Breaking News, Top Breaking News, Liberal News
FORUMS | BLOG | EDITORIALS Liberal news Liberal News
Features
Liberal News
Editors' Blog
Contact

Contact | Link to us
Advertise
|
About Us

THE SENATE
Cornyn statement regarding judges, violence sparks furor

RAW STORY

Monday on the Senate floor, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) gave an account suggesting that the crime against judges could be attributed to the fact that judges are “unaccountable” to the public.

Advertisement

The statement has already prompted some bloggers to call on Cornyn to resign, considering the recent assassination of a federal judge’s family and threats made against judges in the Terri Schiavo case. Some have taken the statement, which follows, to suggest judges deserve any violence that comes as a result of “unaccountability.”

Members of the Democratic staff are shooting the phrase all over Washington, RAW STORY has learned, some of which are titled, “Did he really just say that?”

The statement?

“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,” Sen. Cornyn said. “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.”

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a vocal progressive member in the House, quickly called on Cornyn to retract the statement.

“This apparent effort to rationalize violence against judges is deplorable,” Conyers wrote on his blog. “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.”

“If this is what Senator Cornyn meant to say, it is outrageous, irresponsible and unbecoming of our leaders,” he added. “There is no excuse, no excuse, for a member of Congress to take our discourse to this ugly and dangerous extreme.”

“To my Republican colleagues,” Conyers continued, “You are playing with fire, you are playing with lives, and you must stop.”
#

Transcript: John Cornyn, 4:54 EST:

…it causes a lot of people, including me, great distress to see judges use the authority that they have been given to make raw political or ideological decisions. And no one, including those judges, including the judges on the United States Supreme Court, should be surprised if one of us stands up and objects.

And, Mr. President, I’m going to make clear that I object to some of the decision-making process that is occurring at the United States Supreme Court today and now. I believe that insofar as the Supreme Court has taken on this role as a policy-maker rather than an enforcer of political decisions made by elected representatives of the people, it has led to the increasing divisiveness and bitterness of our confirmation fights. That is a very current problem that this body faces today. It has generated a lack of respect for judges generally. I mean, why should people respect a judge for making a policy decision borne out of an ideological conviction any more than they would respect or deny themselves the opportunity to disagree if that decision were made by an elected representative?

Of course the difference is that they can throw the rascal – the rascal out – and we are sometimes perceived as the rascal – if they don’t like the decisions that we make. But they can’t vote against a judge because judges aren’t elected. They serve for a lifetime on the federal bench. 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.

You know, it’s ironic, if you look back, as we all have, being students of history in this body, all of us have been elected to other – to other bodies and other offices and we’re all familiar with the founding documents, the declaration of independence, the constitution itself, we’re familiar with the federalist papers that were written in an effort to get the constitution ratified in New York state. Well, Alexander Hamilton, apropos of what I want to talk about here, authored a series of essays in the Federalist Papers that opined that the judicial branch would be what he called the – quote – “least dangerous branch of government.” The “least dangerous branch.” He pointed out that the judiciary lacked the power of the executive branch, the white house, for example, and the federal government and the political passions of the legislature. In other words, the congress. Its sole purpose – that is, the federal judiciary’s sole purpose was to objectively interpret and apply the laws of the land and in…

 

Advertisement
Copyright © 2004-05 Raw Story Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | Site map | Privacy policy