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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Cornyn out of context

I reproduce here an email I just sent to Profs. Glenn Reynolds and Ann Althouse based on their two recent posts about Texas Senator John Cornyn's so-called "stirring up hatred against judges":


Profs. Reynolds & Althouse, with due respect, I think you are buying in wholesale to comments of others who are taking Sen. John Cornyn's comments WAY out of context, and thereby propagating and giving additional credence to a misimpression.

John Cornyn, as you probably know (but may have forgotten) was the Attorney General of Texas and an Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court before he was elected to the US Senate.  In both of those capacities, he was extremely responsible and well-balanced.  As the chief law enforcement officer of the State of Texas, he certainly had no record of encouraging lawlessness.  He has no history of demagoguery.  Lumping him in with nuts at either the left or right extremes simply isn't justified based on his past record.  He's neither a Tom DeLay nor a Robert Byrd.  There's no plausible basis to argue based on his own history that by speculating about a possible cause-and-effect link, he's sending a "coded message" approving and endorsing violence against judges. 

Prof. Althouse comments (and Prof. Reynolds quotes approvingly) that "[i]t is really a shame how little people understand of the reasons judges decide cases the way they do."  With due respect, Prof. Althouse, ex-Justice Cornyn may have a better understanding than you, Prof. Reynolds, or I (judicial clerkships notwithstanding).  I don't think you should be so quick to impute to this senator an intent to encourage violence against judges like those among whom he recently sat himself, especially given his own track record of combatting violent crime as a Texas Attorney General.

And in context, Sen. Cornyn's remarks are actually CONSISTENT with your observation, Prof. Althouse.  He's not commending or endorsing the people who "understand [little] of the reasons judges decide cases the way they do."  But he's certainly commenting on the fact that many people don't understand why judges decide cases the way they do, and observing, admittedly speculatively — with concern and alarm, not approval — that the misunderstandings of some of those people may turn to frustration that could potentially turn to violence.  And how does he characterize these hypothetical misunderstandings and actions?  As being "certainly without any justification"!

The left half of the blogosphere — including posts you've linked, Prof. Reynolds — are painting Sen. Cornyn's comments as "endorsing violence against state and federal judges."  But that's not at all what he actually said, even in the truncated quotes contained in the WaPo article linked by Prof. Althouse.

One can make the argument that judicial activism breaks down public respect for the judiciary, and the further argument that decreased public respect for and increased public frustration with the judiciary might encourage fringe elements to break the law.  One can lament that as a potential consequence without endorsing that consequence.  One can lament that without encouraging violence.  One can indeed condemn violence as an inappropriate solution to the problem; if Sen. Cornyn's comments can be faulted, it's only for failing to condemn violence more strongly than he did.  But in fairness, it probably never occurred to him that anyone would misconstrue his comments as being an endorsement of violence against judges.

Neither of you two are suckers.  But with due respect, I think you've both been suckered, badly, this time.  I urge you to think twice.  And read the whole speech — link here — which includes statements like this one:

This is not a blanket condemnation. I hope I have made it clear that I respect the men and women who wear the robe, but having been a judge myself I can state that part of the job of a judge is to criticize the reasoning and the justification for a particular judgment. I certainly did that daily as a state supreme court justice. And I might add that people felt free to criticize my decisions, my reasoning and justification for the judgments I would render. That is part of the give and take that goes into this. I make clear my respect generally for the Federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Then tell me truthfully if you think the WaPo linkage of this speech to Tom DeLay's veiled threat of impeachment-type retaliation against the Schiavo judges is fair, or a cheap shot.  I think it's definitely the latter.

Best regards,

- Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar


Regarding quoting out of context, here's what came immediately before the bit that the WaPo quoted:

I believe the increasing politicization of the judicial decisionmaking process at the highest levels of our judiciary has bred a lack of respect for some of the people who wear the robe. That is a national tragedy.

Does describing a "lack of respect for some of the people who wear the robe" as a "[n]ational tragedy" encourage violence against judges?

And here, from the very beginning of the speech:

Before I start, let me just say I have the greatest respect for our judiciary, the men and women who wear black robes — whether it is on a municipal court or a county court or a district court like I served on in San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, for 6 years, or those who work on appellate courts, whether State or Federal, like I did on the Texas Supreme Court for 7 years.

For 13 years of my professional life, I have worn a black robe, judging cases, first presiding over the jury trials, and coming to have a great deal of respect not just for those judges but for men and women who serve on juries and decide hard cases, cases which, perhaps, they would prefer not have to sit in judgment of, some involving even the death penalty.

I don't want anyone to misunderst[an]d what I am going to say as being a blanket criticism of either the judiciary or the U.S. Supreme Court, in particular. From my own experience, judges, although they have important jobs to do, are no different than you and me. What I mean is they are mere mortals, subject to the same flashes of mediocrity, sometimes making mistakes, and sometimes displaying flights of brilliance. These are not, as some people have suggested, high priests able to discern great truths that you and I are unable to figure out. They are generally very intelligent, with outstanding educational pedigrees, but none of us have agreed that judges, particularly Federal judges, can be or should be a law unto themselves.

Demagoguery? A call to violence?

Hardly. Actually a damn good speech. But read the whole thing for yourselves, please, before buying into anyone's characterization of it, including mine.


UPDATE (Tue Apr 5 @ 2:30pm): Argh. Jonah Goldberg's been suckered too. Doesn't anyone bother to read before blogging anymore? It took me all of ten seconds to find the speech on Cornyn's website and three minutes to read it start to finish. I expect better than this from these folks, frankly. You should too.


UPDATE (Tue Apr 5 @ 3:55pm): To his credit, Josh Marshall of  Talking Points Memo responded promptly and very politely to my emailed request that he post a link to Cornyn's actual speech, although without quoting any of the passages that his earlier posts and the WaPo article left out:

To me, the offending passage — suggesting a connection between judicial activism and violence against judges — speaks for itself, notwithstanding the fact that other passages say (what else do you expect?) that such violence cannot be justified.

But, no need to take my word for it. Read the context and decide for yourself.

My reading of the context is very different, obviously, but I thank Dr. Marshall for his intellectual honesty in posting the link to the speech so his readers can make up their own minds.

John Hawkins likewise faults Prof. Reynolds for over-reacting to the WaPo excerpt. If the WaPo excerpt were fair — if, as Prof. Althouse's post's title suggests, Sen. Cornyn was "stirring up hatred against judges" — I'd have had a similar reaction to theirs.

But contrary to Prof. Althouse's update, I don't believe that read in context, Sen. Cornyn's speech "legitim[ates] hostility toward judges," or that "portraying the judges as out-of-control power-wielders" is in any way an endorsement of violence against judges. Nor do I agree that "he's expressing understanding for people who snap and express hostility with violence" — certainly not understanding in the sense of condoning, much less endorsing, that violence. Perhaps Prof. Althouse will rethink after re-reading the speech and her post, and then sleeping on it. And in any event, I don't think it's fair for bloggers — left, right, or center — to quote selectively from the WaPo article without linking the actual speech and/or recognizing that it requires an intuitive leap to get from the text of the speech (even as excerpted in the WaPo article) to the conclusion that Sen. Cornyn was supporting or encouraging violence against judges. Such a leap might be arguable if Sen. Cornyn's career otherwise supported the notion that he's a rabble-rouser who speaks in code to encourage lawlessness. But that's simply not the case.

