Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has proposed a federal law to ban the use of Sharia law in the United States, in a speech Saturday that also called for the de-funding of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Speaking to the Values Voters Summit Saturday, Gingrich told an enthusiastic audience that the US should have a law preventing judges from using traditional Muslim law, known as Sharia, when adjudicating cases. He also suggested the law allow for judges, including apparently Supreme Court judges, to be unseated if they attempt to use Muslim law.
“I am opposed to any effort to impose Sharia in the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstances in any jurisdiction in the United States will Sharia be used, in any court, to apply to any judgment made about American law,” Gingrich said to loud applause.
“And we should make clear to Justice [Stephen] Breyer and Justice [Elena] Kagan, who both seem confused on this topic, that no judge will remain in office who tries to use Sharia law to interpret the US Constitution,” Gingrich added.
As Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, and their decisions protected under principles of separation of powers, it’s unclear how Gingrich would go about implementing a law that would allow their unseating.
Gingrich is “swiftly becoming the nation’s spokesperson for Islamophobia,” asserts Evan McMorris-Santoro at TalkingPointsMemo.
Gingrich’s references to justices Breyer and Kagan come from assertions among some right-wing commentators that the two justices favor Sharia law.
Justice Breyer’s recent comment that a planned Koran-burning on the 9/11 anniversary may not be protected under the First Amendment was interpreted by some to mean that he supports Sharia law.
Right-wing bloggers offer circumstantial evidence to argue that Kagan favors Sharia law. They point to the fact that Kagan was involved in the writing of the mission statement for Harvard University’s Islamic Legal Studies Program; and that she accepted money from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to fund the program. (The prince is a business partner of Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, and owns a significant share of Murdoch’s News Corp.)
Gingirch also told the Values Voters crowd that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should be removed from her job for challenging the health insurance industry over assertions that premiums were going up because of the new health care law passed by the Democrats.
“When Secretary Sebelius said the other day she would punish companies who told the truth about the true cost of Obamacare, she was behaving exactly in the spirit of the Soviet tyranny,” Gingrich said. “And if she is going to represent left-wing thought police about Obamacare, she should be forced to resign by the new Congress.”
“This idea that we the people have to tolerate some bureaucrat being paid with our taxes to dictate free speech to us, should end in January by the Republican Congress zeroing out her office and saying they’ll be glad to pay for it when there’s somebody there who recognizes the rights of the American people,” he said.
Earlier this month, Sebelius sent a letter to Karen Ignani, head of the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, responding to fliers sent out by some health insurers blaming increasing premiums on the new Affordable Care Act.
“I urge you to inform your members that there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases,” Sebelius said in the letter.
“We will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections,” Sebelius said.
Sebelius also said that companies which blame premium hikes on health care reform could be barred from participating in the health insurance exchanges that are to be set up by 2014.
The following video was posted to the Web by MediaMatters, Sept. 18, 2010.
The following video was posted to YouTube by ThinkProgress, Sept. 18, 2010.