Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, suggested last week that President Obama could be also be impeached, over his recent reversal on gay marriage. Gingrich said it was unconstitutional for Obama's Justice Department to refuse to fight challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act in court. A Gingrich spokesman promptly backtracked, pointing out that Gingrich had simply called the president's actions unconstitutional, stopping short of clearly endorsing impeachment. This isn't really an impeachable offense, is it?
No. Gingrich is spouting nonsense: This is just silly "grandstanding," says Ian Millhiser at Think Progress. As Gingrich knows, the Obama White House will continue to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. The only change is that it won't submit legal briefs "supporting an unconstitutional injustice in court." If that's grounds for impeachment, we'd also have to impeach Chief Justice John Roberts, who, as George H.W. Bush's acting solicitor general, "refused to defend a federal affirmative action law" he deemed unconstitutional.
"Gingrich suggests impeaching Obama and 'zeroing] out' the attorney general over DOMA"
Obama has no right to kill this law: Presidents can't "pick and choose which laws they enforce," says Rob Port at Say Anything Blog. So Gingrich was on the right track by urging lawmakers to cut off funding to Obama's Justice Department until it vows to respect "Congress' law-making authority." Anything short of that would let Obama set "a dangerous precedent."
"Gingrich: GOP should defund the attorney general if Obama won't enforce Defense Of Marriage Act"
This is all a political ploy from Gingrich: The conservative leader is under no illusion that President Obama could actually be impeached over this, says Paul Bedard at U.S. News and World Report. His broadside was widely seen as a bid for the Tea Party vote, in preparation for a possible run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
"Newt Gingrich: Obama could be impeached over gay marriage reversal"
Plus, aren't Republicans treating ObamaCare this way? So, Newt Gingrich thinks that when it comes to gay marriage, Congress alone decides what's constitutional, says David Frum at Frum Forum. Too bad his interviewer didn't ask "whether a President Gingrich would be obliged to defend and enforce Obamacare," which Republicans across the country have derided as unconstitutional, and refused to implement. It would be "very, very interesting to hear an answer" to that question.
"Newt's Obama impeachment stunt"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- How to make corn dogs
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week