laws that they should have upheld. Many of the most notorious Supreme Court decisions — Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu, Buck v. Bell, Kelo v. City of New London (which, as Will notes, Gingrich has harshly criticized), fall into the former category.

What would happen if the Court called to ignore the President or Congress? Would there be any clapping for that? Not if you stand on any belief that the government as put together by the Constitution has any value. It's the magic of the three parts of government and the need for the balance of power that makes us a country that this group would each be honored to be President .


  1. Gravatar for Cilla Mitchell

    7th Amendment? Unfortunately, Texas no longer has a 7th Amendment ever since Governor Rick Perry signed the 2003 Tort Reform Act. It was left to die a slow unceremonious death.

  2. Funny thing is he will defend it under the 10th, but as President he would then want to ignore that. But, he has claimed to have read the Constitution. Thanks for reading and the comment.

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