Newt Gingrich takes the cake with this bit of nonsense, part of his official reaction to the overturning of Prop 8:
Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society. [emphasis mine]
Sometimes I would really like to introduce public figures to my high school English and History teachers who required a precise use of language and insisted that we say what we mean.
You see, Newt doesn’t mean what he says, what he says makes no sense. I propose what he actually means is this:
…judges that disagree with a majority of Americans are a growing threat to our society.
Ahhh, there, do you see now the danger of precise language? It shows him for the asshat that he is.
Because really now, “oppose the American people”? What does that mean? All of them? Every last one? And what about the people who support the judges decision? The implication is of course, that they do not count as “the American people.” Yet more of the right’s “real America” rhetoric.
I mean you can oppose the will of a person, or the “collective will” of a group, but not just the whole of the American people. Its not even logical. The “American people” are not one person, with one opinion. They have contradictory opinions which can’t therefore be opposed by any other single coherent set of ideas. I can’t believe anyone even has to spell that out.
As for the will of the American people on this issue, it certainly can’t be characterized as anti-gay marriage, again, that’s only a part of the people. Being in the minority doesn’t mean you just cease to exist. How often people seem to forget that.
Newt most likely means “opposing the will of the majority of the American people” or “the desire of most of the American people” (and simply isn’t choosing his words well). But even if he was a precise speaker, he still fails here since that’s what the judiciary is there for. It’s there so that if the whole of the American people decides to do something atrocious, they can stand up and say “Sorry, even though you’re the majority, there are limits, and you can’t legally do that, it’s in our Constitution. Tough Luck.”
So, for example, even if the majority of the country suddenly decided it was their will that, I dunno, women couldn’t vote, or that people could own other people in a state of slavery, the judiciary’s job is (in theory, though they’re usually a bit slow coming to it) to stand up and oppose that will. To set limits.
Someone willing to stand up and oppose popular sentiment to defend what is enshrined in the Constitution is exactly what you want on the Supreme Court.