Saturday, May 20, 2006

That Darned Scalia

It's got to be a cold day in hell when Antonin Scalia snaps and feels a need to tell congressional Republicans to screw off. Repubs have adopted some notion that they need to tell the Supreme Court what to do as regards the potential for citing foreign or international law by the Court. Scalia finally blew a gasket:
It's none of your business," he said, referring to Congress. "No one is more opposed to the use of foreign law than I am, but I'm darned if I think it's up to Congress to direct the court how to make its decisions.
Tom Feeney (R-Fa) remains unfazed by Scalia's admonition, though, and insists that Congress needs to reign in a Supreme Court that clearly won't do his mean-spirited bidding, at least not all the time.

Back in 2004, yes, the previous election year, Feeney introduced legislation that would
advise the courts that it is improper for them to substitute foreign law for American law or the American Constitution.
Of course, substituting foreign law for American law is assuredly not what SCOTUS justices were doing and Feeney completely misrepresents the issue; he is a congressman, after all. His bill threatened the Supremes with impeachment if they didn't respond to his legislative knuckle-rap. Feeney was especially chagrined when, in March of 2005, the big bench opined that juveniles could not be executed and had used some citations of foreign law to support the decision. Now that the 2006 election is in the offing, Feeney, who apparently never met a juvenile offender he didn't want to execute, is back on the legislative war path and leading the Republican assault on "activist" judges.

One result of mouths like Feeney's snapping about judges who fail to render decisions that meet with his approval, has been increased death threats against not just high court justices but lower court judges as well. Both Ginsburg and O'Connor, who has since retired, related that they had been receiving death threats from an "irrational fringe" as a direct result of the Republican-led criticism, specifically Feeney's haranguing:
Okay commandoes, here is your first patriotic assignment ... an easy one. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor have publicly stated that they use (foreign) laws and rulings to decide how to rule on American cases. This is a huge threat to our Republic and Constitutional freedom. ... If you are what you say you are, and NOT armchair patriots, then those two justices will not live another week.
So, while lefties are routinely labeled as "angry" because they say mean things, assassination remains the preferred tool of right wing extremists everywhere.

After this sort of mad behaviour, one wonders whether the right wingers will now feel some need to punish Scalia. Scalia's outspoken opinion about meddling Republicans -- and you have to know he is speaking about Feeney -- will surely throw them into a tizzy. He's their favoured man on the Court and as right wing as judges get. But with Scalia being as friendly as he is with Cheney, I suspect that even judge-threatening crazies aren't going to risk the wrath of the big Dick.


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