Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Gingrich’s Convenient Sophistry

Newt Gingrich’s reaction to the announcement that the Obama administration would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act in 1 of the 13 federal judicial circuits is a classic case of demagoguery.

“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.


Now imagine for a moment that Newt Gingrich had even a shred of intellectual honesty. If he did, he would not say something that idiotic. The analogy is absolutely terrible. Obama did not say he wouldn’t enforce DOMA, he said he wouldn’t defend its constitutionality — and even then, only in one circuit court for a very narrow reason based on what is little more than a legal technicality. Those two things are not remotely similar.

And by the way, there is nothing to enforce in DOMA anyway. DOMA is a purely negative law, it only prevents the federal government from forcing the states to honor gay marriages performed in other states. The only way Obama could not enforce it is by violating it quite boldly, by attempting to force a state to recognize gay marriages from another state. And any attempt he made to do that would be immediately struck down by the courts. But of course, Obama has not only never attempted to do that, he’s never even hinted at the possibility.

More nonsense:

“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.” …

Gingrich noted that Obama supported the law during the campaign. “He is breaking his word to the American people,” Gingrich said. Also, he added, “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. The fact that the left likes the policy is allowing them to ignore the fact that this is a very unconstitutional act,” Gingrich said.

There is nothing remotely unconstitutional about not defending an unconstitutional law in court. There is nothing in the constitution that could possibly be construed as requiring the executive branch to defend a law signed by a previous president. This is pure demagoguery by Gingrich. Which is hardly a surprise.