Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Friday that President Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority with his recent decision to order his administration to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act. While the move didn't immediately open Obama up to impeachment, Gingrich claimed, it did raise his worry about a future constitutional crisis.
In an interview with Newsmax, Gingrich characterized the president's latest announcement regarding DOMA, a law that allows states to not honor gay marriages, as "a dereliction of duty and a violation of his constitutional oath" that "cannot be allowed to stand."
On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said Obama had determined that his administration would no longer defend a law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, but that it would continue to be enforced pending an actual legislative overturn.
Gingrich on Friday said that this plan of action was unacceptable.
"He swore an oath on the Bible to become president that he would uphold the Constitution and enforce the laws of the United States," Gingrich said. "He is not a one-person Supreme Court. The idea that we now have the rule of Obama instead of the rule of law should frighten everybody."
While Obama was sheltered by the left, which "likes the policy," Gingrich claimed, he proposed another situation that he suggested would have caused much more clamor.
"Imagine that Governor Palin had become president," Gingrich said. "Imagine that she had announced that Roe versus Wade in her view was unconstitutional and therefore the United States government would no longer protect anyone's right to have an abortion because she personally had decided it should be changed. The news media would have gone crazy. The New York Times would have demanded her impeachment."
He then provided a potential legislative solution based on his belief that what the president was doing was unconstitutional.
"I believe the House Republicans next week should pass a resolution instructing the president to enforce the law and to obey his own constitutional oath, and they should say if he fails to do so that they will zero out [defund] the office of attorney general and take other steps as necessary until the president agrees to do his job," Gingrich said.