WASHINGTON – Newly energized Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich asked values voters for their support and offered Constitution-abiding justices in return.
A rejuvenated Gingrich took the stage Friday night, touting his comeback in the polls. He said the pundits and "elite media" were right that it is now a two-man race for the next GOP nominee. However, those two men, Gingrich joked, may be him and Herman Cain.
A CBS News poll this week put Gingrich in third place – a vast improvement from his previous last place showing among seven candidates.
Riding the high from his new ranking, Gingrich asked conservatives gathered at the Values Voter Summit to partner with him. In return, he promised to take power away from activist judges bent on redefining marriage and restricting religious freedom.
The former House speaker said the court appointed justices have overstepped their bounds. He accused them of trying to legislate what he called "two plus two equals five" laws from the bench.
"Imagine that by a five to four vote, the Supreme Court decides that two plus two equals five ... do any of you seriously believe that if five appointed lawyers decided that two plus two equals five that the rest of us would promptly change our school textbooks [and] change our economy systems?" Gingrich said to thousands of conservative voters in Washington, D.C.
He continued, "Obviously this is absurd. It can't possibly be true that the Founding Fathers wrote into the constitution a very elaborate, complex process of amending the Constitution and [then] said, 'Hold up, if the Supreme Court is split four to four between liberals and conservatives and Justice Kennedy wakes up in the morning, he becomes a one-person constitutional convention."
Gingrich said "judicial supremacy" was not the vision of the Founding Fathers and is unconstitutional.
If given the GOP nomination, the former history professor promised he would challenge President Barack Obama to seven three-hour debates on the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and the nature of the American judiciary.
As president, Gingrich promised he would sign over 250 executive orders overturning Obama-era policies and enacting his 21st Century Contract with America. "Restoring the proper role of the judicial branch" is the ninth promise in the document. He also promised to only appoint judges who are loyal to the Constitution.
Gingrich shared very little about his own social values. He expressed personal outrage for a 2002 ruling that disallowed students to say the part of the Pledge of Allegiance that states "one nation under God." He also expressed outrage at the California judicial system for overturning the Defense of Marriage Act – a federal law that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The Values Voter Summit is sponsored by the Family Research Council's political advocacy arm, FRC Action. All of the GOP presidential candidates, except Jon Huntsman, made speaking appearances at the Oct. 7-9 conference. Audience members will pick and announce a favored candidate in the Values Voter straw poll Saturday.