Saturday, April 16, 2005

Unbalance of Powers

The list of unbelievable quotes continues. With Tom DeLay being attacked from both sides, he has given us a number of amusing and appalling quotes, not least of which was his comment against the judiciary (Taken from The Washington Post):
DeLay created a furor last month by saying that "the time will come" for federal judges who refused to restore the brain-damaged Florida woman's feeding tube "to answer for their behavior," and by criticizing what he called an "arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary."
However, Tom DeLay's new quote takes the cake, in my eyes. Just a few weeks ago, during the Schiavo case, we witnessed a questionable overreach of power when congress tried to interfere with the decision of several Florida courts. The Washington Times, sheds more light on the issue through the transcript of an interview with DeLay:
Mr. Dinan: You've been talking about going after activist judges since at least 1997. The [Terri] Schiavo case gives you a chance to do that, but you've recently said you blame Congress for not being zealous in oversight.
Mr. DeLay: Not zealous. I blame Congress over the last 50 to 100 years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them.
Did he really say that? The idea of judicial review goes back to Marbury vs Madison. Does Tom DeLay want to tear it down? The checks and balances are, to some extent, contrary to what Locke intended; he thought the legislative body should be the supreme power. However, I believe that it is essential to have an independent judiciary body, with its own power (On this, I fully agree with Bush). The judicial branch of government acts as a stabilizing force in government, preventing radical change. If it were subjected to the whims of whichever party held the majority in congress, laws would swing back and forth. Actually, we have a runner-up when it comes to unbalance quotes. Bill Frist has had a few interesting quotes recently, not least of which was his attempt to turn his anti-filibuster push into an issue of religion:
A flier advertising the event refers to "the filibuster against people of faith" and says: "The filibuster was once abused to produce racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith." (Talking Points Memo)
The event it refers to is a national telecast with other Christian conservatives, including organizer Tony Perkins.

In his letter promoting the event, Perkins said, "For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the ACLU, have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms."

Ok. I really am speechless this time.


At 7:25 PM, Blogger Jay said...

And I'm sure you're also familiar with Sen. John Cornyn's (another Texas Republican) recent comments:

"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.'s that for something to leave you speechless? Or, to quote Jon Stewart's reaction on the Daily Show, "What a perfectly handsome crazy person!"

Actually, I'd like to see any of these anti-judge Republicans try and act on any of their crazy threats they've made. The public backlash would be swift, and it would destroy them. (I hope!) I'm fairly confident that the American public, even from a minimum high school government class, would react negatively to one branch of government trying to tamper, threaten, or subvert another branch.


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