Cornyn is, of course, hoping that no one will remember his famous quote during the Terri Schiavo controversy, where he suggested a direct link between violence against the judiciary and the actions of "activist" judges.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the passage an important step to protect judges, courthouse personnel and their families against increased threats of violence.
Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, which was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on April 19. “Our democracy depends on our ability to attract and protect dedicated public servants to administer justice. This vital role comes with serious security risks that place judges and their families in harm’s way,” Cornyn said in an announcement late Wednesday.
I'm sure Cornyn had only the best interests of the judiciary in mind when he tried to warn them of their errant ways. He's certainly not responsible for how some right-wing nut job interprets any of it, right? Joan Humphrey Lefkow, the judge who lost her husband and mother in a double murder that served as the incentive for the security bill in the first place, might disagree. In a hearing designed "to address the possible threat that irresponsible, anti-judiciary rhetoric can pose to the safety of judges, their families, and judicial independence", Lefkow stated:
…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 finally, I-- 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. Certainly without any justification but a concern that I have that I wanted to share.
Fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge, or on the fringe, to exact revenge on a judge who displeases them."Fortunately, the pandering politicians who fanned those flames are mostly gone: Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, Bill Frist. Here's hoping our junior senator is not far behind.