George F. Will called Newt Gingrich “the first presidential candidate to propose a thorough assault on the rule of law” [“Newt, the anti-conservative,” op-ed, Dec. 22]. Perhaps. But Mr. Gingrich is not the first to seek to impose majoritarian controls over the judiciary. Running in 1912 as the Progressive Party candidate for president, Theodore Roosevelt suggested that when the courts interpret the Constitution in a way that runs contrary to public opinion, “the people themselves should be given the chance, after full and deliberate judgment, authoritatively to settle what interpretation it is that their representatives shall thereafter adopt as binding.”
Mr. Gingrich’s assault on the judiciary is certainly more radical than Roosevelt’s, but the former speaker is following a long tradition of candidates using the courts as a political punching bag.
Peter Ubertaccio, Easton
The writer is director of Stonehill College’s Joseph Martin Institute for Law & Society.