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Supreme Court Justice Says He's Worried About Political Criticism
AP ^ | 8/9/05 | Gina Holland

Posted on 08/09/2005 1:38:59 PM PDT by Crackingham

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said Tuesday that rulings on difficult subjects like gay rights and the death penalty have left courts vulnerable to political attacks that are threatening judicial independence. Breyer urged lawyers to help educate people about court responsibility to be an independent decision-maker.

"If you say seven or eight or nine members of the Supreme Court feel there's a problem ... you're right," he told the American Bar Association. "It's this edge on a lot of issues."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was speaking with Breyer, said: "The politics of judges is getting to be red hot." He said Supreme Court rulings on the Pledge of Allegiance and Ten Commandments have captured the public's interest and polarized Democrats and Republicans.

"There's nothing that's not on the table," former Solicitor General Theodore Olson said of the court's work, which this fall includes issues like abortion, capital punishment and assisted suicide.

Breyer said the nine-member court is focused on constitutional limits on major fights of the day. "We're sort of at the outer bounds. And we can't control politics of it, and I don't think you want us to try to control politics of it," he said.

Congressional leaders including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, have criticized justices in recent months. DeLay was particularly critical of the court's refusal to stop Terri Schiavo's death and at a death penalty decision that cited international cases.

Breyer defended using overseas legal opinions as a guide only, adding, "It has hit a political nerve."

Breyer, Olson and Graham were discussing the future of courts on the final day of the ABA's annual meeting in Chicago. Also Tuesday, the group was debating whether to endorse federal protection for journalists who refuse to reveal their sources to prosecutors. Passage of such a measure would authorize the organization to lobby Congress, where "shield law" proposals are pending.

Judicial independence has been a major theme at the meeting of the ABA, a 400,000-member group. The group's policymaking board passed a resolution urging elected officials and others to support and defend judges. New group President Michael Greco of Boston said judges have faced physical threats, and threats of impeachment from Washington political leaders unhappy with court decisions.

"If we do not protect our courts, our courts cannot protect us," Greco said.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: scotus; stephenbreyer
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1 posted on 08/09/2005 1:39:15 PM PDT by Crackingham
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To: Crackingham

Everything would be just peachy if the bastards would stick to original intent.


2 posted on 08/09/2005 1:40:21 PM PDT by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: Crackingham
Breyer defended using overseas legal opinions as a guide only, adding, "It has hit a political nerve."

You POS, Breyer. Getting a little defensive, eh?
3 posted on 08/09/2005 1:41:05 PM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Crackingham

Sorry judgey-poo, but you don't get to rule the world and be above criticism too. Not yet anyway. Stop usurping power and you will stop being criticized.


4 posted on 08/09/2005 1:41:10 PM PDT by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Legislatures are so outdated. If you want real political victory, take your issue to court.)
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To: Crackingham
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said Tuesday that rulings on difficult subjects like gay rights and the death penalty have left courts vulnerable to political attacks that are threatening judicial independence. Breyer urged lawyers to help educate people about court responsibility to be an independent decision-maker.

He isn't a decision maker. It is his job to interpret the Constitution, not to divine new meanings out of what he presumes is the spirit of its text.

And why do I know this and he doesn't...

Regards, Ivan

5 posted on 08/09/2005 1:41:47 PM PDT by MadIvan (You underestimate the power of the Dark Side - http://www.sithorder.com/)
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To: Crackingham
these jerk-boes are supposed to the judiciary of the USA not some euro-wheenie, commie version of utopia!

when will they get a clue that they are supposed to be 'judging' according to the law and not whomever just gave them or their party the largest chunk of change!

6 posted on 08/09/2005 1:41:52 PM PDT by NoClones
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To: Crackingham

bttt...this should be interesting!
Need to read later (printed it out).


7 posted on 08/09/2005 1:42:31 PM PDT by meema
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To: Crackingham

Breyer can go straight to h**l. No one in this entire country is above criticism. NO ONE!


8 posted on 08/09/2005 1:42:44 PM PDT by PAMadMax (Islam is the enemy of all mankind...AlJazeera is its PR Firm)
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To: Crackingham

"threatening judicial independence"

Alrighty then......


