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April 6, 2005
Cornyn Jumps the Shark

Senator John Conyn (R - TX) on the floor of the Senate today..

I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.

Think Progress

Video clip of his statement.

Wow. In light of the reaction Tom DeLay's recent threats have received, this guy either has some serious balls, or is just a monumental idiot.

I'm sure he'd like us to think it's the former, but it's not.

What, exactly, is he hoping to accomplish by "wondering" in the Senate whether there is some relationship between judicial opinions he disagrees with and judges and their families being threatened with violence and/or actually killed?

It's all carefully phrased as an analysis and not a direct provocation to violence, but it still amounts to a tacit justification and a thinly veiled threat.

One would expect that our leaders, mere weeks after a judge's husband and mother were murdered, would stake out firm ground on the side of the judges over the murderers, but not Senator Cornyn. He can sort of see where they're coming from. He could have made perfectly clear that, while we may disagree with some decisions made by the courts, there is absolutely no excuse for threats or violence against judges. We are a nation of laws. But he didn't say that, did he?

It reminds me of nothing more than the mob offering protection to the neighborhood businesses.

"We're not saying you gotta pay us the money, see, but let's just say that this other guy -- you remember Angelo? -- he didn't pay, and one day he turns up a little bit dead. That's all I'm gonna say. Capisce?"


He doesn't want to see them killed, or maimed, or assaulted. He's trying to save them. Trying to warn them. Warning them that unless they change their ways someone -- someone who has nothing to do with John Cornyn or the Texas cabal running the country, mind you -- just might decide to do something crazy. But here's Cornyn offering a safe harbor. Confirm all of Bush's nominees, no matter how incompetent, corrupt, or inept they are, no matter how unsound their view of the constitution. And for the others, try to conform your views to those of Bush's new appointees. Do it and you'll be safe. If you don't do it, well, then, certainly John Cornyn wouldn't advocate killing you, he's just pointing out that it will happen.

Matthew Yglesias


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