Jonah Goldberg was also prompt and kind in linking my post in response to my email, and K-Lo has now linked the full text of Sen. Cornyn's speech. My thanks to them both.

And Prof. Reynolds has also been kind enough to link this post and, much more importantly, Sen. Cornyn's speech in an update to his original post. Prof. Reynolds thinks the speech was rambling and asinine; I respectfully disagree. He asks: "[W]hy drag in the violence-against-judges thing — when, as Jonah [Goldberg] points out, there's no reason to associate any of these events with the kind of stuff that Cornyn is complaining about — at all?" Well, to begin with, Sen. Cornyn himself, even as quoted selectively in the WaPo article, questioned whether there's any cause-and-effect linkage; i.e., he was musing, speculating, wondering. Why was he wondering? I suspect it's because he identifies with judges who are wondering if there's any way to explain the increased violence. Should he have avoided speculating? Should he have forcefully condemned any possible tendencies for disrespect to translate into violence? Maybe. But that's a whole different kettle of fish than encouraging violence against judges, which is the way the speech has been painted.

Via Prof. Reynolds' update, I see also that Jon Henke has up a post with many links from the left and the right, and James Joyner has weighed in briefly as well.

I stress again: Truth is the antidote to confusion. Hyperlinks are your friend. Read the speech, and decide for yourself.


UPDATE (Tue Apr 5 @ 7:24pm): K-Lo has Sen. Cornyn's clarification on the Senate floor tonight:

Mr. President, I rise to follow up on some remarks that I made on the floor of the Senate on Monday. A full transcript of those remarks, which had to do with judges and recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court, are available on my official website for anyone who would care to read them.

As a former judge of 13 years, who has a number of close personal friends who still serve on the bench today, I am outraged by recent acts of courthouse violence. I certainly hope that people will not construe my remarks on Monday otherwise. Considered in context, I don’t think a reasonable listener or reader could.

As I said on Monday, there is no possible justification for courthouse violence. Indeed, I met with a federal judge in Texas just this past week, to make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect our judges and courthouse personnel against further acts of violence.

But let me be clear: I am not aware of any evidence whatsoever linking the recent acts of courthouse violence to the various controversial rulings that have captured the nation’s attention in recent years.

My point was, and is, simply this: We should all be concerned that the judiciary is losing the respect that it needs to serve the American people well. We should all want judges who will interpret the laws fairly – not impose their own personal political views on the nation. We should all want to fix our broken judicial confirmation process. And we should all be disturbed by overheated rhetoric about the judiciary, from both sides of the aisle. I regret it that my remarks have been taken out of context to create a wrong impression about my position, and possibly be construed to contribute to the problem rather than to a solution.

Our judiciary must not be politicized. Rhetoric about the judiciary and about judicial nominees must be toned down. And our broken judicial confirmation process must be fixed, once and for all.

Bravo to Sen. Cornyn and his staff for the prompt reaction. And bravo to my fellow bloggers, left and right (and now including Prof. Althouse), who've linked to the full transcript from yesterday.

Now it's back to trial prep for Beldar — another trial starting on Monday, should be a barrel o' monkeys!


UPDATE (Tue Apr 5 @ 10:04pm): One last bit that I can't resist, despite the risk of seeming picky or self-righteous. I have enormous respect for both Profs. Althouse and Reynolds, and give both of them credit for responsiveness and for being willing to look at additional context. But I just can't quite swallow Prof. Althouse's parting remarks, quoted approvingly (along with the text of Sen. Cornyn's clarification) by Prof. Reynolds:

Politicians know the spiciest part of a speech is the sound bite. Edit it out if you don't mean it.

Sure, that's great advice in general. But exactly what made the bit initially quoted by both of the good professors and others into a "sound bite"? This wasn't something said on the Capitol steps to a pack of reporters from the networks who could be expected to pick fifteen seconds for the nightly newscast. Rather, it was one paragraph out of a long speech given on a mostly-empty Senate floor and broadcast only on C-SPAN. And that paragraph was an aside, by no means the major topic on which Sen. Cornyn was speaking. There's no reason to believe that Sen. Cornyn himself intended, or expected, this paragraph to be "spicy." He's not much of a show-horse as politicians go, but heck, even he knows how to deliver a sound bite on cue — and the difference between a C-SPAN camera and one from CNN or ABC.

No ma'am and no sir, this became a "sound bite" only when yanked out of context by others, including the WaPo reporter, and then it became a big deal when that little bit of text was widely reprinted and broadcast without the surrounding context — including by folks who are generally a bit more skeptical and generally better than they were today in checking out the background facts and context. There's a big difference between a "sound bite" deliberately sculpted by a politician for mass rebroadcast and a "gotcha" (or attempted "gotcha") drummed up by others like this one was.

As for "editing it out if you don't mean it": Is this supposed to be a proscription against any speculation? Against musing in public? Because that's all Cornyn was doing. He didn't mean the misinterpretations some folks put on that paragraph, and he didn't say what he was mischaracterized as saying (i.e., even "hinting" at approval of violence against judges). Instead, in the very first section of the speech, Sen. Cornyn stressed his own respect for the judiciary in general, and pleaded for his comments not to be misunderstood. Immediately before the criticized language he referred to the decline in respect for the judiciary as a "national tragedy"; in the midst of the challenged language, he disclaimed a direct cause-and-effect relationship; and in the end of the challenged passage he had the "without any justification" language. Later in the speech, he repeated his sympathetic and empathetic remarks about the judiciary. And throughout, with the exception of this one paragraph, he talked about politics, not violence. But despite all this, obviously he was misunderstood — or misrepresented, intentionally or not — anyway.

Just how "gotcha-proof" can a politician make his speeches? Is he supposed to have someone holding up cue cards by his side, anticipating and dispelling every possible misinterpretation of what he's saying as he's saying it? And shouldn't that politician's past career — in Sen. Cornyn's case, as a judge and law enforcement official — confer at least some marginal protection against being misinterpreted as an advocate of violence? This whole thing smacks of the tempest in a teapot last fall over Dubya's "you probably can't win it" comment about the Global War on Terror. My immediate reaction to that was, "That can't be right — whatever else you think about Dubya, there ain't nobody who thinks he's a good enough actor to have concealed that so long if it was, in context, his real view!" And sure enough, the public didn't buy into that either; the quote disappeared as an issue by the time of the election, as Sen. Cornyn's quote will by the time of the first real Senate fight on judicial confirmations.

