The Supreme Court today held that the United States Congress is unconstitutional and must vacate the Capitol no later than January 1, 2012.
The 8-1 vote followed closely on the heels of statements by Newt Gingrich, now leading the race for the GOP presidential nomination, that as president he would ignore decisions by the courts if he was having "a really bad day"; that Congress should have the power to subpoena and impeach federal judges whose jibs the legislators found un-seaworthy; and that the judiciary is "a twig on the governmental tree that the president and Congress can prune and burn in the backyard."
Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia stated:
"It is absolutely clear that the authors of the Constitution had no intention of allowing laws to be made, as well as interpreted, by anyone other than the Supreme Court. While there are references to 'Congress' in the document, they can all be traced to mistranscription of a comment made during the Constitutional Convention by Pennsylvania Delegate and amateur ichthyologist Gouverneur Morris, who in summarizing the results of the debate over the specimens to be included in the national aquarium said 'We are in agreement, then. The new government will include congers.'"
Anticipating concerns that the decision might result in discontinuities in the workings of government, Scalia wrote: "As we have seen in recent years, the government can function just fine without Congress. In essence, Congress is like the human appendix. One notices it only when it is inflamed and filled with poison, at which time it can be removed and you can go back to work." See Appendix 3, Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).
Justice Clarence Thomas, the lone dissenter from the decision, provided no written explanation for his vote. However, at a party celebrating his 17th year on the Court without asking a question he was heard to remark, "Why would anybody want to get rid of congers?"
Former House Speaker Gingrich was quick to comment on the Court's decision. At a hastily called book signing in Waterloo, Iowa he said, "This is a classic example of judicial activism or what Thomas Jefferson in a November 4, 1803, late afternoon letter to Dr. Benjamin Spock referred to as 'the ADD-driven tantrums of bench-bound, robed-wrapped tyrants.'"
Gingrich continued, "In another extraordinarily prescient letter, Jefferson wrote to General Raskell E. Wabbit saying, 'The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground to undermine our Constitution...' When I first read those words I felt that I couldn't have said it better myself, but with maturity comes wisdom and I've concluded that for once in my life I was wrong."
"When I become president -- which is inevitable -- I pledge that I will send no judicial nominations to the Senate for confirmation, and if there is no Senate I will send the nominations to myself and filibuster them. I will also tell all activist judges that they must hire clerks only from the University of Phoenix Night School of Law and that they must put quotation marks around the word 'Opinion' whenever using it."
"If we are to regain the greatness that was once America, we must return to our roots; to a time when the community decided without delay what the law was and how it should be administered; to a time when people knew that there were really 14 colonies when you included the one on the moon; to a time when you had to earn the right to be arrogant rather than assume it was a job perk. That is the America I promise to bring to you."
"If I feel like it."