Newt Gingrich Makes Ridiculous Charge: Obama Could Be Impeached Over DOMA Decision

I suppose this was inevitable, especially considering the source:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who plans within two weeks to announce if he will run for president, said today that if President Obama doesn’t change his mind and order his Justice Department to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, Republicans in Congress should strike back and even consider impeachment proceedings.

“I believe the House Republicans next week should pass a resolution instructing the president to enforce the law and to obey his own constitutional oath, and they should say if he fails to do so that they will zero out [defund] the office of attorney general and take other steps as necessary until the president agrees to do his job,” said Gingrich. “His job is to enforce the rule of law and for us to start replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama is a very dangerous precedent.”

He didn’t call for immediate impeachment hearings, but didn’t rule them out if Obama balks at any congressional demands to enforce the law.

Like nearly everyone on the right who has commented on this to date, Gingrich also completely mischaracterizes what the Obama Administration is doing here:

In talking about the president’s action, in fact, he raised Sarah Palin’s name and suggested that she would be under fire if she ever decided not to enforce a major social law. “Imagine that Governor Palin had become president. Imagine that she had announced that Roe v. Wade in her view was unconstitutional and therefore the United States government would no longer protect anyone’s right to have an abortion because she personally had decided it should be changed. The news media would have gone crazy. The New York Times would have demanded her impeachment,” said Gingrich.

Of course, the Administration has specifically said that they would continue enforcing the law:

Notwithstanding this determination, the President has informed me that Section 3 will continue to be enforced by the Executive Branch. To that end, the President has instructed Executive agencies to continue to comply with Section 3 of DOMA, consistent with the Executive’s obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law’s constitutionality. This course of action respects the actions of the prior Congress that enacted DOMA, and it recognizes the judiciary as the final arbiter ofthe constitutional claims raised.

Furthermore, as I argued this morning, there is absolutely nothing improper about the President’s decision here. Of course, facts really don’t matter in politics.

Update: Here’s the video:

Also, late today, Gingrich released the following statement:

“Congress has every responsibility to demand President Obama live up to his constitutional obligations, but impeachment is clearly not an appropriate action,” said Gingrich.”

Judge for yourself.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. wr says:

    Hey, once you’ve impeached a president over a consensual sexual act, this seems like a no-brainer.

  2. Falze says:

    I’m pretty sure he was impeached for lying to a court in a case about sexual harassment. Don’t let facts stand in your way, though, your made up history is way more flattering for the left’s “president of the world” legacy.

  3. Alan Davidson says:

    So, Doug, you are an attorney, huh? Well, I’m not, but I’m sure you are plenty smart, right?

    Why, I’m just a Conservative dolt, but thanks for the link to the memo. I read it. I am sure you have as well.

    Just a question, Mr. Esquire: How’s your knowledge on the Constitution and civics? You familiar with the separation of powers laid in our Constitution? If so, how can the President “determine” and “conclude” that DOMA violates the 5th Amendment? “Manifestly”, as Waxman put it!

    The President has not the power to conclude any law passed by Congress as unconstitutional and then collude with the DOJ not to enforce it. That sir, is can only be “concluded” or “determined” by the SCOTUS.

    And you think most folks will not see the smoke screen of the excuse that “the Executive Department” will still enforce DOMA? How? By delegating that authority to The Congress?

    What a sham!

    Who then will make the defense for the USA in the two actions mentioned in the memo? Who will testify? What lawyer will represent the country in those cases? A Congressman? These are defended by the DOJ, period.

    And the closing comment in that memo clearly states that future cases will not even be considered at all. The reason? The President, by fiat, is acting as the SCOTUS and has concluded DOMA violates the 5th amendment.

    This is Tyranny, plain and simple.

  4. wr says:

    That’s right, Falze. The Republicans were just protecting us from that evil perjurer. Just like now they’re trying to protect us from the Kenyan Muslim usurper. You just keep on believing what they tell you to.

  5. wr says:

    Tyranny. Oy. Is there anything that ISN’T tyranny to a teabagger? I mean, aside from invading countries and installing puppet governments. Oh, and torture. Eliminating habeas corpus. And anything that historically has been considered tyranny.

    “I got a parking ticket! It’s tyranny!”

  6. Alan Davidson says:

    I am simply making an argument that the POTUS cannot usurp the SCOTUS by “concluding” whether or not a law passed by the Congress under a prior President’ (Bill Clinton) is unconstitutional and then after doing so, by fiat, collude with the DOJ not to enforce that law through the DOJ.

