First Thing We Do Is, We Abolish All the Circuit Courts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 7 2011 12:40 PM

First Thing We Do Is, We Abolish All the Circuit Courts

In my happy role as the Last Living Skeptic of the Newt Surge, I've been saying that Gingrich is irrelevent to the presidential contest because no one's adopting his ideas. I have to amend that statement. In Iowa, Andrew Duffelmeyer reports on a new Rick Santorum promise.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Santorum said it’s clear to him the U.S. Constitution gives the judicial branch the least power because it’s listed third in the articles, after the legislative and executive branches. He also questioned whether the Constitution allows for courts outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, and said the two other branches established those courts.
“They can establish them, and if those courts violate the Constitution and do things that they should be stopped from doing, they have the power to repeal those courts, to abolish these courts,” said the Pennsylvania Republican.
The “poster child for rogue courts” is the 9th Circuit, he said, accusing it of rewriting the Constitution. He wants to break the 9th Circuit into two or three separate courts and replace all the judges.
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Look, credit where due: This is Gingrich's idea. Splitting up the 9th Circuit is an old idea, but the new-old concept of just abolishing the jobs of judges you don't like? Newt's been talking about it since 2010 at least. He usually cites the example of Thomas Jefferson scrapping some judgeships he didn't like, as in this appearance at the Palmetto Freedom Forum. "I am not as bold as Thomas Jefferson," he says. "I would do no more than eliminate Judge Berry in San Antonio, and the 9th Circuit."

And now he's getting ripped off by Santorum. Progress, at least in the more frivolous of our two current presidential campaigns.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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