9 posted on 08/09/2005 1:43:57 PM PDT by Indy Pendance
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To: 45Auto

#####Everything would be just peachy if the bastards would stick to original intent.#####


Exactly! These guys act more like hack politicians than judges, and then they get mad when people treat them like hack politicians.


10 posted on 08/09/2005 1:44:00 PM PDT by puroresu (Conservatism is an observation; Liberalism is an ideology)
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To: Crackingham

SOLUTION: Interpret the constitution. Don't set policy, make law, or be guided by emotion.


11 posted on 08/09/2005 1:44:09 PM PDT by Johnstone
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To: Crackingham

btt


12 posted on 08/09/2005 1:44:23 PM PDT by MileHi
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To: Crackingham

Well let's just delcare criticism of the Supreme Court unconstitutional.


13 posted on 08/09/2005 1:44:24 PM PDT by Lost Highway (I don't know what the world may need but a V8 engines a good start for me)
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To: Crackingham

This is crap. If the people can see that judges reach a reasonable conclusion from case law, legislation, or the Constitution, they will not object and will accept it.

However, if they see a political ruling from a judge, there will be protests. We are a free people and will not be ruled by oligarchs.


14 posted on 08/09/2005 1:44:40 PM PDT by cotton1706
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To: MadIvan
He isn't a decision maker. It is his job to interpret the Constitution, not to divine new meanings out of what he presumes is the spirit of its text. And why do I know this and he doesn't...

Exactly.

I think he does know it, but whenever his mind goes there, he just covers his ears and says, "la la la la la la la la la...." 'till those "bad" thoughts go away.

15 posted on 08/09/2005 1:45:21 PM PDT by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Legislatures are so outdated. If you want real political victory, take your issue to court.)
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To: Crackingham

Justice Breyer is quite correct that judges need to make independent, unbiased decisions. But then again he hardly can ask that the public just not give a damn no matter what the court decides. If it's the applicability of a certain statute to hog slapping in Alabama, maybe no big deal. But when the judges start deciding the Constitution outlaws the death penalty, guarantees legal abortions, permits cities to take private property for developers, and should be interpreted via the foreign law of other countries - watch out. Independent is one thing, addle brained is another.


16 posted on 08/09/2005 1:45:26 PM PDT by Williams
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To: Crackingham

If the creeping creeps would read the constitution and apply the principles therein, they wouldn't be attacked politically.


17 posted on 08/09/2005 1:46:13 PM PDT by stocksthatgoup
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To: Crackingham
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said Tuesday that rulings on difficult subjects like gay rights and the death penalty have left courts vulnerable to political attacks that are threatening judicial independence. Breyer urged lawyers to help educate people about court responsibility to be an independent decision-maker.

If certain Supremes want to act like politicians (or, still worse, use foreign law to interpret the US constitution) then they should lose their lifetime appointments and get elected like every other political hack in black robes.

18 posted on 08/09/2005 1:46:30 PM PDT by Prince Charles
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To: Crackingham
Dear Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer:

Just a friendly word. Go fornicate yourself, you lying hypocrite, deceitful, grandiose, Constitution defiling, judicial tyrant.

19 posted on 08/09/2005 1:46:49 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember
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To: Crackingham

"Pay no attention to the man behind the gavel!!"


20 posted on 08/09/2005 1:47:20 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: MadIvan

If Breyer actually believes there's a constitutional right to abortion, then he deserves criticism for being an idiot.

If Breyer knows there isn't a constitutional right to abortion, but still supports Roe, then he deserves criticism for being a fraud and a liar.

Hey Breyer, you're just a hack who isn't doing a very good job. We thus reserve the right to criticize you. Period. Get used to it.


21 posted on 08/09/2005 1:48:00 PM PDT by puroresu (Conservatism is an observation; Liberalism is an ideology)
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To: Crackingham
If Mr. Breyer didn't involve himself in politics by making nakedly political decisions, and even asserting his right to do so (which doesn't exist), then he would not face political opposition.

Don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen...

22 posted on 08/09/2005 1:48:00 PM PDT by Regulator
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: MadIvan

Because you are using you brain to make a rational factual decision.


24 posted on 08/09/2005 1:48:23 PM PDT by vpintheak (Liberal = The antithesis of Freedom and Patriotism)
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To: Crackingham
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said Tuesday that rulings on difficult subjects like gay rights and the death penalty have left courts vulnerable to political attacks that are threatening judicial independence.

