Skill-testing question for constitutional conservatives.
Suppose you are an elected official. Congress enacts a law you regard as unconstitutional. What do you do?
Well if the law is the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the answer is clear. You refuse to enforce the unconstitutional thing.
Yes, the Supreme Court will have the final say. But you too have a constitutional duty, do you not?
So if you are the governor of Alaska, you announce you will refuse to answer the unconstitutional thing.
Ditto if you are the governor of Florida.
If you are the lower house of the Idaho state legislature, you vote 49-20 to nullify the bill.
Eleven other states have had similar nullification measures introduced into their legislatures: Indiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
But – BUT! – everything changes if the law is the Defense of Marriage Act, and the officeholder in question is President Obama. In that case, you are constitutionally obliged to set aside your own judgment and defend the law to the end.
He swore an oath on the Bible to become president that he would uphold the Constitution and enforce the laws of the United States. He is not a one-person Supreme Court. The idea that we now have the rule of Obama instead of the rule of law should frighten everybody.”
Asked by Newsmax directly whether Obama’s refusal to defend DOMA in court constituted an impeachable offense, Gingrich hedged:
I think that’s something you get to much later. But I think clearly it is a dereliction of duty. Clearly it’s a violation of his constitutional oath. Clearly it is not something that can be allowed to stand.
At a minimum, Obama’s refusal could thrust the country into a “constitutional crisis.”
So, clear? If it’s DOMA, Congress decides what’s constitutional, and the president must salute. If it’s Obamacare, the governors and state legislatures decide what’s constitutional. (And I suppose the president must salute again.)
Newsmax did not ask Newt Gingrich whether a President Gingrich would be obliged to defend and enforce Obamacare. That’s a question to which it would be very, very interesting to hear an answer.