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