Questioner Robby George and historian Newt Gingrich won today's GOP presidential candidate forum in South Carolina. It was supposed to be Rick Perry's debate debut, but he fled the palmettos this morning to return to fire-singed central Texas.
George, Princeton's conservative professor, asked tough questions about religious freedom. Referring to Illinois madness, he asked whether the federal government should cut off funds to a state that discriminates against agencies that on grounds of conscience won't place children with gay foster or adoptive couples.
George also asked whether Congress should abide by Supreme Court decisions that violate the 14th Amendment's guarantees of due process and equal protection, since Section 5 of that amendment authorizes Congress to enforce those guarantees. All of the candidates responded in pro-family ways, but the nuances were significant.
Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain both said the Supreme Court should be supreme among courts but not among government branches. Ron Paul doesn't want the 14th Amendment to override the 10th, which empowers states. Mitt Romney supported protection for conscience in Illinois but fanned on the 14th amendment question because it "would create a constitutional crisis" and "that's not something I would precipitate."
The tragedy of Newt Gingrich was apparent once again. He showed that he has the best-stocked mind of the bunch. He eloquently quoted concerns of the Founders about Supreme Court oligarchy and spoke of the need to defend the Constitution against untrustworthy judges. Too bad he hasn't dealt openly with his past and convinced his former colleagues that he is trustworthy.