Skip to comments.Breyer: Attacks Threaten Court Independence
Posted on 08/09/2005 6:17:00 PM PDT by wagglebee
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.
On another subject, Greco defended the ABA's role in checking the background of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and other federal judicial nominees. The committee has spent the past two weeks reviewing Roberts' work on an appeals court and interviewing people who have worked with him.
"The ABA does not, and we will not, protect the interests of any political party or faction, nor the interests of any ideological or interest group," said Greco, who previously oversaw the judge review committee.
Breyer told the group that the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor is a personal loss and loss for the nation.
Breyer: Attacks Threaten Court Independence
The same can be turned around and said about the court and our freedoms as judges look to the international mood of courts..
Court Threatens Independence
Someone ought to ask Breyer if he's ever heard of the three COMPETING branches of government. When one abuses its power, then it is subject to checks and balances. If he wants the courts to remain independent, then they should stop abusing their power.
You said it... it's the "checks and balances," stupid.
Methinks these Justices are getting mighty thin-skinned for a very select group of people that can change to course of millions of people's lives by the swipe of a pen in their hands...
Testy, testy---and I don't like it!
and I don't like the resolution that they passed --- not that I think that violence should befall any judge...but they should not "demand" that elected officials defend and protect them from their own bad judgements...
Too late. He has his mind made up.
Breyer is a traitorourous pervert and an
arrogant tyrant. just like Ginsburg, Souter,
These filthy betrayers are out to destruct
our society, and all moral basises, that are the
fabric of our civilisation and it's ability to
survive, with their perverted and assininely
idiotic 'death culture' rulings.
Yeah you just cant steal our country any longer without us knowing.
Talk about your monomania. Just like the media.
What a bunch of crap (See Kelo).
Were Breyer's lips moving?
If you can't stand the heat, . . . resign and let Bush appoint a replacement.
Their appointments are only for good behavior. Most are bullies rather than the self-annointed high priests our betters would have us believe.
Most become enemies of our Constitution when they place their opinions over our Law of OUR Land. Millions of us hold them in contempt.
Their own words are their petards.
Maybe the SCOTUS should be relocated to Brussels where they can issue their unconstitutional rulings with out worrying about being harassed by the people of the country they are destroying.
These people just have too darn much power. What are we going to do to get them to realize they work for us, and not the other way around?
The fact of the matter is that the Founding Fathers intentionally created the judiciary with less power than the executive or legislative branches. There is no provision in the Constitution for the courts to determine what is and isn't constitutional, the courts seized this power with Marbury v. Madison. Over the past two centuries, they have become more brazen with their power grabs, and with the exception of Andrew Jackson, nobody has ever stood up to them.
We recently had a situation during the Schiavo matter (and how any of us feel about that controversy is irrelevant here) where a judge openly ignored a Congressional subpoena, and Congress did nothing. In my opinion, there have been many instances where Congress and/or the President should have chosen to ignore a court ruling they felt was unlawful, yet they never do. Until the other branches of government decide to reassert their authority, the judiciary will continue it's tyranny.
If the Court would stick to interpreting law rather than making it there would be fewer attacks, rather than pretending to hold legislative powers.
I have kind of a different view about Marbury. I think it was good law when it was written.
You've got to have a way to decide constitutional issues, and it makes sense to put that power in the least powerful branch of government. Unfortunately, the problem is that Marbury has been abused. It's the responsibility of the President and Congress to put the judiciary back in its intended roll. But that is happening very slowly, and I believe that it may be too late already to fix the damage that they've inflicted on this Nation.
The problem is that the President and the Congress are complicit with this abuse.
It's amazing that Breyer isn't embarassed to admit his ignorance about the proper role of courts in the republic. I urge people to educate judges about the responsibility courts have to limit their action to the interpretation of law, not the formulation of law.
"If we do not protect our courts, our courts cannot protect us..."
I agree wholeheartedly. But we need to protect our courts from our power-mongering elitist judges. We need to repeal judicial immunity and pass a law against legislating from the bench.
His arrogance and the implied arrogance of his fellow jurors is in infuriating.
There isn't independence from the people, only from the other two branches (except for the "checks"). Just like the other branches, the Judicary is to represent and protect the People (through the Constitution).
They just showed a clip of that "speech" that Breyer gave...and you could see old Lindsay Graham in the background...
What is with this guy? What is he doing with these SCOTUS guys...and the GAng of 14....and John McCain....
Graham has got some kind of egomania problem...he has to be in on EVERTHING!!
I'll take your comment as corroboration, since I can't interpret it as disagreement in any way that makes sense.
Earth to Breyer, Earth to Breyer:
When the judiciary turns itself into a supreme legislature and at times even executive (think of the school busing cases, among others), using POLITICAL criteria to dominate the other two properly POLITICAL branches of government, the obvious outcome is that the highly POLITICAL behavior of the courts will come under POLITICAL types of criticism..... or evern what you term 'attacks'....
Moral of the story: when the imperial judiciary usurps the proper role of the other two supposedly INDEPENDENT branches, don't be surprised at the criticism which results.... and STOP WHINING, it's your own d-----d fault!
That's what I thought you meant. Thanks for the clarification.
Of course, my "it's the checks and balances, stupid" was merely advocating the most efficient way to convey the proper constitutional viewpoint in the vernacular that liberals can relate to.
His conduct suggests that he is seriously compromised. He allegedly referred to himself as a Republican by day and a Democrat by night. In short, a self-described switch hitter.
As for McCain, always remember that as a sitting senator, he was one of the Keating Five, as longstanding buttboy for Charles Keating, a corrupt S&L bandit. If the Keating Five had all been pubbies, they would have gone to jail, but McInsane was the only pubbie so he got the same wrist slap as the four other Democrat perpetrators, including John Glenn, BTW. The point is, from the beginning of his career in Congress, McCain took big bucks from a crook in return for many improper and unlawful interventions on the crook's behalf, and got away with it. Thus, would a reasonable man bet the ranch that McInsane has been clean ever since? His absolute contempt for the Constitution, repeated disloyalty to the party and endless hobnobbing and cozening with the quisling MSM suggest otherwise.
FLASH Mr Justice: it is the independence that bothers us!
The problem with Breyer's position is that he seems to define judicial independence not only as being free from political interference, which I agree with, but to be independent of the Constitution itself as in allowing the Court to do whatever it desires.
The court is also bound completely by the Constitution.
Oh, they don't make new laws. They just clarify the many emanations of the different penumbras surrounding the existing laws. </sarcasm>
Agree... Breyer has been one of the justices in the forefront of politicizing the role of the court. Now there is a political backlash and he wants to be a victim and claim immunity because the court is "independent"... Guess again, what goes around comes around. You helped make the situation, Stevie, and you can either get a clue, get gone, or stand by for more heavy rolls. Has his property been condemned under the Kelso ruling yet? Inquiring minds want to know...