Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Cornyn's Rhetoric is Over the Top

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) made some very disturbing remarks on the floor of the Senate yesterday, as reported by the Washington Post. Cornyn said:

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. . . . 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.

Is Cornyn claiming that the Atlanta courthouse shooting or the murder of a Chicago judge’s husband and mother had something to do with recent, politically charged Federal court rulings? Both those cases were clearly about other matters.

So what is Cornyn saying? Either he is making a veiled threat against U.S. justices or he’s guilty of making blatantly false associations in an atempt to advance the conservative claim that our justices are out of control. Given that Cornyn is a politician, the latter assumption is far more likely, but that in no way excuses the Senator from making such ridiculous remarks.

If Cornyn wants to have a debate about judicial overreach, he should heed his own words. In this Washington Times editorial, he calls on the Congress to have an honest debate on the Patriot Act without the deceptions and hyperbole. The same honesty should also apply to any debate on our judicial system.


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