    As for “invading countries”, whether you are for the wars (still going on, btw) or against it, the “use of force” was passed by a bipartisan Congress. As was DOMA. This is not about ideology. It is about our structure of our Government as a Constitutional Republic . As for eliminating habeas corpus, the detainees in GITMO are not US citizens and were engaged in warfare. They were not arrested here in the US and sent to GITMO. The precedent of military tribunals goes back over 100 years and the rights of our citizenry are not recognized to those international insurgent forces wishing to do us harm and engaged in warfare.

    In any regards, even if everything you mentioned was indeed unlawful and against our Constitution , what does that have to do with this current action by our President? Is your argument that if another administration did something against our Constitution, that it is OK for the current administration to do so?

    Hey, I say leave the marriage situation up to the states and a good argument can be made that DOMA should have never been passed at all. It should have been seen as something the SCOTUS should address, not the Congres but it was passed and is now Law

    If you are going to just call me an ignorant “teabagger”, fine, if it makes you feel better. The fact is, I and others have a strong, valid argument that the President overstepping his bounds here in regards to the Separation of Powers and if you can put forth a cogent retort, I’ll listen. If you just want to call me names, then you are not engaged in the issue at hand.

  7. anjin-san says:

    > This is Tyranny, plain and simple.

    Hmmmm. I thought the DOMA and the efforts of the right to keep the boot of government firmly on the backs of gays and lesbians was kinda like tyranny, but that’s just me. BTW, why the capitalization of “Tyranny”? Is it the wingnut secret word of the day or something?

  8. EddieInCA says:

    Alan –

    You’re comprehension skills suck.

    Holder’s statement clearly states THE DEPT OF JUSTICE WILL CONTINUE TO ENFORCE THE LAW!

    Did you miss this part?

    Notwithstanding this determination, the President has informed me that Section 3 will continue to be enforced by the Executive Branch. To that end, the President has instructed Executive agencies to continue to comply with Section 3 of DOMA, consistent with the Executive’s obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law’s constitutionality. This course of action respects the actions of the prior Congress that enacted DOMA, and it recognizes the judiciary as the final arbiter of the constitutional claims raised.

    Care you revise your comment?

  9. wr says:

    Alan — My “strong, valid argument” is that your entire pompous speech is a complete waste of time because it’s based on an invalid suppostion — that Obama has said he won’t “enforce” DOMA. In fact, he said no such thing — just the opposite. What he did say was that he wouldn’t waste taxpayer money defending it in court.

    This seems to be hard for teabaggers to understand, but using six hundred words instead of six does not magically make an argument right if it’s based on an assumption that’s pure talk radio derived fiction.

    So why don’t you actually learn a couple of facts, and then you can really be engaged.

  10. Alan Davidson says:

    Eddie & “IR”……..again, I will put forth how I see things and will not resort to name calling in spite of the fact that you two prefer to. I read the entire memo and the piece that author of this post put forth as an argument.

    I am not a ‘teabagger” I study Constitutional Law. I will not revise my comment. The statement by the DOJ is a straw man argument. and you haven’t understood my posit.

    DOMA is a Law that was passed so that States would not have recognize the marriage of a same sex couple that was granted in a state that offers such. If a gay couple moved from say, Massachusetts, to say, Wyoming and was not granted the rights bestowed upon them in Massachusetts they could sue the State of Wyoming. If they were to do so, They could get private counsel, but in this type of case, they would be usually be up against the arm of our government that handles civil rights actions in state courts. The government is represented by the DOJ in those cases.

    The memo states: Given that conclusion,the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in Windsor and Pedersen Then the memo states That “executive agencies” will continue to “comply” with DOMA. No clarification of what agencies is clear in the memo or how the Executive branch can “comply” without enforcement.

    The only recommendation within the memo outside of the DOJ defending these actions is the implication that the Congress can “participate” in the litigation going forward.

  11. Irony: normally the anti-gay types are all frothing at the mouth about how the judiciary refuses to defer to the executive and legislative branches with regards to determinations of constitutionality.

    Until one of those branches decides to go against them, now it’s suddenly only the judicial branch that’s allowed to determine constitutionality.

    Every elected official takes an oath to uphold and defend the constitution. That means that it’s every elected officials duty to determine if laws are constitutional or not. If Obama feels the law is unconstitutional, not only can refuse to enforce it, it’s his DUTY not to.

  12. The President has not the power to conclude any law passed by Congress as unconstitutional and then collude with the DOJ not to enforce it. That sir, is can only be “concluded” or “determined” by the SCOTUS.

