Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Sen. Corleone makes the judiciary an offer it can’t refuse

My long-winded lawyer friend Beldar gives a spirited (and lengthy) defense of Sen. Corleone today (oops! I mean Cornyn). As one might guess, Beldar argues that Cornyn’s veiled threat to the judiciary was taken out of context. He insists that everyone should read Cornyn’s speech in its entirety - no doubt in hopes that it will put most of them to sleep and cause them to forget why they were reading it in the first place when they wake up.
But I don’t buy the “out of context” argument in this case. There is nothing that Cornyn said before or after the key statements that change or alter thier intended meaning.
But Beldar does a good job of summarizing why it is that I have such a hard time accepting that Cornyn would be a party to this GOP effort to vilify the judiciary in the first place:

John Cornyn, as you probably know (but may have forgotten) was the Attorney General of Texas and an Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court before he was elected to the US Senate.  In both of those capacities, he was extremely responsible and well-balanced.  As the chief law enforcement officer of the State of Texas, he certainly had no record of encouraging lawlessness.  He has no history of demagoguery.  Lumping him in with nuts at either the left or right extremes simply isn't justified based on his past record.  He's neither a Tom DeLay nor a Robert Byrd.  There's no plausible basis to argue based on his own history that by speculating about a possible cause-and-effect link, he's sending a "coded message" approving and endorsing violence against judges.

But it is that last sentence where Beldar acknowledges that Cornyn speculated  ”about a possible cause-and-effect link” which is key to the whole controversy. Beldar says there is no plausible basis to argue that such speculation sends a “coded message” approving and endorsing violence against judges. But no one is accusing Cornyn of directly approving and endorsing violence, but building a rationale that would explain such an action.
A Mafia don who drops in to visit a local shop owner would never make a direct endorsement of violence either. He would simply do what Cornyn did and warn the merchant about things that might happen if he doesn’t do certain things to keep other folks happy.

Beldar, in one of his numerous updates to his post, also prints the text of a “clarification” that Sen. Cornyn made on the Senate floor the other day. (You have to scroll down - way down).
But Cornyn neither retracts nor apologizes for his outrageous statement the day before. Instead, as he is becoming apt to do, he blames you and me for coming away with the “wrong impression.”

I regret it that my remarks have been taken out of context to create a wrong impression about my position, and possibly be construed to contribute to the problem rather than to a solution.

So it wasn’t Cornyn’s fault, you see. It was those other people who took his remarks out of context (which essentially means that they actually listened to what he said rather than dozing off at that point) who are to blame for contributing to the problem.

Cornyn goes on to say:

My point was, and is, simply this: We should all be concerned that the judiciary is losing the respect that it needs to serve the American people well.

No, Senator. It is you who have lost my respect this day.

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