I guess these are rhetorical questions. I'm not fishing for mea culpas or abject apologies, and I'm certainly not suggesting bad faith on the part of those who posted without reading the whole speech. Indeed, I'm gratified that today's "blog swarm," to use Hugh Hewitt's term, is fizzling out; I view the whole episode as an example of the self-correcting tendencies of the blogosphere.

And there endeth the lesson, at least as far as longwinded Beldar is concerned. What you make of the lesson, if anything, gentle readers, is up to each of you.

Posted by Beldar at 02:14 PM in Law (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Cornyn out of context and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Cheney Bows to the Imperial Judiciary from damnum absque injuria

Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 3:39:07 PM

» The Cornyn Speech from QandO

Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 4:32:46 PM

» Who's responsible for a misquote? from Shameless Self-Promotion

Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 4:45:45 PM

» The Cornyn Furor - I'm Wondering Why from Joust The Facts

Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 9:21:29 PM

» Hey, we all make mistakes from Media Lies

Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 10:07:38 PM

» BeldarBlog: Cornyn out of context from QT Monster's Place

Tracked on Apr 6, 2005 3:43:05 PM

» Cornyn from Balloon Juice

Tracked on Apr 6, 2005 5:38:27 PM

» BeldarBlog: Cornyn out of context from QT Monster's Place

Tracked on Apr 11, 2005 8:14:39 PM

» Cornyn out of Context from Random Observations

Tracked on Apr 13, 2005 8:24:42 PM

» Senator Cornyn's comments on judges, and leftist hypocrisy from The Unalienable Right

Tracked on Apr 26, 2005 1:55:14 PM


(1) Giacomo made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 3:13:31 PM | Permalink

Very well put. My comment at "The Moderate Voice" is just above yours, and I came to the same conclusion, even with reading only the section excerpted by the WaPost, and not the entire speech as you did.

The "certainly without any justification" remark should have been noted with a little more gusto by those now demagoguing his remarks. But even the previous quotes seem to be fishing about for an answer, without any approval at all.

Again, very well put in this post.

(2) steve sturm made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 3:14:18 PM | Permalink


Nice job. You'd think by now people would know to fact check the Post before accepting - and passing on - the Post's version of what happened.

(3) Eddie made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 3:17:26 PM | Permalink

Nice spin...

Tell it to the Judge Lefkow and the family of the murdered judge in Atlanta.

Cornyn is an embarassment, and should resign immediately.

(4) Wallace-Midland Texas made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 3:29:46 PM | Permalink

Good! I sent my own version of comments to these bloggers. John is a good man...and was a pretty decent flag football player at Trinity U. I had the privelage of pulling his shorts off with the flag once.....

(5) Xrlq made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 3:41:19 PM | Permalink

Well said. Reynold's comment that "If you need proof that some Republicans are just as dumb as some Democrats, this is it" was especially lame. All he did prove is that bloggers and law professors are just as capable of misquoting people as Maureen Dowd is.

(6) Don made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 3:44:59 PM | Permalink

This lawyer agrees with you 110%.

(7) Bryan made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 3:46:39 PM | Permalink

Well put, Beldar. I've got a reaction that includes yours up on the JYB.

(8) Jared made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 4:10:12 PM | Permalink

This lawyer ( U of Maryland School of Law, Class of '02) also agrees with Beldar. There are always people a little too eager to prove their bona fides as "balanced" by criticizing Republicans.

Instapundit's going the way of Andrew Sullivan anyway. He's always been an academic liberal, but his support of the war, plus his opposition to MSM dishonesty, got him lots of readers during the election season. Now that it's over, Reynolds is showing his true colors. Thus, he pretty much sided with the anti-tubists in the Schivao affair, and even refused to discuss it on Hugh Hewitt's show. Now he's criticizing John Cornyn, and implying that Cornyn is advocating violence against judges, a play out of Ted Kennedy's playbook. He also supports homosexual marriage, which even Oregon didn't, and actually believes ( on the basis of what, exactly?) that Condelleza Rice and Barack Obama would be a dream presidential ticket.

Bye-bye readership, bye-bye influence . . .


PS - Jonah Goldberg's not much diffrent than either Reynolds or Sullivan. They like to call themselves conservative, but they aint.

(9) bling made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 4:17:01 PM | Permalink

Please. Cornyn was blatantly playing to the wingnuts who were outraged by the Federal judges who refused to get embroiled in the Schiavo affair. If you can't grasp that, you're obviously not paying attention. The remarks you provide for context tell the story:

...none of us have agreed that judges, particularly Federal judges, can be or should be a law unto themselves.

The implication is clear: judges are running wild and something needs to be done. He then follows up this charge with:

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.

Now, to which "quarters" exactly does the senator refer? The context in which these remarks were made is one where there has a been a massive brouhaha over patients rights over the last few weeks. When Cornyn refers to people who have felt that "judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public", he is obviously referring to those on the far right wing of the of republican party who were outraged over the Schiavo decisions. The context is clear. The outrageousness of the remarks is clear.

(10) RJGatorEsq. made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 4:23:52 PM | Permalink

Hey, Instaman: You're so freakin' smart, READ THE WORDS.

Cornyn's words, not what somebody else says Cornyn said.

In short, count this lawyer in the group that agrees with Beldar.

The speech is reasonable and moderate--hardly the shrill, ominous speech InstaPundit, Moderate Vice, etc. claim it is.

Leave it to a liberal to take words that say, in effect, "we respect judges and we don't want violence against them" and claim they mean, "we endorse violence against judges."

Sheesh. Read. Then post.

(11) Sydney Carton made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 4:29:02 PM | Permalink

I suspect Cornyn was speaking to people who are disenchanted with the Federal Courts as a whole. I don't believe for a minute that the judges write their decisions based on reasoned interpretation of the law. Certainly the Supreme Court Justices (like Kennedy, O'Connor, Ginsberg, and others) do not. It is an insult to my intelligence to say that the Constitution requires a right to homosexual sodomy when there were laws in place for over 200 years against such practices, or that the Constitution requires that minors cannot be executed when states had such laws for decades, or that abortion is a right when it was illegal in the majority of the states.

The Justices who rule is do so at their whim. There is no avoiding that. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to read the Constitution or to know a little history, and for my part, as a lawyer, I know the game they're at. It's Power. And the Nine wield it unquestioned.

To suggest that attention of this problem is a call to violence is idiotic. Cornyn was not saying that at all. He is saying that it is unfortunate that people like me view the whole of the Judiciary as broken and as a mere place for Imperial Legislators with Lifetime tenure. Why be a politician when you can be a judge? Why run for President when you can be a Supreme Court justice with lifetime tenure? It's not for nothing that no justice has retired in over 10 years. They know what they're doing.

I'm in favor of radical change: Impeachments, stripped jurisdiction, and Constitutional Amendments. Anything to break the power of the court. THAT is what is necessary. Not violence. Even a good man occupying the office will succumb to its Power. The problem is systemic and broader than one mere judge.

