Friday, April 01, 2005

DeLay on the Judiciary

I had decided not to post again on the Schiavo case and matters related to it, but I can't ignore the comments Tom DeLay made yesterday. Talking to reporters in Houston, he said, "We will look at an unaccountable, arrogant, out-of-control judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president ... The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."

To begin with, the judiciary didn't 'thumb their nose' at Congress and the president: Congress brought the issue into federal courts, most of which ruled against Terri Schiavo's parents. Congress asked for judgments, and the courts gave it to them. Rep. DeLay seems to be crying foul simply because the rulings went against him. (To be fair, though, one court did rule that the law transferring appeals to the federal courts was unconstitutional. Tom DeLay may think of this as being disrespectful, but it's an important component of the system's 'checks and balances'.) And anyone who complains about how the unelected judiciary abused its power is ignoring the fact that Florida elects its judges. The Post is carrying an editorial strongly critical of Mr. Delay's remarks and arguing that the real problem in the Schiavo case was an arrogant, out-of-control, irresponsible legislature that thumbed their nose at Florida's judicial system.

Instead of worrying about a non-existent problem with the judiciary, perhaps Tom Delay should spend time worrying about his own ethics troubles. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal had a scathing editorial concluding, "[DeLay's] real fault lies in betraying the broader set of principles that brought him into office, and which, if he continues as before, sooner or later will sweep him out." For the sake of Congress and its credibility, unless his behaviour changes, I hope it's sooner rather than later.

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