[T]he left has taken to mau-mauing the Justices by saying that if they overturn the [Obamacare] mandate they'll be acting like political partisans. The High Court's very "legitimacy" will be in question, as one editorial put it—a view repeated across the liberal commentariat....Well, there's a big difference between vigorous criticism of judges in the press and at the law schools — which is debate in the marketplace of ideas — and dragging them in person into the halls of Congress to berate them. But what exactly did Gingrich say? The WSJ provides no link or exact quote, but I Googled it for you.
Overturn any part of the law, the Justices are being told, and your reputations will be trashed. The invitations from Harvard and other precincts of the liberal establishment will dry up. And, by the way, you'll show you hate sick people—as if the Court's job is to determine health-care policy.
This is the left's echo of Newt Gingrich's threat earlier in the primary season to haul judges before Congress when it dislikes their rulings. Remember the political outrage over that one?
[BOB SCHIEFFER, on CBS’s “Face the Nation"]: [O]ne of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, the congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before congress and hold a congressional hearing. Some people say that’s unconstitutional. But I’ll let that go for a minute.Like I said: big difference.
I just want to ask you from a practical standpoint, how would you enforce that? Would you send the capital police down to arrest him?
GINGRICH: If you had to.
SCHIEFFER: You would?
GINGRICH: Or you instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshal. Let’s take the case of Judge Biery. I think he should be asked to explain a position that radical. How could he say he’s going to jail the superintendent over the word “benediction” and “invocation”? Because before you could — because I would then encourage impeachment, but before you move to impeach him you’d like to know why he said it. Now clearly since the congress has....
SCHIEFFER: What if he didn’t come? What if he said no thank you I’m not coming?
GINGRICH: Well, that is what happens in impeachment cases. In an impeachment case, the House studies whether or not — the House brings them in, the House subpoenas them. As a general rule they show up. I mean, you’re raising the core question — are judges above the rest of the constitution or are judges one of the three co-equal branches?
If you won't acknowlege the difference between people criticizing judges in words and Congress physically compelling them, you're not in a good position to credibly explain why striking down the Affordable Care Act should not be understood as judicial activism.