Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee says he is “very uncomfortable” with presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich’s call to hold federal judges legally responsible if their rulings are inexplicable. The 2008 presidential contender also told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that when he was governor there were times when he wanted to defy court decisions, but “you can’t do that.”
“Politically, he has a point — it’s a great applause line. I like Newt, and I think he’s a great candidate, but I’m very uncomfortable with some of the things he’s saying,” Huckabee said. “When you start talking about defying a court — you know, I was a governor for 10-and-a-half years — there wasn’t a month of my tenure that I didn’t have some court decision, either state, Supreme, or federal court that came and issued a ruling that I didn’t particularly like.
“That didn’t give me the opportunity to say: ‘I’m just not going to obey it,’ or ‘I’m going to call the judge in or one of the Supreme Court justices, and I’m going to call him up before the legislature and clean his clock.’ You just can’t do that,” Huckabee said. “In 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas, there was a governor who stood at the schoolhouse door at Central High School and said nine black students couldn’t go through that door, because he didn’t like the court order — that’s not the way you govern — you change laws; you amend the constitution, but you just don’t just say: ‘I don’t like it; therefore, I’m not going to do it.’”
Huckabee said the whole purpose of the nation’s appellate court system is to appeal an “idiot decision,” but it is not the role of a state executive or a president to not obey a judicial ruling or buck a law — you try and change it.
“There is a process — and I think what makes many of us uncomfortable is the idea that, instead of going through what is a tedious, time-consuming, painful process, we would just sort of go ahead and rush to the final conclusion and say: ‘All right, we’re going to yank this guy's chain,’” Huckabee said.
“That’s why we’ve got to elect a good president who will appoint good judges — I have no problem with amending the Constitution — I think we should so that we have term limits, not only for the president, which we already have, the executive branch. Why not have term limits for the legislative branch and the judicial branch?” he said. “And I understand the history: You didn’t want to have a judiciary that was worried about getting re-elected. But if they had a term, and they had a 12-year term and that’s it.”
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