Justice

Gingrich Praises Singapore’s ‘Very Draconian’ Laws That Mandate Executions For Drug Possession

GOP presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently sat down for an interview with Yahoo! News’s The Ticket.

At one point, the interviewer, Chris Moody, asked Gingrich if he still supports a bill he introduced in the ’90s that would’ve given capital punishment to drug smugglers. Gingrich responded that he does support this policy for cartel leaders and that he wants to see a new drug strategy overall. He then went on to praise Singapore for its “very draconian” approach to the drug war:

MOODY: In 1996, you introduced a bill that would have given the death penalty to drug smugglers. Do you still stand by that?

GINGRICH: I think if you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure. Look at the level of violence they’ve done to society. You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there’s nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, ‘These kind of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.’ If you’re serious about the latter view, then we need to think through a strategy that makes it radically less likely that we’re going to have drugs in this country. Places like Singapore have been the most successful at doing that. They’ve been very draconian. And they have communicated with great intention that they intend to stop drugs from coming into their country.

Gingrich’s endorsement of Singapore’s drug war is stunning. The country’s “drug laws are among the world’s harshest. Anyone aged 18 or over convicted of carrying more than 15 grams of heroin faces mandatory execution by hanging.” In 2005, Singapore infamously executed an Australian citizen for possession of .4 kilograms of heroin.

Gingrich’s praise of a Singapore-style drug policy is also yet another example of the GOP frontrunner’s contempt for the Constitution. In Kennedy v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court held that “[a]s it relates to crimes against individuals . . . the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim’s life was not taken.” Although Kennedy left open to possibility of execution for “treason, espionage, terrorism, and drug kingpin activity, which are offenses against the State,” Singapore-style drug policy is clearly unconstitutional.

Then again, it probably doesn’t matter to Gingrich whether his proposal is constitutional or not. After all, he recently pledged to simply ignore court decisions he disagrees with.