Monday, April 04, 2005

Senator Cornyn's Concern for Federal Judges

U.S. Senator John Cornyn from Texas offered these thoughts on our federal judiciary (reported by AMERICAblog) late this afternoon:
And, indeed, I believe this increasing politicalization of the judicial decision-making process at the highest levels of our judiciary have bred a lack of respect for some of the people that wear the robe. And that is a national tragedy.
And finally, I – I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news. And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in -- engage in violence. Certainly without any justification but a concern that I have that I wanted to share.
We have seen these kinds of statements before--understanding the motives of terrorists and criminals while deploring their methods--all around the world: in Ireland; in the Middle East; and in the U.S. when white supremacists killed civil rights activists and even innocent children, when deluded middle-class college kids bombed laboratories, when environmentalists torched construction sites, and when militias took up arms in open defiance of our system of laws.
If patriotism is the refuge of scoundrels, how then should we characterize this statement from a U.S. Senator expressing understanding of--while carefully stopping short of justification for--the recent murders of one federal judge and the mother and husband of another?
Representative John Conyers promptly and properly offered these words of rebuke:
This apparent effort to rationalize violence against judges is deplorable. On its face, while it contains doubletalk that simultaneously offers a justification for such violence and then claims not to, the fundamental core of the statement seems to be that judges have somehow brought this violence on themselves. This also carries an implicit threat: that if judges do not do what the far right wants them to do (thus becoming the "judicial activists" the far right claims to deplore), the violence may well continue.

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