"Judicial activism" is in the eye of the beholder. Threatening judges is not. That explains why even Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, former Bush Attorneys General and ardent defenders of detainee torture and illicit domestic surveillance, denounced Newt Gingrich's assault on the federal bench as "dangerous, ridiculous, totally irresponsible, outrageous, off-the-wall and would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle." Sadly, Gingrich has plenty of company among conservatives threatening judges. As the dangerous rhetoric of John Cornyn, Tom Delay and a host of other Republican officeholders and propagandists shows, judicial intimidation is now standard fare for many of the leading lights of the GOP.
On Face the Nation Sunday, Gingrich the fading frontrunner told CBS News host Bob Schieffer he wouldn't hesitate to send the Capitol police or U.S. marshals to round up judges with whom he disagreed and force them to respond to subpoenas. As McClatchy reported Saturday:
In order to restore balance between Congress, the White House, and the courts, Gingrich recommended ignoring rulings, impeaching judges, subpoenaing justices to have them explain their rulings and, as a last resort, abolishing the courts altogether...
"I was frankly just fed up with elitist judges imposing secularism on the country and fundamentally changing the American Constitution," Gingrich told reporters, adding that "it was clear to me that you have a judicial psychology run amok, and there has to be some method of bringing balance back to the three branches."