Only a month after federal Judge John Roll was murdered while waiting to speak with Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D), and Montana Representative Denny Rehberg (R) is suggesting federal judges who support environmental controls should “go on the Endangered Species List.”
Rehberg’s statements are in obvious poor taste, especially given the threats, both veiled and actual being tossed at judges and members of Congress these days. Rehberg is certainly within his rights to chose whatever rhetorical means he sees fit to convey his message but at some point our elected officials have to acknowledge that the responsible and professional thing to do is not use rhetoric and language that is tinged with violence to communicate to constituents.
And perhaps just as bad is the idea that “judicial activism” is a one-way street defined solely by opinions that do not support the agenda of the right. Rehberg is a classic offender in this regard. His speech decried a decision to keep the grey wolf on the Endangered Species List as judicial activism yet he, almost in the same breath, praised the decisions that have declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The difference? One decision he likes the other, not so much.
Our federal courts are in crisis, not because of judicial activists on either side run amok, but by a lack of funding and confirmation of appointments. The assault on our courts must come to an end if we have any hope of keeping our democracy intact.
photo courtesy of steakpinball via Flickr