Last week, former Speaker Newt Gingrich revealed that, if elected president, he would simply ignore Supreme Court decisions he disagrees with and intimidate judges into towing his line through subpoenas and targeted removals from office. According to conservative attorney Bruce Fein, a former associate deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan, this intimidation scheme isn’t just unconstitutional — it is so flagrantly unconstitutional that it would justify removing Gingrich from office:
One of the indictments against King George III in the Declaration of Independence was making judges “dependent on his will alone.” In the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall explained that judicial review was the difference between a government of laws and a government of men. The 1805 acquittal by the United States Senate of Associate Justice Samuel Chase accused by the House of Representatives of impeachable offenses because of judicial rulings favorable to the Federalist Party established the time-honored principle that federal judges are not accountable to any other branch for their judicial opinions.
Gingrich unwittingly is proposing to overthrow the Constitution that he would be pledged to uphold and defend if elected to the presidency. Attempting to subvert the Constitution, however, it an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor justifying removal of the President from office.
Gingrich, of course, knows more than anyone about what it is like to impeach the president. Unlike Gingrich’s politically motivated impeachment of President Clinton, however, impeaching presidents who wage an illegal and authoritarian campaign against another branch of government is exactly what the framers intended a president to be removed for.