[eDebate] sandra day o'connor -- edging toward DICTATORSHIP

Jake Stromboli infracaninophile
Tue Jun 6 13:54:01 CDT 2006

her speech was addressed to lawyers but might as well be dabaiters.  you 
could see the DICTATORSHIP rhetoric in the wedge distraction conference 
yesterday when pussy boy kept referring to overreaching judges thwarting the 
will of the people:


Former top judge says US risks edging near to dictatorship

? Sandra Day O'Connor warns of rightwing attacks
? Lawyers 'must speak up' to protect judiciary

Julian Borger in Washington
Monday March 13, 2006
The Guardian

The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and 
clarifications column, Monday March 20 2006

In the article below, we referred to a US court decision to order Terri 
Schiavo to be removed from life support, describing her in our account as 
"brain dead". Relatives of Terri Schiavo point out that although she was 
severely brain damaged there was no diagnosis of "brain dead" and neither 
was that the conclusion of the post-mortem examination.

Sandra Day O'Connor, a Republican-appointed judge who retired last month 
after 24 years on the supreme court, has said the US is in danger of edging 
towards dictatorship if the party's rightwingers continue to attack the 

In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University, reported by National 
Public Radio and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Ms O'Connor took aim at 
Republican leaders whose repeated denunciations of the courts for alleged 
liberal bias could, she said, be contributing to a climate of violence 
against judges.

Ms O'Connor, nominated by Ronald Reagan as the first woman supreme court 
justice, declared: "We must be ever-vigilant against those who would 
strong-arm the judiciary."

She pointed to autocracies in the developing world and former Communist 
countries as lessons on where interference with the judiciary might lead. 
"It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, 
but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

In her address to an audience of corporate lawyers on Thursday, Ms O'Connor 
singled out a warning to the judiciary issued last year by Tom DeLay, the 
former Republican leader in the House of Representatives, over a court 
ruling in a controversial "right to die" case.

After the decision last March that ordered a brain-dead woman in Florida, 
Terri Schiavo, removed from life support, Mr DeLay said: "The time will come 
for the men responsible for this to answer for their behaviour."

Mr DeLay later called for the impeachment of judges involved in the Schiavo 
case, and called for more scrutiny of "an arrogant, out-of-control, 
unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the 

Such threats, Ms O'Connor said, "pose a direct threat to our constitutional 
freedom", and she told the lawyers in her audience: "I want you to tune your 
ears to these attacks ... You have an obligation to speak up.

"Statutes and constitutions do not protect judicial independence - people 
do," the retired supreme court justice said.

She noted death threats against judges were on the rise and added that the 
situation was not helped by a senior senator's suggestion that there might 
be a connection between the violence against judges and the decisions they 

The senator she was referring to was John Cornyn, a Bush loyalist from 
Texas, who made his remarks last April, soon after a judge was shot dead in 
an Atlanta courtroom and the family of a federal judge was murdered in 

Senator Cornyn said: "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 ... 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 to the point where some people engage in violence."

Although appointed by a Republican, Ms O'Connor voted with the supreme 
court's liberals on some divisive issues, including abortion, making her a 
frequent target for criticism from the right. After announcing that she 
intended to retire last year at the age of 75, she was replaced in February 
this year by Samuel Alito, who is generally regarded as being more 
consistently conservative.

In her speech, Ms O'Connor said that if the courts did not occasionally make 
politicians mad they would not be doing their jobs, and their effectiveness 
"is premised on the notion that we won't be subject to retaliation for our 
judicial acts".

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