(12) Nels Nelson made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 4:46:52 PM | Permalink

Good of you to point to the entire speech, but now that I've read the whole thing the quote in question is even worse than it was out of context. In the midst of a reasoned argument, the paragraph sounds like bought ad space, though in Coryrn's defense he tries valiantly to mangle it beyond comprehension with seven weak-kneed "I just work here" qualifiers in the course of two sentences.

(13) Daniel B. made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 5:22:12 PM | Permalink

Insty's getting worse. Did you read his update? Now he thinks people who want the executive to ignore the judiciary when warranted are promoting violence!

I think Glenn's lost his moorings. There are millions of conservatives who recognize that the executive branch should not simply rubber stamp and endorse the out-of-control judiciary. That's tantamount to advocating violence, in his book? Perhaps he'd prefer forbidding all criticism of judges altogether. Or, maybe, all criticism of law professors?

(14) Carol_Herman made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 6:11:31 PM | Permalink

Cornyn's a mensh. That's the amazing wonder of the republican party. In 1964 a young Karl Rove supported Goldwater. Who lost to LBJ.

And, yet Rove understood the magic of Texas. Did it take him a decade? Or two? But Texas today is a powerhouse engine for the Republicans. HOw'd that happen? Unless you understand competence. ANd, how it worked.

To realize Cornyn sat on the State's Supreme Court, does that mean he had a job for life? And, still chose to run for Senator, instead? A very brave man. WIth lots of faith in the People.

There's no such thing that every judge is lousy, anyway. Just that many of them are. And, in family court, the UNcivil arm of the law, I, personally, saw games played that amazed me very much. Could people really get away with that?

as to george greer, folks. He's blind. He can't read the law. But he just executed a woman. Sure, you can say her husband wanted it like that. But greer doesn't see. So he never even saw the list of wrongs that are compiled against the care Terri received.

When the MSM's Howie Kurtz said the republicans were passing about an embarrassing, but unsigned memo; my ears perked.

In spite of the polls, there must have been a problem. Just as there was for Kerry, when Rather popped up with fake but accurate (accurately fake), docoments.

We're like getting an MSM from Pravda.

Glenn Reynolds, by the way, could care less about Terri. So, he's more of what's called a "libertarian" ... without noticing how the democrats were hoping Bush took a real stumble. (He didn't.)

Can't bring people back to life after you execute them.

And, you can't bring honor back to judges, now that Ginsberg (who was an ACLU communist), now sits on our Surpreme-0's. And, O'Connor and Kennedy do the same. It's as if the elites thought they sewed up the laws all for themselves.

And, this does hurt lawyers. Some lawyers even say the only guys willing to become judges are the ones whose legal incomes are marginal. (And, then they go crazy. They resent some lawyers more than others.)

And, even lay people discuss many of the tricks that take place every day in many, many, many, many court houses. Vegas has a lottery. And, so do the courts.

By why do you have to pass the Bar to play the lottery and earn money? The game's tilted towards the house. Instead of towards the People.

Oh, yeah. Plus I saw one judge "take a nap," while a very busy practitioner got stuck outside in the hall way all day. As his calendar just got destroyed. Clients everywhere. What do you tell them? Hire only the judge's favorites?

You need to see these fun and games?

As long as you make money at what you do, you may not even know you have a problem?

Hire the wrong heart surgeon and that decision can kill ya.

Be in the wrong courtroom, and there are no stays on LIFE, itself.

(15) seePea made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 7:41:09 PM | Permalink

I read the speech at the link due to my not understanding what it was Mr Cornyn said. After reading it, I'm still not sure what his point with that paragraph was but I do feel that the critics like Instapundit, Marchall and Althouse are off base.

The paragraph does seem out of place, like it was written by a different person than the surrounding paragraphs. Maybe it was meant as a transitional sort of paragraph for this particular audience?

(16) Sue Bob made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 9:16:43 PM | Permalink

I agree with you Beldar. Senator Cornyn is right on point.

Why should judges not be accountable? Why is criticizing judges considered inciting violence against them? I don't get the criticism.

(17) Terry Mann made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 9:47:14 PM | Permalink

It seems to this non-lawyer that the entire jusiciary is consumed by a process that quite often delivers miserable results.

Why can't we fire judges who turn down injunctions against murderers who go on to commit their crimes? Why can't we fire judges who are so mired in their legalisms that the basic moralilty of Western Civilization is made less than their process? Just a question, Beldar, from one who wonders how Tom DeLay can stop these autocrats of governmenment from unravelling our nation's fabric.

These men (for the mostimportant players have been male) are truly out of control and all the legal process catechisms can't change for a minute that erry Schiavo's death was at its proedural behest ... and that of her so-called "guardian" husband. I hope never to be in the same straits as Terri, but I have a living will that states that food may be withdrawn from me, but never water.

If the rule of law is not intended to protect innocence then what the hell is it about?

Terri Schiavo was innocent, yet killed by judicial fiat. Public opinion on this has as much moral impact as a flea on a dog.

Woman was alive. Woman now dead. How? Through the courts. Nuff said.

(18) Wallace-Midland, Texas made the following comment | Apr 5, 2005 10:48:15 PM | Permalink

Not long after emailing Ms. Althouse with my comments about her article on Sen. Cornyn, I received a prompt reply from her which developed into a mostly civil multiple mail "conversation" back and forth.

After all her explanations I still cannot by any logic known to me explain how she can get directly from...

"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."....

to "Stirring up hatred against judges".

(19) VA Jim made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 12:11:39 AM | Permalink

Hoho! Lawyers siding with Sen. Cornyn, and other (nonspecified occupations) all over the spectrum. How come? What gives?

All branches of government make decisions that have monumental effects on everyday people; but only in the judicial system is this as clear and immediate to the individual. Police often make decisions to arrest or seize in a moment's time; judges fine or sentence (or free) people with the results carried out at that instant. It's for this reason --the immediacy of action-- that the judicial system bears the daily brunt of dissatisfaction with our government. They always have and probably always will; a fact of human nature.

When a community believes its police are irrational or acting against the community's interests, individuals from the community are more inclined to act violently against them. Any communities' perception provide (or deny) a moral protection. It isn't binary protection (on or off), it isn't absolute, and it certainly isn't the sole determinant of violence against the state.

Violence against cops and judges is overwhelmingly done by individuals with a personal agenda. Conversely, the protection of cops and judges is a large number of people (AKA community) who trust those cops and judges. It's the community who call in tips, provides information; it's the community who tells their recently-arrested brother (sister, father, mother, friend) to calm down and get a life.

A person must overcome a natural barrier to commit acts of violence; perceived wrongs to the community facilitate going beyond the pale. Conversely, even when inclined to commit violence by rage, anger, personal injustice; a community united behind it's police and courts will prevent individuals from acting.

Senator Cornyn's remarks aren't academic, they show a deep understanding of reality and humanity. Quite simply: the more people trust and back their cops and judges, the less chance of violence against them. Those that have taken offense at Cornyn's speech have showed their colors: they've never dealt with the 'rough side' of the world.

