UPDATE: The transcript is attached, in context, at the end of this post. Also, a second GOP congressman has now accused judges of cruelly killing Terri Schiavo, and Congressman Conyers has openly criticized Cornyn.
Senator John Cornyn should resign immediately.
At 5PM today on the Senate floor, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) gave an astounding account of the recent spate of violence against judges, suggesting that the crimes could be attributed to the fact that judges are “unaccountable” to the public. Sources on the Hill went and pulled the transcript of what Cornyn said, and it read:
SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: “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.” [Senate Floor, 4/4/05]
We now have Republican Senators making excuses for terrorists. Explaining why terrorism is understandable. Why terrorists have legitimate concerns. Justifying why the victims of terrorism are really to blame for these heinous crimes. Wonder what Senator Cornyn thinks of rape victims?
This is utterly outrageous. Outrageous. The GOP is now embracing domestic terrorists who are trying to undermine our democracy. And they’re doing it so they can take down the judges who “killed” Terri Schiavo, and instead impose some Pat Robertson-like theocracy on our country. This is absolutely utterly beyond contempt. Tell Judge Lefkow in Chicago that her mother and husband are dead because she brought it on herself.
And the ultimate irony is that it is people like John Cornyn who now risk inciting violence against judges by giving aid and comfort to these homicidal maniacs. Cornyn should resign immediately.
Here’s the text of what Cornyn said, 4:54 PM Eastern time today, in context – he clearly is blaming the judges for the violence against them.
…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…
I love how, after making the entire case for how the judges are bringing violence on themselves, Cornyn throws in “certainly without justification.” Yeah, nice try, but we have the rest of your entire speech as evidence to the contrary.