In last night’s G.O.P. debate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich renewed his promise that as president, he would eliminate judges that He (Newt) decides have gone beyond the Constitution, citing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision several years back that the line “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the Constitution’s establishment clause.
That decision, to Gingrich, was radically un-American. Putting aside for a second the radical ignorance of the concept of separation of powers which his opinion betrays, the idea that the words “Under God” are central to the nation’s founding principles is ridiculous. There is no mention of God in the constitution (zip; zero — search for it). The first insertion of the phrase “Under God” didn’t occur until 1948, and was not officially incorporated into the pledge until 1954 (178 years after the nation’s founding), a symbolic and political move borne out of fear at the height of anti-Communist hysteria.
All of which is irrelevant anyway. A president firing a judge for a decision he disagrees with would be an egregious violation of separation of powers which — unlike that two-word amendment to the pledge — is a founding, American principle.
It all makes you wonder, if Newt is prone to dramatic, dictatorial decisions based on personal political whims, what other executive fiats would a President Gingrich unleash?