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Newt Gingrich apparently thinks the Founding Fathers made a terrible mistake when they established an independent court system. Under his proposals, judges would please the President, Congress, and the public–or suffer the consequences. Presidents could ignore court decisions they dislike. Congress could haul judges before it to explain their decisions and jail non-compliant judges, and unpopular judges could be fired and their courts abolished.

Even some very conservative judicial critics have expressed outrage at Gingrich’s proposals. One of George W. Bush’s Attorneys General (Michael Mukasey) called them “outrageous and dangerous;”

Another (Alberto Gonzalez) condemned “bringing judges before Congress, like a schoolchild being brought before the principal.” Columnist George Will wrote that Gingrich would replace legal reasoning with “raw political power.”

The Gingrich plan is not totally untested. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister,argued that German judges relied too much on legal reasoning, too little on public opinion and Hitler’s wishes. For this offense, judges should be fired and their courts abolished. Like Gingrich,

Goebbels said these “reforms” would protect “the people” against oppressive courts. They became law, the last remnants of freedom vanished, and we learned an invaluable lesson. Or did we?

(Louis P. Lochner, ed., Goebbels Diaries, Doubleday: pgs. 127, 138,173-4, 192, 447).

—George Kiser

Former Professor at Illinois State University 

You might call me a buzzkill, or an over-the-hill goody-goody, or just tell me to mind my own business. But it was with more than a little distress that I read The Signal for March 14 and came upon the full page devoted to “useful St. Patty’s Day stuff!”

Even beer and liquor companies are required to suggest that people “drink responsibly.” You, however, did not. Instead, you advocated drinking irresponsibly, as if drinking dangerous amounts would somehow assure the manhood of your male readers (see, “bitches,” below). Your list of drinking games and recipes explicitly encouraged undergraduates, at least 65 percent of whom are not legal drinkers, to consume alcohol in amounts that would land them in your “Cop Shop” column next week. Your infelicitously named “Irish car bomb” is two drinks in one (have you seen the one beer = one shot sign? — oh yeah, you’re probably not old enough to go into a bar legally), which you encouraged your readers to “drink quickly.”

I understand journalistic freedom and applaud the freedom of the press, but why on earth is a college publication encouraging students to put themselves and their community at risk with drinking games. More importantly, why on earth are you also suggesting that “If you’re a bitch, play regular quarters”? Students worldwide have died as a result of drinking games. I find the entire presentation to be irresponsible. I’m distressed to realize that The Signal editorial board and staff have simply not gotten ADEP’s message.

— Felicia Jean Steele

Assistant Professor,

Department of English


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