Skip to comments.Supreme Court Justice Says He's Worried About Political Criticism
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.
Everything would be just peachy if the bastards would stick to original intent.
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.
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...
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!
bttt...this should be interesting!
Need to read later (printed it out).
Breyer can go straight to h**l. No one in this entire country is above criticism. NO ONE!
"threatening judicial independence"
#####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.
SOLUTION: Interpret the constitution. Don't set policy, make law, or be guided by emotion.
Well let's just delcare criticism of the Supreme Court unconstitutional.
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.
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.
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.
If the creeping creeps would read the constitution and apply the principles therein, they wouldn't be attacked politically.
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.
Just a friendly word. Go fornicate yourself, you lying hypocrite, deceitful, grandiose, Constitution defiling, judicial tyrant.
"Pay no attention to the man behind the gavel!!"
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.
Don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen...
Because you are using you brain to make a rational factual decision.
Threatening judicial activism! That's what Breyer is worried about.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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".
...Better case, would have been abuses of BJ/sHrILLARY Klintoon.
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
>> 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.
Aptly Put. :)
We need a law or Constitional Admendment that would allow the congress to overrule the Supreme Court under certain circumstances.
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.)