(20) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 1:14:19 AM | Permalink

I notice you raise the issue of Shiavo's judge; and you ask about Tom DeLay calling for his impeachment. I'm not sure it would end up in the House in DC? Am I mistaken. He's a State judge. Wouldn't that fall in his own State's legislature?

I also notice that Frist is tip-toeing around the issue. So my guess is that things will heat up again when books are written about Shiavo's case. And, when the medical examiner's report comes out.

Coroner's by definition work with prosecutors all of the time. Michael Shiavo's shaving of the truth at times (as it exists in statements of Terri's wanting to live when he was pressing a malpractice suit; to a diametrically opposite view when he was pressing to have the judge declare she should be killed. Because he was the guardian. As if this was set in stone. Leading to the events we all know of.

I still think the doctor that pulled the plug is way more in the line of fire than anyone else. If the cause of death is homicide due to dehydration, then wouldn't the prosecutor want to prosecute the doctor?

After that, I'd guess that Medicare will examine how they paid for care for more than a dozen years. When the rules are very clear that hospices can only take patients when they've got 6 months, or less, to live. And, they are in fact dying of a terminal illness. (Not a judicial decree.)

I'd be surprised if the HOUSE in DC didn't do an audit. Through a committee. And, then, perhaps an investigation into the hospice, itself.

The doctor who pulled the tube may, in fact, face disciplinary action through his own medical board.

I'd look there before I'd look elsewhere.

How can Michael be charged with anything? Even if Terri's bones were radioactive? Whatever happened, happened 15 years ago. There's no investigation from that period of time. What would the prosecutor use to charge him with? Hearsay? Doesn't work. Laymen know it doesn't work. It's not as if there had ever been an investigation into spousal abuse, before? What would you have now in terms of evidence? You just can't wish people dead.

george greer's problem is a bit different. He really is blind. He poses as a sighted person. I'd guess he gives deep stares from the bench. And, the court room is familiar enough to him, that he can count his steps from his chambers to his chair. Faking blindness has been a well kept secret. But he can't read the law. Or anything handed in to him. They say others read to him in chambers. felos?

Yup. A miscarriage of justice.

Plus, on the side, there's the possibility that, yet again, the democrats were trying to trap Bush into making some sort of mistake. (I don't think he did.) And, I think Howie Kurtz' reach that there was a "secret" memo; however unsigned, and the WaPo article blamed it on the republicans ... smelled like Rather's fake (but accurately fake) TANG reports. The MSM really did, and probably still does believe, it's just one story away from finally get Bush out of office. Like they did Nixon.

Desperate people. Do desperate things.

And, in this hornet's nest are the judges, themselves.

I think you've heard the Supreme Court justices referred to as the Supreme's. An enormous loss of respect. Started on the Right? Why? Almost anyone whose had a transaction in a courtroom in America; and I don't care if it only involves a traffic ticket, comes away disgusted.

Children caught in divorce? Long, deep scars and memories. UNcivil court, I call it.

With crazy outcomes. Even sending Martha to jail made no sense to me. That's why using the legal system as a tool for anything should be a last resort.

Add to this how poised the lawyers were this time, to turn Bush's 2004 election victory into a recap of Florida, 2000.

And, if you've seen the article I did today, you'd see that maybe 70% of military people's ballots get counted. Some don't even get their absentee ballots when they're deployed. Legal, schmeagle. There are some big problems out there.

You can't do hocus-pocus on them to make them go away.

I know some people think Terri Shiavo will be forgotten as soon as the professionals can bury it. But it reminds me of Kitty Genovese. 1950's? Some place in there, a young woman was returning to her apartment in Queens, when she was attacked by a monster. Raped and killed. It went on for an hour. And, she screamed very loudly. And, no one called the police. The next day it was a big news splash.

(Turns out if you're in trouble a large crowd is useless. You need to designate people to come over to help.) But look at this. It's 2005. And, I remember her name.

Will the medical examiner who did Terri's autopsy find that she was disabled? Of course. But where does that give the legal system the right to kill her in cold blood; with less protections that we give cannibals and killers?

In some sense, I think I know that lawyers are aware of the hostility out there. They hear it in the jokes. (Like you know: Why can lawyers swim with sharks? Professional courtesy.)

And, Congress did try to do something. You can't tell me the judges who wanted to salvage "discretion" from the hands of blind judges, who may have a financial interest, no less, in the very hospice where Terri was killed; then I expect a lot of finger pointing ahead. (And, one of the loonier things I read said greer's "conservative." That's the new word, in use, to remove some of the luster from the republican party;

While the democrats eschew the word "liberal," and they's suddenly become progressives. Really? Shouldn't it be "regressives?"

And, what's going on in Canada? What's happening in france to their EU constitution? How come Blair is calling for new elections? You think the MSM is suicidal now? Or are all stops going to be pulled?

I remember watching Bush prepare for the attack on Iraq. And, I thought it took him "forever." But it turns out he has patience.

Now, when I look, I look for that, too.

He really waits. And, he doesn't lose by waiting.

Let's see what the medical examiner does. And, then, what kind of reception his report gets. TANG ANYONE?

(21) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 2:23:06 AM | Permalink

Sorry Beldar, but Cornyn stepped in this one all by his own stupid self.

The very attempt to link the violence against judges to Republican theories of judicial 'activists' was idiotarianism in its purest form.

His attempt to exploit the deaths of judges for crass political rhetoric was immoral and disgusting.

No different than Jerry Falwell saying that the abortionists brought 911 on us.


The man and that thug DeLay are disgraces to the nation.

(22) Jonathan Sadow made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 3:57:53 AM | Permalink

After reading through Cornyn's statements and Beldar's analyses of them, it's clear that Beldar's argument carries the day (Geek, Esq.'s and others' assertions without proof nonwithstanding).

Prof. Althouse's final comments about sound bites does raise a minor point, however. By any reasonable reading of Cornyn's comments, he by no means makes those horrible assertions that his accusers thinks he makes. Let's keep in mind, though, that not everyone is being reasonable about this. There are certain people (many of whom seem to inhabit the MSM and the upper echelons of the Democrat Party) who frankly aren't interested in being fair-minded about this issue; they want to destroy people like Cornyn politically, and they'll use any means possible. Beldar bemoans the fact that politicians have to vet their speeches to remove statements that could lead to even the slightest misinterpretation, but that is an unfortunate fact of political life, especially for conservatives.

As to the bloggers who prompted Beldar's initial comments, my guess is that deep down they see your point but out of pride aren't backing down. Never underestimate the impulse to save face, especially if one is very popular.

As an aside, it should be noted that Prof. Reynolds long has held libertarian beliefs, so it's no surprise he doesn't toe the conservative line on all issues. Given the typical libertarian's bleak outlook on human life, Reynolds not raising any objections to Terri Schiavo's feeding tube being pulled is not unexpected.