Threatening judicial activism! That's what Breyer is worried about.

25 posted on 08/09/2005 1:48:28 PM PDT by airborne
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To: 45Auto; briansb; MAK1179
This story made me smile and feel all warm inside. :-)

Judges feeling a little heat are they? GOOD! The bastards should be reminded every once in a while that we live in a Constitutional Republic and not an Elite Oligarchy as they vainly imagine for most of their days...

And somehow, I think it may be the Kelo decision that's really drawing the heat, although they won't mention that case because it cuts across political lines and pissed off everyone on both sides of the aisle.

Nice story... thanks for posting.

26 posted on 08/09/2005 1:48:42 PM PDT by Lloyd227
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To: Crackingham

When judges abandoned the rule of law for the rule of personal politics, they doomed the independence of the judiciary. Nixon has been accused of abusing his power as chief executive, but he was only one president. The Supreme Court has institutionalized the practice.


27 posted on 08/09/2005 1:51:06 PM PDT by Spok
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To: MadIvan
Right on target, Ivan. They want to make policy decisions, but don't want to be exposed to criticism and the political process.

I think Breyer is smart enough to know that, but the fact is they like having the power to make political decisions and don't want to give it up and go back to deciding legal issues.

28 posted on 08/09/2005 1:52:06 PM PDT by colorado tanker (The People Have Spoken)
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To: The Ghost of FReepers Past

It is kind of pathetic that a British Freeper seems to know more about the American constitution than a Justice of the Supreme Court, however.

Regards, Ivan


29 posted on 08/09/2005 1:53:05 PM PDT by MadIvan (You underestimate the power of the Dark Side - http://www.sithorder.com/)
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To: Crackingham

A quart of Breyer's Ice Cream has more sense than this guy, which is why any organization to which he belongs will always be a target of much criticism.


30 posted on 08/09/2005 1:54:08 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (I ain't got a dime, but what I got is mine. I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.)
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To: Crackingham

Unless the SCOTUS comes up with a new law, taken from the Taliban, that prohibits criticism of the judiciary, we are justified in criticizing judges and their decisions. Maybe the threat of impeachment is hitting a bit too close to home?


31 posted on 08/09/2005 1:54:17 PM PDT by caisson71
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To: Crackingham

If Breyer is too much of a pussy to take life on the SCOTUS, then he should quit. President Bush will even find a suitable replacement for him, so no worries, Steve. Don't mention it.


32 posted on 08/09/2005 1:54:29 PM PDT by montag813
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To: Crackingham
"Judicial independence has been a major theme at the meeting of the ABA, a 400,000-member group."

It's more like judicial autonomy, where rulings passed down are a free-for-all, based on nebulous "penumbras and emanations," rather than judicial "independence."

The judiciary in this country has demonstrated itself "independent" enough, the way it twists and ignores the law of the land.

33 posted on 08/09/2005 1:54:31 PM PDT by nightdriver
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To: cotton1706

Sure, but one can see a political motivation in *any* ruling handed down. Don't like the SCOTUS ruling on social issues? Well then they're commie pinko liberals! Don't like their ruling when they side with business? Well then they were bought off by Big Business!

People see what they want to see, facts be damned.


34 posted on 08/09/2005 1:54:37 PM PDT by Sirloin
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To: Crackingham
Fine, (then, hand in your resignation :)...and just nominate "U.S.A. Constitutional Originalist", no more "Judaical Activism".
35 posted on 08/09/2005 1:54:39 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :^)
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To: Crackingham

Funny, I never heard a peep in the media about "political attacks on the Supreme Court" when The Left were screaming like banshees over about Bush v. Gore.


36 posted on 08/09/2005 1:55:45 PM PDT by Libertarian444
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To: Crackingham

"Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said Tuesday that rulings on difficult subjects like gay rights and the death penalty have left courts vulnerable to political attacks that are threatening judicial independence."

No. Politicial activism by the SCOTUS beyond the limits of the Constitution have opened the morons in black to political attacks - as they should be.

And the heat should be turned up higher - with term limits and some ability on the part of Congress and the President to look at a Supreme Court Decision, especially a close one, and say: This is nonsense - its null and void.

Breyer should be making ice cream instead of judicial decisions.


