April 04, 2005
They're asking for it

Via Josh Marshall, the following words were spoken on the floor of the Senate by the junior Senator from Texas, 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.

Please, Senator Cornyn, explain to me what unaccountable political decisions Joan Lefkow and Rowland Barnes made which brought on the violence against them and their families. While you're at it, please explain to me if you think they deserved it.

You are a disgrace, John Cornyn. I cannot express my contempt strongly enough.

UPDATE: Supreme Irony has a statement by Rep. John Conyers in response. AmericaBlog has Cornyn's full (and fully deplorable) remarks.

UPDATE: Here's the (rather tepid, if you ask me) Chron coverage, via Greg.

UPDATE: From the Washington Post:

In a recent New York Times article, John Kane, a senior judge in the U.S. District Court for Colorado, wrote: "Since 1970, 10 state and federal judges have been murdered, seven of them in job-related incidents. Those who threaten judges are almost always disturbed individuals seeking revenge. . . . Of the three federal judges killed in the last quarter-century, all were killed by men disgruntled with their treatment from the federal judicial system."

Please explain to me how these judges should have ruled, John Cornyn.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 04, 2005 to National news | TrackBack

Awfully nice judiciary you have there. Be a shame if something...happened to it.

Posted by: Pete on April 4, 2005 10:33 PM

The Texas GOP: Rapists are people, too!

The Texas GOP: Does this white hood make my ass look fat?

Cornyn and DeLay both need to be bird-dogged on their comments throughout this year and definitely into next year.

I'd run split screen ads of Cornyn and Matthew Hale on TV and take out full page ads in the Houston Chronicle asking Tom DeLay if he's apologized to Judge Lefkow and the families of the people killed in the Atlanta courtroom.

Posted by: Patrick on April 5, 2005 4:34 AM

I've long thought that Cornyn was as much of a right wing nut as DeLay, but now he's gone and proved it. This is not going to go away...at the very least, the Senate should censure Cornyn for what many are calling an act of domestic terrorism.

Posted by: Dennis on April 5, 2005 5:46 AM

He was talking about the Terri Schiavo case.

Posted by: Peggy on April 5, 2005 9:53 AM

He was talking about the Terri Schiavo case.

and that's relevant... how? Does that somehow justify Cornyn's attempt to rationalize this violence?

The violence against the judiciary should be condemned. Period.

Posted by: CrispyShot on April 5, 2005 10:34 AM

Peggy, your logic is strained, to say the least.

If he was talking about Schiavo, prospectively, rather than, for example, the recent judicial murders that were clearly not politically motivated, but for vengeance that raises a question you don't want to answer.

Does Senator Cornyn know about a plan to kill Judge Greer? Or was he just making a speculative threat?

Posted by: Boadicea on April 5, 2005 1:20 PM

Kuff, if Coryny was suggesting or implying that in response to a judiciary they perceive to be running amok, folks should resort to violence, I'd be outraged too.

But that's not what Cornyn said. Nor do I think it a fair implication from what he said. Nor would it be consistent with Cornyn's past.

My own take is here, but I hope you'll add a link in your post to the full text of Sen. Cornyn's speech, which the WaPo dowdified pretty badly. (Your link above doesn't quote the full speech, and leaves out some pretty important parts.) And I hope you'll read it. I'm sure there is much there with which you'll disagree. But what isn't there — what cannot be implied to be there except through wild leaps of fancy inconsistent with the actual words — is some sort of call for mob action against judges.

Posted by: Beldar on April 5, 2005 4:40 PM

Cornyn thinks the judges are at fault and deserved to be assasinated. Did it ever occur to him that the assault weapons ban he fought to kill puts AK47 in the hands of these psychos? what an ass

Posted by: paul d on April 5, 2005 10:55 PM

Beldar, in context, the statements actually worse, because it comes immediately after Cornyn's accusation of the Supreme Court of politicization.

To wit:

…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?

The he makes the statement in the video clip.

It was irresponsible, and I think it was also intentional, no matter how he's trying to back off it now.

Posted by: Boadicea on April 6, 2005 9:26 AM

Air America has coined a term for people like Frist, Cornyn, DeLay and nutcases like Randall Terry--the "Christo Fascist Zombie Brigade." The name fits--they're not acting like Christians, and it's THEIR will, not God's, that they want the rest of us to follow.

Northern Ireland has a group like that, the original Christo Fascist Zombie Brigade--the Loyalists.

Remember the siege at Holy Cross Primary School? Oh, that's right--silly me. Nobody in the U.S. knows about that. Our media only covers alleged IRA activity, not ongoing loyalist violence against Catholics in Northern Ireland. Anyway, in late summer/fall 2001, loyalist goons spit at the elementary school girls walking to their school, threw urine-filled balloons at them; they threw bottles and bricks at the girls, and threatented to bomb the school (see Front Line Defenders for more information.)

What causes people to act like that? Incendiary rhetoric from politicians, of course, fanning the flames of hatred. In Ireland, such rhetoric from loyalists has lead to the murder of human rights lawyers Rosemary Nelson and Pat Finucane. What's next for our country if the right-wing "zombie brigade" is not stopped in its tracks?

My article at Daily Kos has the latest from Northern Ireland--anti-Pope graffiti and "party tunes" played while Catholics mourn the Pope's passing. Lovely people, those loyalists. Let's hope we can stop our "zombie brigade" before things get any worse.

Posted by: LC on April 7, 2005 9:08 PM