(23) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 10:51:52 AM | Permalink

Campaign mode. 100% of the time. I'd think that once elected to office, the mud slinging (from the opposition) would stop? Where's the benefit? All politicians know that campaigns, like boxing matches, are brutal.

And, for those that don't know it, Senator Cornyn is not advocating death to judges.

By the way, Texas, like Arizona, are convinced the border police aren't up to the task of stopping illegal immigration. And, there's now a group of American militia-men in the field. Helping.

This, by the way, is a hot button issue, politically. And, most Americans aren't throwing stones. Or otherwise rebelling in court houses.

The judge who lost her husband and mother to a lone freak who had appeared before her, however; shows that she wasn't alert to the insanity while she sat on the bench. (To the point the crime was being blamed on others.) Turns out sad cases happen, like traffic accidents, all of the time.

AND, there's a very decent retired lawyer in Brookyn, New York; who addressed one liberal judge, known for freeing the criminals who came through his courtroom. Way back in the 1960's. Know how this stopped? His daughter was brutally raped. By coincidence.

Geez, how fast a liberal can turn conservative. Like water changing colors as soon as you dip a good teabag inside.

The judges I've seen in Los Angeles, males and females, alike, are weirder than the usual assortment of stuff you see among celebrities. Why? Friendships of the misbegotten, I think. Deal with it.

(24) John Ellis made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 11:08:35 AM | Permalink

A major quality we expect from present and former judges, and senators, is judiciousness. Whatever the apologists for Cornyn say, and there is a lot of casuistry in their defence, his comments coming on top of the veiled threats from DeLay and others were hardly judicious!

(25) Toby Petzold made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 12:17:49 PM | Permalink

Sorry, Beldar, but you and Senator Cornyn are wrong on this. He made an invalid connection between the violence in Atlanta and Chicago and the ideological discontent with the judiciary over things like the Schiavo matter. It was a foolish observation, mitigated only by his quick revision today. It was not mitigated by the context in which he said it.

I know and like John Cornyn personally, so I was especially disappointed in his intellectually deficient ---if not dishonest--- remarks.

(26) halle made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 1:07:21 PM | Permalink

I've been a lawyer for over over a decade. I've read Beldar's defense, Cornyn's speech and the rest of this debate, and sorry, Cornyn stepped over the line by arguing that attacks on judges are justified. It doesn't matter how many times you surround that with disclaimers that you didn't really mean it. That quote is giving cover to judge-killers. It's terrible coming from a former judge who should know better. Of course, coming from a George Wallace supporter, I suppose its par for the course to attack the judiciary (since the judiciary upheld the civil rights decisions opposed and attacked by Wallace as "activist").

And I'm not surprised that Carol Herman claims to have seen a lot of judges in her day -- craziness like that can land you in front of a lot of judges.

(27) Toby Petzold made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 1:43:36 PM | Permalink


Cornyn stepped over the line by arguing that attacks on judges are justified.

That isn't what happened. He just made an ignorant comparison between two unrelated things. And you can tell he knew he shouldn't have been doing it by the excessively rhetorical, wondering-aloud quality of his remarks.

(28) Michael Hellman made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 2:13:37 PM | Permalink

Cornyn's only real mistake was in even responding to his critics, all of whom are liberal democrats who didnt vote for him anyway. There's no reason to dignify such frothing attacks with a response.

All these attacks agaisnt Cornyn, Delay, etc., are all much ado about nothing. They're also sure to backfire. To the extant Texans are even aware of the crap flinging, do you think they'll take kindly to ethics lecturing from the Washington Post and the New York Times? Or will they rally round their man and vote him in anyway? Quite obvioulsy the latter. And that's assuming they hear about it now, or remember it in 2 years.

(29) Michael Hellman made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 2:14:09 PM | Permalink

Cornyn's only real mistake was in even responding to his critics, all of whom are liberal democrats who didnt vote for him anyway. There's no reason to dignify such frothing attacks with a response.

All these attacks agaisnt Cornyn, Delay, etc., are all much ado about nothing. They're also sure to backfire. To the extant Texans are even aware of the crap flinging, do you think they'll take kindly to ethics lecturing from the Washington Post and the New York Times? Or will they rally round their man and vote him in anyway? Quite obvioulsy the latter. And that's assuming they hear about it now, or remember it in 2 years.

(30) Bud Norton made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 2:21:35 PM | Permalink

I'm a conservative Republican, and an attorney frustrated with the judiciary's arrogation of legislative decisions to itself, but I'd also have to say Cornyn stepped over the line. His remarks remind me of Bill Clinton's boneheaded comment suggesting that the Oklahoma City bombing might have been a result of or at least encouraged by right-wing talk radio. Both men were trying to exploit a tragedy to create a backlash against a viewpoint they disliked that was not even tenuously related to the tragedy. Tasteless and dumb.

(31) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 4:28:47 PM | Permalink

Halle, your remarks are defensive and disgusting.

I've been to traffic court. And, I didn't blame the judge at all (there). Just the system. Where I saw the hanky panky. If you get a ticket on any of LA's highways; the stakes are good that if you take the ticket to court, the sheriffs don't send the officers. So you get away with it. (That's the game.)

I also accompanied a friend, who was in round #3 of defending her alimony. And, I saw what I saw. She has a wonderful attorney. But he's very busy. So he had a number of clients that day. And, a fruit cake of a female judge who just played games. So we waited all day long for this particular case to be heard. We got there before 7:00 am. My friend didn't want to deal with traffic into LA. We got to see lots of stuff. (Including Gloria Allred in a ponytail. As she doesn't dress for the cameras at all. Just a regular workday. Seeing her clients in the "lawyer's room.")

That LA has a strange system? Yup. Lottery. So a good lawyer watches the line as he comes up to get his papers stamped.

LA's UNcivil court is a real nuthouse. And, I'm not the nut. Just quite outspoken. Where most people just get cowed into silence.

By the way, you're allowed to walk into courtrooms, when you're just a member of the public. And, it's worth walking in. Rather than waiting in the hallway. MOUTH DROPPING OPEN TIME if you saw and heard what I did!

And, yes, many a judge seems to have it in for some of the lawyers. (Does this increase donations into campaign funds? Dunno. But I am suspicious.)

My girl friend, after a very tense day, came out okay. As I said, she has a terrific lawyer. But he had a lousy day.

Just like at hospitals, you can learn a lot when your stuck in the ER for a long period of time.

As to Halle's nastiness I think it just makes my case that much stronger.

Do you know what judges do? They use databases to call out case numbers. But I wasn't impressed.

I also READ Cornyn's own defense. Marvelous man.

As is DeLay.

Dr. Frist, too. Just because he gave a sound byte to the TV doesn't mean you can read his cards. And, know that there's a lot of work ahead to clean out the affirmative action garbage that got seated on many a bench. Including the DC Supremes.