37 posted on 08/09/2005 1:59:22 PM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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To: Crackingham

38 posted on 08/09/2005 1:59:51 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Crackingham

"Breyer defended using overseas legal opinions as a guide only, adding, "It has hit a political nerve."

Breyer's job requires him to apply the U.S. Constitution, not the laws of anothjer nation.

If COngress had any spine, testacles or backbone, this comment would result in his immediate and unanimous impeachment.

But then elected officials reflect the voters who put them in office.


39 posted on 08/09/2005 2:01:10 PM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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To: Sirloin

"People see what they want to see, facts be damned."

This isn't true. We rarely had people protest in front of the Supreme Court until the 60's and 70's. Why?? Because before that, the court wasn't acting as a legislature with very infrequent "elections".


40 posted on 08/09/2005 2:02:50 PM PDT by cotton1706
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To: Spok
ixon has been accused of abusing his power as chief executive..

...Better case, would have been abuses of BJ/sHrILLARY Klintoon.

41 posted on 08/09/2005 2:04:01 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :^)
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To: Libertarian444

Breyere is traitorous tyrant pervert scum, just like
Ginsburg and Kennedy...They are evil souled
betrayers of the people and the Constitution
of the US of A. They are out to destruct the
fabric and spirit of our society and
civilisation with perverse and outrageously
assinine "decisions".


42 posted on 08/09/2005 2:04:07 PM PDT by NickatNite2003
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To: Crackingham
"The politics of judges is getting to be red hot." Well, fancy that. I guess people are watching. If the judges are uncomfortable being political targets, just maybe they shouldn't play politics with their opinions, redefining the Constitution to achieve favored political ends. Play with fire, expect to get burned. It's about the Constitution, which pretty clearly says what it means and means what it says. If the people don't like it, they amend it.
43 posted on 08/09/2005 2:04:07 PM PDT by ArmyTeach (Pray daily for our troops...)
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To: Crackingham
an independent judiciary does not equal a judiciary above criticism or accountability
44 posted on 08/09/2005 2:04:45 PM PDT by ghostcat
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To: 45Auto

>> Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said Tuesday that rulings on difficult subjects like gay rights and the death penalty have left courts vulnerable to political attacks that are threatening judicial independence.

When Breyer and other leftists on the Court make political rulings they should expect political attacks. Further, the judiciary is not independent, but rather is controlled by ideologues like Breyer.


45 posted on 08/09/2005 2:05:21 PM PDT by PhilipFreneau ("The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." -- Psalms 19:1)
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To: MadIvan
It is kind of pathetic that a British Freeper seems to know more about the American constitution than a Justice of the Supreme Court, however.

Aptly Put. :)

46 posted on 08/09/2005 2:05:35 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :^)
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To: Crackingham

We need a law or Constitional Admendment that would allow the congress to overrule the Supreme Court under certain circumstances.


47 posted on 08/09/2005 2:05:40 PM PDT by jbwbubba
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To: Crackingham
You could replace courts and judges in this piece with the term Gestapo, and it still makes sense. These judges think they were appointed to be Philospher Kings.
48 posted on 08/09/2005 2:06:31 PM PDT by Plutarch
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To: Crackingham
As a former member of the Bar of the Supreme Court (32 years), I can say in plain language that Justice Breyer is a lying sack of sh*t. He says, "the Court cannot control the politics of its cases." The outside politics can be ignored.

But the problem is the POLITICS INSIDE THE COURT. Most of the growing disrespect of the Court in general, and of Justices as stupid and dangerous as Breyer, is in direct consequence of Court decisions that invaded the political province of decisions that belong to legislatures or to the people themselves.

In short, this is well-earned, well-deserved disrespect for a Court infested with the likes of Breyer. He, and they, have it coming. But he, being clueless, whines to the ABA about the treatment he is receiving. [This is also a reason why I resigned from the ABA, decades ago. They are as corrupt as the current Court.)

Congressman Billybob

Latest column: "The Washington Post Doesn't Have a Clue about Government Under a Written Constitution"

49 posted on 08/09/2005 2:08:17 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (Will President Bush's SECOND appointment obey the Constitution? I give 95-5 odds on yes.)
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To: Crackingham
"Breyer urged lawyers to help educate people about court responsibility to be an independent decision-maker."

How about educating judges on interpreting and not making law.
50 posted on 08/09/2005 2:09:29 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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