Gingrich Is Right; Congress Can Contest Constitutional Interpretation with the Judiciary

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 28, 2011 | Go to article overview

Gingrich Is Right; Congress Can Contest Constitutional Interpretation with the Judiciary


Byline: Steven W. Fitschen, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

If you're a political junkie, you've got to love a presidential candidate who lights the fire Newt Gingrich has lit. Or at least you have to love the fire. Impeach judges? Subpoena them? Arrest them?

Zany, zany, zany Newt. Or is that correct, correct, correct Newt?

The case can be made that judges can be impeached for rendering unconstitutional opinions. But it probably can't be made persuasively in an op-ed piece. I won't try. But I'll take on the other two.

They can be subpoenaed, and, because they can be subpoenaed, they can be arrested if they refuse to comply. Yes, I know that former Attorney General Michael Mukasey said, The only basis by which Congress can subpoena people is to consider legislation. And, yes, I know that Andrew McCarthy, in a National Review Online article headlined There Is No Power and No Reason to Subpoena Federal Judges, claimed this action would violate separation-of-powers principles.

Let me try to take this out of the realm of opinion, into the realm of fact.

First, the only fair reading of Mr. Gingrich's comments is that he advocates subpoenaing judges as part of an impeachment investigation. If so, this surely can be done.

As background, Hind's Precedents - the historical go-to guide, cited 20 times by the Congressional Research Service in Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice, its publication prepared just last year in the midst of the investigation of Judge G. Thomas Porteous - cites many examples of Congress issuing subpoenas, summonses and, yes, arrest warrants after someone has been impeached, but before the trial begins.

The evidence regarding the use of subpoenas before impeachment is slimmer but still proves Mr. Gingrich is correct. First, according to the current version of Jefferson's Manual, which the Congressional Research Service describes as containing the basic procedures to be followed by the House of Representatives and which is posted on the House Rules Committee's website, the House has specific practices in place for issuing the kind of subpoenas Mr. Gingrich is suggesting: Where a resolution of investigation positively proposes impeachment or suggests that end, it has been admitted as of privilege, such as a resolution reported by the Committee on the Judiciary authorizing an impeachment inquiry by that committee and investing the committee with special investigative authorities to facilitate the inquiry. A committee to which has been referred privileged resolutions for the impeachment of an officer may call up as privileged resolutions incidental to consideration of the impeachment question, including conferral of subpoena authority and funding of the investigation from the contingent fund.

Furthermore, there is at least one prominent example of Congress issuing subpoenas to the potential defendant during a pre-impeachment investigation: The House did so during its investigation of Richard Nixon. When Nixon refused to comply - even though the subpoena was only for documents, not his own testimony - the House Judiciary Committee considered that impeachable and included that offense in its drafted-but-never-used articles of impeachment.

Thus, it is a fact that Congress can issue subpoenas pursuant to an impeachment investigation, not just pursuant to its legislative agenda. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gingrich Is Right; Congress Can Contest Constitutional Interpretation with the Judiciary
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.