What I think has faded away was the "cold war" tactics; not just in diplomacy; but in how some judges advanced to sit in top Federal slots. And, State slots.

You bet, if you hear that the appointment was done by Grey Davis, you can be sure it was totally political. And, don't fall over backwards at being surprised the "sitter" is a dud. It was all done on purpose.

The other link in the weak chain is that the really great lawyers earn lots more money than the usual garbage that lines the bench. And, here, too, there are monumental jealousies. Or "odd" friendships.

Someday, someone will explain to all how a crazy man, like felos, can literally take over a county like Pinellas. It's not just Florida. It's bent into the system.

Why? And, why do communists seem to have the worst personnel in the world? I just don't see star quality anywhere I look when I look at the run of the mill socialists, either. Could it be those systems just don't attract the best? Hmm?

(32) Neo made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 11:17:44 PM | Permalink

I've come to notice that while many are quick to offer an off-the-cuff opinion, very few actually ever read the whole thing.

My personal best example of this is the "draft bill" in the last Congress. (You can check this still in thomas.loc.gov) HR-163 appeared to use the word "reverse" (as in going backward) in place of the word "reserve" (as in available for future use) in four places while the Senate "twin" S.89 did not have this error. Had both passed their respective bodies, there still would have been no draft.

With all the keystrokes devoted to this topic, apparently nobody decided to actually read the voluminous 3 (three) pages of the bill. This seems to include it's sponsors. I doubt that Rep Rangel really wanted a "reverse component" of the military; it sounds so French.

In the case of Sen. Cornyn, the same devotion to running at the mouth preceded any attempt to actually read the actual contents of the Senator's speech. It seems that when partisan advantage is at hand, the facts often just get in the way.

(33) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 6, 2005 11:49:21 PM | Permalink

No-o-o-o. Not only is it worth reading Beldar. And, Cornyn's stuff. But seeing that Cornyn's full interview also appeared on the Net, you can get a much better picture of the man. He said what should be obvious on its face.

Over the years the judiciary's respect levels have deteriorated. The general public has about thrown up its hands.

And, now just to give this a comic turn, the republican senator Mel Martinez did not know he took a folded paper from his pocket and handed it to the democrat, senator Harkin; even though this is the memo that flew through the MSM, saying the republicans were only interested in winning brownie points on the Shiavo case.

And, the truth seems to be that the politicians in Washington would like this subject to just go away.

Ditto, the judiciary. And, Beldar.

With the Pope's death its really hard to tell what's next.

Except that politicians look flat-footed.

Anyway, the People wait.

Cornyn is a mensh.

And, I'm sure that old Nixon adage still remains true. It' doesn't matter what they say about you. As long as they spell your name correctly.

Part of a politician's day job, it should be noted, is to get up every morning. Meet and greet strangers. And, ask for money.

It's actually an odd and horrible job. Yet, all the successful politicians do it. (And, yes, they pay homage to the MSM.)

Maybe, that's why there are such gaps between the way the average guy in the street feels about what's happening. And, the way the "big shots" manage to steer their boats towards the whiring cameras.

From Shiavo's fate to Cornyn's comments, there seemed to be a good reality check in place. But sure. Lawyers. Judges. And, Congressional officials aren't thrilled. Where's their advantage? They're going to fix things? No wonder Nixon called in his plumbers. (That's a joke, folks.)

(34) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 7, 2005 9:50:46 AM | Permalink

All this discussion, and no one mentions that from Steve Den Beste, to Glenn Reynolds, you've shifted over to the true Libertarians. And, their frustrations over not being able to influence GWB's White House all that much?


You just don't know how irrational Libertarians are, I guess? But they don't get their candidates into office.

They gloam on. (Or as RReagan once said when an MSM type asked him if he now bought into the religious right's message; his reply was, "no, they bought into mine. And, I'm grateful for their support.)

Libertarians freak out at all signs of religion. Let alone by faithful people who actually practice.

I think LIbertarians are fruitcake lawyers, and their camp followers. IMHO.

(35) Robin Roberts made the following comment | Apr 8, 2005 3:15:00 PM | Permalink

I'm astonished by purportedly intelligent people claiming to have read Cornyn's actual speech and still claiming he "went over" some mythical line.

It just didn't happen. Those who read his speech and continue to say so, are not actually reading the rhetoric in the speech in fact but are reacting to the overblown rhetoric about the speech.

(36) Noel made the following comment | Apr 9, 2005 10:27:47 PM | Permalink

Only those who wish to play gotcha could make "violence is never justified" into a justification for violence. It's called "lying".

Anyone who kills a judge should be executed--even those judges who are operating in seditious contempt for the Constitution, of which there are many. The answer is to pick better judges, impeach others and elect people with backbone and integrity...people such as Sen. Cornyn, who should be our next president.

Excellent work, Beldar.

(37) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Apr 10, 2005 2:38:21 AM | Permalink

Cornyn's defenders are IGNORING several key points:

1. Cornyn's thesis is a complete lie. There is NO link between the courthouse violence and concern about activist judges. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that.

2. Which means that either Cornyn doesn't have two brain cells together, or that he knowingly made a false connection between the two in a political speech.

3. Cornyn agrees with the people he would expect to be assassinating federal judges. He just disagrees with the choice of tactics.

4. Cornyn himself is part of the effort to whip up this idiotic outrage over activist judges stemming from the Schiavo case. And, to be frank, any lawyer who thinks that the rulings in the Schiavo case were due to judicial activism ought to be disbarred.

5. Cornyn's base includes these Dominionist Fascists:


" Not to be outdone, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.

The full Stalin quote, for those who don't recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."

6. Summary: You have a US Senator falsely suggesting that federal judges may have brought this violence upon themselves, because they provoked outrage that he himself shares.

Open your eyes, folks.

(38) harmon made the following comment | Apr 10, 2005 1:31:24 PM | Permalink

Geek, Esq. wrote:

"1. Cornyn's thesis is a complete lie. There is NO link between the courthouse violence and concern about activist judges. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that."

Senator Cornyn said:

"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection..."

So...Geek somehow *knows* - without further consideration - that there's no cause & effect link, while Cornyn admits he does not know but wonders if maybe there is, implying that it might be worth taking a closer look.

Well, the first thing I have to say is that it seems pretty obvious that when any institution loses the respect of a significant number of people but continues to exercise what appears to be unresponsive authority over their lives, it loses peoples' respect, & that with that lost respect goes the loss of psychological barriers against using violence against the institution.

Makes sense to me - it's what the American revolution was all about. And there really can't be any argument that the federal judiciary has lost a lot of respect, beginning with the Supreme Court's essentially political decision in Roe v. Wade.

But here's another angle that struck me: this dustup reminds me of what happened at Harvard with Larry Summers: a commonsense speculation is taken out of context, and the MSM, rather than going to the source & reporting accurately what was actually said, simply jumps on the partisan bandwagon.

Silver lining here might be that our next president could be a senator from Texas. I'm certainly going to pay more attention to him.

