The Corner

Gingrich’s Record on Property Rights

This morning on “Meet the Press,” former Speaker Newt Gingrich repeatedly insisted that he and the other candidates should be evaluated based upon their respective records.  Fair enough.  As it happens, Gingrich may be the only nominee who actively sabotaged an important conservative reform effort.  Even though the protection of property rights was a plank in the Contract with America, and the enthusiasm of the property rights movement had been important in the GOP takeover of Congress, Gingrich personally prevented property-rights-protective reforms of the Endangered Species Act from passing the House and then gave one of the most liberal members of the Republican caucus and environmental activist groups a de facto veto over environmental legislation.  These machinations were documented in an article in The Environmental Forum, a magazine published by the Environmental Law Institute — an article Gingrich cited favorably in his own book on environmental policy.  Does Gingrich still believe he made the right choice?  What should conservatives make of this part of his record?  Are there any other candidates who betrayed conservative principles so directly and with equivalent results?  I’m still waiting for the former Speaker to address this part of his record (if he has, I have not seen it).

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.


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