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ON JUDGES
Sen. Lautenberg blasts Robertson, calls on Frist to condemn remarks

RAW STORY

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has called on GOP Senate leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to condemn remarks by evangelical Rev. Pat Robertson, in which he said judges are a bigger threat than terrorists, RAW STORY has learned.

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Robertson was a guest on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. Asked asked if judges were a more serious threat than terrorists, Robertson responded, “It depends on how you look at culture. If they look over the course of 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings. And I think we have controlled Al Qaida. I think we'll get Osama bin Laden. We've won in Afghanistan. We won in Iraq. And we can contain that. But if there's an erosion at home, you know, Thomas Jefferson warned about a tyranny of oligarchy. If we surrender our democracy to the tyranny of oligarchy, we've made a terrible mistake.”

In the letter, obtained by RAW STORY, Lautenberg says he was shocked at Robertson's remarks.

“It was shocking to hear your cavalier dismissal of the atrocious 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by describing them as “a few bearded terrorists who fly planes into buildings,” wrote Lautenberg in his letter to Reverend Robertson. Lautenberg went on to write, “To suggest that members of the federal judiciary are somehow in the same class as “a few bearded terrorists” is an assault on the men and women on the federal bench who safeguard our rights under the Constitution everyday.”

In a separate letter to Sen. Majority Leader Frist, Lautenberg asks Frist to condemn Robertson's comments.

“I hope you will join me in condemning such harmful and heated language and call on Reverend Robertson to publicly apologize to every family who has lost a loved one to terrorism. Your silence on this matter would send a resounding signal to the entire country that the radical right controls the leadership of the Republican Party,” Lautenberg wrote in his letter to Majority Leader Frist.

The letter to Robertson, and the following letter to Frist, are included below. RAW STORY has also posted the letters in text form.

###

Reverend Pat Robertson
Founder and Chairman

The Christian Broadcasting Network
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

Dear Reverend Robertson,

It was shocking to hear your cavalier dismissal of the atrocious 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by describing them as “a few bearded terrorists who fly planes into buildings.”

It is hard to believe that an American could so coldly describe the murder of more than 3,000 human beings, the demolition of facilities thought of as indestructible and the crushing psychological damage to our national confidence.

We now live under constant threat of another terrorist attack, visible at airports and major public facilities. And the cost to guard against “a few bearded terrorists” is billions of dollars each year.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight “a few bearded terrorists” have taken the lives of over 1,500 American soldiers and seriously wounded thousands more.

I urge you to publicly apologize to every family that has lost a loved one on 9/11 and on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan fighting the global war against terrorism.

To suggest that members of the federal judiciary are somehow in the same class as “a few bearded terrorists” is an assault on the men and women on the federal bench who safeguard our rights under the Constitution everyday.

Not until I heard what you had said would I have ever believed a man of such deep faith could single out our courts, and not terrorists, as America’s Public Enemy Number One. Every family who has lost loved ones at the hands of terrorists deserves nothing less that a full and forthright apology from you.

Sincerely,

FRANK R. LAUTENBERG

###

May 3, 2005

Dr. Bill Frist
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-230 – U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Frist,

As I am sure you are aware by now, during an appearance on last Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the Reverend Pat Robertson commented that federal judges posed a greater threat to our country than “bearded terrorists who fly planes into buildings.”

I have sent a letter to Reverend Robertson calling on him to apologize publicly to the families who lost loved ones on September 11th, as well as to the families of those who have been killed serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The almost constant assaults on our federal judges by the radical right of the Republican Party has now caused one of its most prominent spokesmen to claim judges, not terrorists, are the number one threat to this country. I hope you will join me in condemning such harmful and heated language and call on Reverend Robertson to publicly apologize to every family who has lost a loved one to terrorism. Your silence on this matter would send a resounding signal to the entire country that the radical right controls the leadership of the Republican Party.

Sincerely,

FRANK R. LAUTENBERG

###

Article originally published May 3, 2005.

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