(39) VA Jim made the following comment | Apr 10, 2005 11:38:23 PM | Permalink

Geek Esq writes: Cornyn's thesis is a complete lie.

Cornyn's 'thesis' is that the judiciary is making policy --bad enough by itself-- based on international opinion. Ruth Bader Ginsburg's comments reinforce that 'thesis'. That she lambasts Congress for objecting to that is further evidence she's operating outside the Constitution.

"I believe the increasing politicization of the judicial decisionmaking process at the highest levels of our judiciary has bred a lack of respect for some of the people who wear the robe. That is a national tragedy." -Cornyn

Is Geek trying to claim that judges are getting more respect today than in the past? Not! So what does decreased suport mean?

"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 to the point where some people engage in violence, certainly without any justification, but that is a concern I have that I wanted to share." -Cornyn

Coming from Geek Esq's "Bush=Hitler" crowd, criticising Cornyn, or anyone, for speculating on common-sense is hypocrytical beyond belief.

Geek Esq writes: " Cornyn himself is part of the effort to whip up this idiotic outrage over activist judges stemming from the Schiavo case."

Cornyn cites Roper v. Simmons (death penalty struck for under 18 defendants because of international opinions); Penry V. Lynaugh reversed in Atkins v. Virginia (striking death penalty for low IQ defendants due to international disapproval); Bowers v. Hardwick reversed in Lawrence v. Texas (striking sodomy stautues due to international disapproval); and Breard v. Green and the upcoming Medellin v. Dretke (defendants' affirmation of civil rights).

It appears that Schiavo isn't a concern, the case isn't even mentioned. It didn't slow down Geek Esq in whipping up a strawman though.

Coming from Geek Esq's crowd that beat up people in the last Florida election, the crowd that equates our elected President to last century's worst despot, the crowd that hopes more American soldiers die so that leftist politics will get a boost; this is all just too precious.

(40) Carol_Herman made the following comment | Apr 11, 2005 12:12:09 AM | Permalink

Terri's killing is just the tip of the iceberg. People die. And, very few in the country know anything about the "industry of death" ... How the funeral industry survives by pouring money into the political till.

How many people looked at the Pope, for instance, and wondered how the shoes worked at keeping his feet in place?

Awhile ago, Evlyn Waugh wrote The Loved One; followed a bit later by Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death. But most people aren't aware of just how money changes hands at the end of one person's life;

What is known is that people don't die in their hospital beds, anymore. Terminal patients are sent to hospices. But who knew about the withholding of all food? Who knew of dehydration? Weren't we told that people, in their terminal stages of illness, if conscious, reject food? (Yes, we were told that the Pope, very ill at the end of his life, had lost 42 pounds, but no one thought starvation was an end of life tactic that a judge decreed! Or physicians decreed.)

Yet, England has a breaking story of 11 patients who died when foods were withheld. From conscious people! Reaching to food served to others!

And, what's that? People don't want to know? I agree.

As to probate courts, well? Do they move a lot of money around? Do they take years to process estates? (As far as the average person is concerned, it takes about two years. And, lots of people die without preparing wills. Let alone, Living Trusts.)

Do people fight over money? Yup.

Inheritance? Yup.

Is Congress shy, now, about investigating anything? Yup.

And, if it wasn't for the Internet who'd even be discussing this stuff?

Shiavo is just the tip of the iceberg.

As to "oversight" from Congress, just how do they do this? When they get money from the death industry. And, Medicare/Medicaid pay hospices to hold patients like Terry for more than a dozen years? When do headlines cure problems?

Not that they aren't out there.

As to the political rhetoric about Cornyn, how come no one noticed that th violence done to that judge, where her mother and husband was killed; no one mentions that the accusation went out against a jailed right winger, who was accused of ordering this from his jail cell.

Only after a cop stopped the real perp; and the driver killed himself at that stop, did it come out the woman judge, herself, had seen this man in her courtoom. And, he was angry at her ruling in his case.

Imagine her surprise when she found out the truth? Some people are just locked into blaming jailed targets. When the truth is as obvious as the nose on your face.

Why don't judges notice the profiles of those who come before them when they're on the bench? All day long they just watch people cry? So? Well, in the case that Cornyn didn't show "appropriate regard for," I'm guessing no one wants to admit that court decisions, themselves, don't unhinge the loose nuts?

By the way, I don't think the current Congress will touch the judiciary, by examining what's going on over there, with a ten foot pole.

(41) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Apr 11, 2005 12:59:34 AM | Permalink

1. It is a matter of undisputed fact that none of the incidents of violence directed at judges had anything to do with right wing complaints of judicial activism.

No connection at all. None. It was not a motive in any of the cases.

Anyone who disagrees is ignorant or a liar.

2. Cornyn either knew this and made up this phony hypothesis, or is pig ignorant of the facts.

3. As to future events, what Cornyn and several posters are saying is "people who share my opinion on the role of the judiciary may commit acts of terrorism and treason because federal judges are too activist."

Imagine if Ibrahim Hooper or some other wanker from CAIR said that "Federal courts have been so negligent in protecting the basic human rights of Muslim detainees that some Muslims might feel compelled to bomb courthouses."

I highly doubt that a single rightwinger would defend such remarks.

4. I didn't compare Bush to Hitler--nice try on the little white lie.

But, the right-wing Dominionists have the mentality of totalitarian fascists. They're quoting JOSEF STALIN and approving of his approach.

5. Good rule of thumb: Anyone who approvingly quotes JOSEF STALIN is pond scum and has zero credibility on the issue of democracy and the proper role of government.

(42) Carol Herman made the following comment | Apr 11, 2005 12:01:18 PM | Permalink

Cornyn is one of the few terrific senators around.

Where most of COngress is just a wasteland.

(43) Bostonian made the following comment | Apr 12, 2005 8:23:57 AM | Permalink

In the case of violence against judges, Coryn made an observation (there has been increased violence against judges).

I guess that's not allowed.

In the New Order, one does not observe unpleasant facts.

Then he committed the worse sin of trying to figure out a cause!

Of course, if he'd suggested the root cause was class warfare or corporate greed, he would be a hero.

(44) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Apr 17, 2005 2:30:19 AM | Permalink

No, Bostonian, he LIED about a potential cause. What he said is like saying that maybe voting Republican can cause someone to get cancer.

His theory was false, and he either knew it or is a complete nincompoop.

There is no other alternative.

By the way, for those who don't think the theocrats Christofascists aren't looking to shred the constitution, I have two words for you:

Bill freaking Frist.

As in the man who's accusing Senators who oppose him on judicial filibusters of hating baby Jesus.

(45) Bostonian made the following comment | Apr 22, 2005 7:10:49 PM | Permalink

Geek, Esq.
You think it's completely, absolutely impossible to think that there is any connection between increased frustration with judges' rulings and violence against judges?

That's your opinion. My opinion is that there could be a connection. Calling my opinion "false" is not exactly an argument anyway.

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