March 13, 2006

O'Connor, DeLay, Schiavo--and the Spectre of Dictatorship!

NPR reported earlier this week that retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in a talk at Georgetown, blasted GOP leader Tom DeLay for anti-judiciary comments made during the Schiavo case. DeLay had said he would consider bringing impeachment proceedings against the judges involved in the case, and had added: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior...."

According to NPR's Nina Totenberg: "[O'Connor] didn't name [DeLay], but she quoted his attacks on the courts at a meeting of the conservative Christian group Justice Sunday last year when DeLay took out after the courts for rulings on abortions, prayer and the Terri Schiavo case. This, said O'Connor, was after the federal courts had applied Congress' onetime only statute about Schiavo as it was written. Not, said O'Connor, as the congressman might have wished it were written. The response to this flagrant display of judicial restraint, said O'Connor, her voice dripping with sarcasm, was that the congressman blasted the courts...

"I, said O'Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O'Connor said we must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings." What is described as a "rush transcript" of Totenberg's radio report is at Raw Story, here.
- Stephen Latham

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