Former Speaker Gingrich’s plan to rein in the federal judiciary has met with near-universal criticism, but Curt Levey has gamely offered a qualified defense in the Wall Street Journal. Levey contends that the attacks on Gingrich’s proposal are “overblown.” As an example, he has this to say about Gingrich’s idea of subpoenaing federal judges to testify before Congress:
Congress routinely asks executive officials outside the White House to testify about their decisions. It occasionally subpoenas them to compel attendance, and arrest would be a last resort. It’s unclear why applying the same rules to the judicial branch threatens the separation of powers, especially if done in the context of considering judicial reform proposals like Mr. Gingrich’s. Subpoenaing Justices of the Supreme Court, the only court created by the Constitution, is a possible exception.
So let’s take a closer look at this aspect of Gingrich’s plan and see whether it is in fact as radical as critics have suggested.