The fire-breathing Republican rage against judges was finally on the wane. The Terri Schiavo controversy faded from view, several high-profile Republicans started distancing themselves from over-heated rhetoric, and one almost had the impression that cooler heads would once again prevail.
But The Hammer had other ideas. Not satisfied with the current level of anti-judiciary animosity, Tom DeLay has decided to kick things up a notch and generate a new level of anger with courts that occasionally disagree with him.
Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, escalated his talk of a battle between the legislative and judicial branches of government on Thursday, saying federal courts had run amok, in large part because of the failure of Congress to confront them.
Judicial independence does not equal judicial supremacy, Mr. DeLay said in a videotaped speech delivered to a conservative conference in Washington entitled Confronting the Judicial War on Faith.
Mr. DeLay faulted courts for what he said was their invention of rights to abortion and prohibitions on school prayer, saying courts had ignored the intent of Congress and improperly cited international standards and precedents. These are not examples of a mature society, he said, but of a judiciary run amok.
The failure is to a great degree Congresss, Mr. DeLay said. The response of the legislative branch has mostly been to complain. There is another way, ladies and gentlemen, and that is to reassert our constitutional authority over the courts.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), for example, appeared in DeLays place at the right-wing conference yesterday. Smith, whom DeLay put on the House Ethics Committee to help shield him from accountability, parroted the DeLay line.
Judges continue to substitute their own political views for the law, and we must push back, Smith said. Asked whether he would take steps to retaliate against judges in the Schiavo case, Smith said: I would certainly be a part of any effort that Tom DeLay was. If thats the direction that the leaders want to go, I would be happy to go that direction as well.
Its not just the House thats been infected with such lunacy.
I am in favor of impeachment, Michael Schwartz, chief of staff to Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, said in a panel discussion on abortion, suggesting mass impeachment might be needed.
The inflammatory language from GOP lawmakers against the federal judiciary made a right turn at irresponsible-town and is coming up on looneyville. The one Republican who hasnt said much on the subject George W. Bush could help bring some of his allies on the Hill back from the brink. Any chance hell show a little leadership here?
I usually don't put as much up on a particular post, but Steve does an incredible job. Please read his whole article. There will be no slowing down on this subject from Delay and Friends.