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Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Candidates and the Constitution

In The Constitution on the Campaign Trail, Andrew Busch finds a limited resurgence in constitutional rhetoric in recent campaigns, reflecting concern with judicial issues, rights, and federalism. Since the book's publication, the tea party movement has further increased the prominence of such rhetoric. And last night, the GOP presidential candidates discussed constitutional issues in a televised forum. Joy Lin writes at Fox News:
Six presidential candidates participated in Mike Huckabee's presidential forum in New York City Saturday, fielding questions from three Republican attorneys general - Pam Bondi of Florida, Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia, and Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma.

Newt Gingrich, who in a Des Moines Register Poll out Saturday has taken the lead in Iowa at 25 percent support, defended his proposal for determining which illegal immigrants should be able to stay in the United States. Bondi expressed concerns that neighborhood boards would undermine the rule of law, especially when neighbors and friends would be determining their fate.

"That is what we do in a jury trial," said Gingrich. "That's the whole point. That's why the founding fathers who distrusted judges insisted on juries. Because ultimately, in a free society, the citizens have to bear responsibility for their own culture and their own society. And ultimately, they are -- I believe they are -- more trustworthy. If you ask me would I trust a jury or a Washington bureaucrat, I would rather have my fate decided by a jury of my peers than have my fate decided by a Washington bureaucrat."