Charles Krauthammer, who is no shrinking violet, tells it like it is:
Provocation is no excuse for derangement. And there has been plenty of provocation: decades of an imperial judiciary unilaterally legislating radical social change on the flimsiest of constitutional pretexts. But while that may explain, it does not justify the flailing, sometimes delirious attacks on the judiciary mounted by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and others in the wake of the Terri Schiavo case.
DeLay is threatening judges involved in that case with unspecified retribution. He said that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy should be held “accountable” for using international law in deciding a recent (death penalty) case. He wants congressional hearings to reinterpret the “good behavior” clause of lifetime judicial tenure to make good behavior mean not what it has meant for two centuries — honesty and propriety — but good constitutional behavior. Do we really want Congress deciding that?
You guys have lost Charles Krauthammer. Are you beginning to smell the salts yet, beginning to come to your senses? I doubt it. Hammer then lists a series of offense he perceives the Courts have committed, and closes with this:
The prestige the courts inherited from Brown fueled their arrogant appropriation of legislative power in areas radically different and suffering no disenfranchisement — abortion, gay rights, religion in the public square. For decades they have been creating law, citing emanations from penumbras of the Constitution visible only to their holinesses.
This is all true and deeply depressing. But the answer is not to assault the separation of powers. Certainly not to empower Congress to regulate judicial decision-making by retroactively removing lifetime appointees. The non-deranged way to correct the problem is to appoint a new generation of judges committed to judicial modesty.
Yet the recent eruptions of DeLay, Cornyn and some of their fellows may, like FDR’s court-packing overreaching in 1937, have a salutary effect after all — scaring the bejesus out of judges, maybe even shocking them into a little bit of humility, something that does not seem to come to them naturally.
You guys have lost Charles Krauthammer.