    Yes, I remember how pissed you were when Bush refused to enforce the laws congress passed on surrveilance and the rule of war because he said they were an infringement on his constitutional powers as Commander in Chief.

    Oh, that’s right. It’s only Tyranny when a Democrat does it.

  13. Alan Davidson says:

    Both sides go back and forth on one branches direction or rulings versus another’s.

    And I concede you see things in another way that I do Stormy Dragon. I just do not see how you can be cool with “If Obama feels the law is unconstitutional, not only can refuse to enforce it, it’s his DUTY not to”

    The definition of “determine” is: “To decide or settle (a law, for example) conclusively and authoritatively”

    Do you not see the danger in your statement? Just take out the name “Obama” and here is your statement:

    If any U.S . President feels a law is unconstitutional, not only can refuse to enforce it, it’s his DUTY not to.

    I think that is a fairly scary position.

  14. Alan Davidson says:

    Do you know me Stormy Dragon? No. You don’t. So do not make statements about what I think or believe. There are whole swaths of the Patriot Act that could be argued unconstitutional.

    And as for your point it it the current administration that just OK’d the renewal of that Act with some Republicans voting against such. As for the whole surveillance thing, Obama has EXPANDED those powers.

    http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_55378.shtml

  15. narciso says:

    Anyone who was surprised by this, doesn’t know Obama, the larger issue is he would continue
    to enforce the health care law, or the drilling moratorium, when it is finally declared unconstitutional.

  16. Bush and Cheney frequently made signing statements that such and such a section of such and such a law would not be enforced pursuant to their authority as a “unitary executive”. My point isn’t whether or not this was a good argument (it wasn’t). It’s to question how you can argue Obama can be impeached for refusing to enforce a law on constitutional grounds if you also weren’t calling for Bush’s impeachment.

    And maybe you were. But Newt Gingirch most certainly did not.

  17. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    President of the world, lol…..wr, teabaggers is getting old bro….Like before it was used for the first time. Make up something new. If you want, just ask, I will make up something good for you to use.

  18. Fred says:

    Interesting. I am neither Republican nor Democrat, but I find it amusing that the best arguments folks from the left seem to be making here are: 1) Bush did it (hint: comparing one bad president to your president does not help your case), and 2) name calling/put-downs. It is okay to admit that sometimes your side isn’t behaving the way they should. Blindly defending them regardless of circumstance may make you feel better, but does little to help people to see your position.

  19. sam says:

    You know, I love political ironies. Section 3 of DOMA was ruled unconstitutional in July of 2010 by a federal district court. The judge ruled that Section 3 violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process. While DOJ did not cite this case (Gill vs. OPM) in its statement, nonetheless, we have a circuit court striking down Section 3. However, the administration says it will continue to enforce the law pending final resolution of the issue in the circuit courts or, in the event, in SCOTUS.

    Contrast this with Alaska’s governor stating he will not enforce the ACA in Alaska as it has been ruled unconstitutional in a federal district court in Florida vs. HHS.

    I’m willing to bet that that group of folks inclined to beat up on the administration over the DOMA issue are also inclined to applaud the Alaska governor’s action. Here’s some comments from Doug’s post, Alaska Governor Says He Won’t Comply With Federal Health Care Law:

    Patrick T. McGuire says:
    Friday, February 18, 2011 at 15:08

    “Finally, there’s something slightly disconcerting about a Governor essentially saying he’s going to ignore Federal law.”

    Except that the law has been declared unconstitutional.

    jwest says:
    Friday, February 18, 2011 at 15:12

    Damn those Alaska Governors! Always following the law.

    Judge Vinson’s ruling is the law as it stands now. Individual mandates have been declared unconstitutional, therefore making any injunction barring implementation unnecessary because most federal judges believe the states would not begin to implement anything ruled to be unconstitutional.

    Aaron Worthing says:
    Friday, February 18, 2011 at 16:20

    Aaron here, guest blogger at Patterico’s.

    Actually the governor is on 100% solid legal ground. the judge made his ruling. alaska is a party to the case. they won and they are allowed to act like they won. they might lose later, but for now, they won.

    Wiley Stoner says:
    Friday, February 18, 2011 at 20:46

    It was Alaska and the other states which sued which won. They are entitled to behave like they won. It is the Obama administration which lost and they are not following the law. Can you spell high crimes and misdemeanors?

    Perhaps some of these folks will tell us why the Alaska governor is on firm ground but DOJ isn’t.

  20. sam says:

    Uh, Doug — could you rescue my Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 07:16 comment from the moderation queue? Not sure why it went in there — too many cites?

  21. matt says:

    Fred : Precedent?