Sunday, March 12, 2006

O'Connor Calls U.S. a Dictatorship- Too Little Too Late?

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has BLASTED the Republicans for their partisan attacks on the courts. She stated (paraphrase) that partisan attacks on the courts for political purposes must stop. She included references to cutting a court's budget, intimidation, and poisioning the public against the judicial system. Wow! Then she said something off the charts...

She closed by saying (paraphrase) that it takes a long time to become a dictatorship but better to stop the slide at the beginning than the end. That's Right..Sandra Day O'Connor used the word dictatorship. Not some 'nutty blogger' or some left winger but the most venerated, praised, widely respected, Justice O'Connor.
Listen here:

I've transcribed the NPR audio ...and here are excerpts. Reporting is Nina Totenberg, NPR legal affairs correspondent, who attended the speech. ...O'Connor said attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms... Our effectiveness," she said, "is premised on the notion that we won't be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts." The nation's founders wrote repeatedly, she said, that without an independent judiciary to protect individual rights from the other branches of government, those rights and privileges would amount to nothing. And then she took aim at former GOP House leader Tom Delay. She didn't name him, but she quoted his attacks on the courts at a meeting of the conservative Christian group Justice Sunday last year, when Delay took out after the courts for rulings on abortion, prayer and the Terri Shiavo case... Then she nailed Cornyn: It gets worse, she said, noting that death threats against judges are increasing. It doesn't help, she said, when a high-profile senator suggests that there may be a connection between violence against judges and decisions that the senator disagrees with. Re recent suggestions for "so-called" judicial reforms, judicial budget cuts, etc., -- "I," said O'Connor, "am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning." ..."We must be ever vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship," she said, "but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings." The truth doesn't hurt unless it should.

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