Skip to comments.Poor Judgment: Judges should not try to stifle criticism
Posted on 05/31/2005 4:01:02 PM PDT by Liberty Valance
Personal trauma can cloud ones judgment, so we can to some degree forgive U.S. District Court Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow for urging members of Congress to do something to curb public criticism of federal judges.
Lefkows husband and mother were recently killed by a deranged man who blamed her for a life turned sour. The attacks were not politically motivated. Yet somehow, Lefkow has drawn a link between the killings and recent criticisms of the federal judiciary by Republicans, in a way that unnecessarily inflames the debate.
While we wouldnt expect that members of Congress would rebuke a grieving widow for her ill-considered opinions, given the personal trauma shes been through, were surprised how little controversy Lefkows comments generated and that no one stepped forward to challenge them.
"Even though we cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between rhetorical attacks and violent acts of vengeance (against judges), fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge to exact revenge on a judge who displeases them," Lefkow told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "We need your help in tempering the tone of debates that concern the independence of the judiciary," she said. "In this age of mass communication, harsh rhetoric is truly dangerous."
No more dangerous, in our view, than a judge who believes the government has any role to play in curbing harsh rhetoric, even when its directed at judges, or curtailing free expression simply because an individual "on the edge" might use political speech to excuse acts of violence or criminality.
Lefkow cited remarks made by Pat Robertson about liberal judges "destroying a fabric that holds our nation together" and posing a threat "probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings." Such rhetoric is obviously strident and stupid. But no more so than what weve heard from many members of Congress when caught up in the heat of political battle, or the slurs used against President Bushs judicial nominees during the filibuster fracas.
By the judges own admission, no causal link exists between the national debate about a politicized judiciary and two recent acts of violence against judges. And in fact, Lefkow could cite only five attacks on federal judges in the past 25 years nothing to scoff at, but certainly not suggestive of an epidemic of anti-judge violence.
Lefkow stopped short, thankfully, of lobbying for legal sanction against Americans who "foster disrespect" for judges, understanding, perhaps, that it would be unseemly for a supposed protector of the Constitution to undermine the First Amendment in such a blatant fashion. But its not hard to imagine some enterprising member of Congress picking up that idea and running with it, given how frequently politicians troll the headlines for reasons to make themselves relevant.
We can feel for Lefkow on a personal level, and agree with that part of her testimony that pushed for better courthouse security. But when she suggests that judges should be beyond rebuke, or that Americans who criticize judges are somehow complicit in fomenting violence against them, shes way out of line and should be called on it.
Sounds like the democratic and communist parties talking points, not to mention the Op ed page of any number of leftist rags.
I'd like to know how many of the judges, talking about how they should be armed in the courtroom, are gun-grabbers, when it comes to us proles.
Critizing paid government employees who literally have the power over life and death in their palms, who not elected, but appointed, and are now considered above critizm.
We can knock congressmen, senators, mayors, governors, even the President, but dare say a word about a judge, and behold, we have an enemy of democracy.
I've said before the left has gone insane, my proof (or just a recent example), verbal attacks on unelected government employees is an attack on democracy.
And yes, I aware we are a republic not a democracy, article 4, section 4, US constitution.
Let's face it folks, the gears, cogs, and pulleys of this system can't go on simple greasings any more. It's time to tear the beast down and rebuild with the input of artisans, engineers, architects, and users.
I think judges are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together. I'm still gonna say it even if it means I go to jail one day. Tough! It's the truth.
Great post Sonny. I agree.
"Stifle yerself Joan."
Just like a liberal, somebody does something bad, so we find others to blame for the bad person's behavior. It's scary that we have so many judges like this woman.
Sounds like Clinton's speechwriters penned it for her. Remember how he shifted the blame of OK City bombing to Rush Limbaugh and "right-wing" talk radio? Leftists never miss an opportunity (even when supposedly in mourning) to publicly blame their enemies for anything and everything.
Since only LIBS seem to ingage in "Harsh Rhetoric",I'll be waiting for her verbal slapping of the DemonRATS.........(sound of crickets chirping)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.