New(t) Heights of Hypocrisy

Republicans seem hell bent on defining new extremes of hypocrisy.

No surprise that the gold medalist du jour is Newt Gingrich, who has played a major role in creating the current climate of stalemate and dysfunction with his bomb throwing hyper partisanship during the 1990s, culminating in the pointless impeachment of President Clinton.

As we know, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has lately taken to attacking a federal judge in whose court a suit against the Donald for his fraudulent Trump University is underway, asserting in part that the judge has a conflict of interest because his parents were Mexican immigrants and Trump has promised to build a wall on the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.

This is, of course, multiple levels of stupid. To begin, the chances of actually building the wall are a tiny bit higher than getting Mexico to pay for it, as 999,999,999,999 to one is a tiny bit higher than one billion to one. Actually, none of it is at all likely to happen because the Donald is highly unlikely to win the presidency.

But the idea of attacking federal judges because of their ethnicity is idiotic in the extreme. The Founders deliberately shielded federal judges from political influence because they grew tired of having English judges decide cases more according to the whims of the king than according to the law. Real conservatives are great fans of the rule of law. It contributes to order and stability, two things conservatives value above all else. U.S. pseudo “conservatives” sometimes remember that they are supposed to like the rule of law and pay lip service to it, for a while anyway, but they usually forget again pretty quickly.

So Newt Gingrich, leading “conservative,” has now criticized Donald Trump for making an issue of the judge’s ethnicity, calling it “one of his worst mistakes.”

Humans tend to have short memories, fact that Republicans rely heavily on. Apparently, Gingrich hopes that no one will remember things he said a mere five years ago when he was running for President. Objecting to specific decisions by federal judges, Gingrich complained about the provision of the Constitution that allows them to serve “on good behavior,” meaning that the only way to get rid of one is to catch her/him in criminal conduct, which almost never happens.

In important ways, Gingrich’s attack on the federal judiciary was far worse than Trump’s. Trump is only criticizing one specific judge whom he has a case before. Gingrich proposed eliminating entire courts in order to get rid of the judges, in plain defiance of the Constitution. He went so far as to suggest that the President could send federal marshalls to arrest judges in order to compel them to testify before Congress, which Gingrich thought they should do if they rendered a decision he considered offensive.

As any school child knows, a keystone of government under the Constitution is a thing we call “separation of powers,” according to which various powers of government get distributed among the three branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, in order to prevent any of them from becoming too powerful.

Having the President use federal marshalls to compel judges to testify before Congress is a glaring, galloping violation of the principle of separation of powers.

Maybe Newt himself forgets having said all that. It was widely reported at the time. His suggestion itself was insane which, combined with his apparent forgetting of it, suggests that Newt suffers from dementia.

Either that, or he just set a new world record for naked hypocrisy.

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