04/16/2005: Judicious Opinions
This article Republicans Go On Offensive Over Judges illustrates the need for more main stream GOP and other party affilitates to Take Notice of the attempts by the Extremists on the Religious Right to control Judicial Nominations for more Extremist Judges of their own ilk.
Surveys...multiple surveys...have indicated that by a Huge Majority (some 65 to 75%) Americans were not favorable to the Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Jeb Bush and Pres. Bush or Congressional contraventions and maneuverings over the Mrs. Schiavo matter. Senator Barney Frank wrote this follow-up piece for the Boston Globe Congress should revisit issues of Schiavo case about the proper role Congress could play in considering this issue. But that's not the way this matter is being "played" by the extremists:
There is GOP concerns over this proposed "nuclear option" on the Senate Fillabuster potential to block Extremist Judicial Nominees from taking the bench. It's time for those "Silent Majority" to let their voices be known and heard on whether support these changes and procedures designed to implement an Extremist Religious Right agenda via Judicial picks forced through the Congressional nomination process.
Much has been written recently. One of my favorite writers on some of these issues, Jon Rowe has several good pieces on this topic lately: StopActivistJudges on CSPAN and Stop Activist Judges Update.
And there are the other articles about the horrendously outrageous remarks by Senators DeLay and Cornyn as exemplified in this NY Times article:
"...Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, rose in the chamber and dared to argue that recent courthouse violence might be explained by distress about judges who "are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public." The frustration "builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in violence."
Listeners could only cringe at the events behind Mr. Cornyn's fulminating: an Atlanta judge was murdered in his courtroom by a career criminal who wanted only to shoot his way out of a trial, and a Chicago judge's mother and husband were executed by a deranged man who was furious that she had dismissed a wild lawsuit. It was sickening that an elected official would publicly offer these sociopaths as examples of any democratic value, let alone as holders of legitimate concerns about the judiciary.
The need to shield judges from outside threats - including those from elected officials like Senator Cornyn - is a priceless principle of our democracy. Senator Cornyn offered a smarmy proclamation of "great distress" at courthouse thuggery. Then he rationalized it with broadside accusations that judges "make raw political or ideological decisions." He thumbed his nose at the separation of powers, suggesting that the Supreme Court be "an enforcer of political decisions made by elected representatives of the people." Avoiding that nightmare is precisely why the founders made federal judgeships lifetime jobs and created a nomination process that requires presidents to seek bipartisan support..."
Or this piece by Dana Milbank (Washington Post) And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty attacking Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
"...Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is a fairly accomplished jurist, but he might want to get himself a good lawyer -- and perhaps a few more bodyguards.
Conservative leaders meeting in Washington yesterday for a discussion of "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny" decided that Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, should be impeached, or worse.
Phyllis Schlafly, doyenne of American conservatism, said Kennedy's opinion forbidding capital punishment for juveniles "is a good ground of impeachment." To cheers and applause from those gathered at a downtown Marriott for a conference on "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith," Schlafly said that Kennedy had not met the "good behavior" requirement for office and that "Congress ought to talk about impeachment."
Next, Michael P. Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said Kennedy "should be the poster boy for impeachment" for citing international norms in his opinions. "If our congressmen and senators do not have the courage to impeach and remove from office Justice Kennedy, they ought to be impeached as well."
Not to be outdone, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."
Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.
The full Stalin quote, for those who don't recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." Presumably, Vieira had in mind something less extreme than Stalin did and was not actually advocating violence. But then, these are scary times for the judiciary. An anti-judge furor may help confirm President Bush's judicial nominees, but it also has the potential to turn ugly....
A judge in Atlanta and the husband and mother of a judge in Chicago were murdered in recent weeks. After federal courts spurned a request from Congress to revisit the Terri Schiavo case, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) mused about how a perception that judges are making political decisions could lead people to "engage in violence...."
And this editorial in the LA Times noted ominously:
"...Judicial independence is one of this nation's distinguishing traits and a hallmark of our constitutional scheme. To endure, our democracy requires that legislators respect the independence of the judiciary, even when it comes to decisions they don't like.
Judges from across California planned to gather tonight at downtown's Millennium Biltmore Hotel for the 100th anniversary of the state's appellate courts. What they celebrate is the separation of powers that DeLay and friends want to smash.
In 1904, when a state referendum created the Courts of Appeal, voters had the good sense to insulate judges from potential demagogues. But the attacks on the federal courts, and on the independence of all judges, may have tonight's celebrants wondering if state courts will last intact for another 100 years."
Karen on 04.16.05 @ 04:29 PM CST