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"Retired Supreme Court Justice hits attacks on courts and warns of dictatorship"

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]hummingwolf)

Supreme Court justices keep many opinions private but Sandra Day O’Connor no longer faces that obligation.
"Nina Totenberg: In an unusually forceful and forthright speech, O’Connor said that attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms. O’Connor began by conceding that courts do have the power to make presidents or the Congress or governors, as she put it “really, really angry.” But, she continued, if we don’t make them mad some of the time we probably aren’t doing our jobs as judges, and our effectiveness, she said, is premised on the notion that we won’t be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts. The nation’s founders wrote repeatedly, she said, that without an independent judiciary to protect individual rights from the other branches of government those rights and privileges would amount to nothing. But, said O’Connor, as the founding fathers knew statutes and constitutions don’t protect judicial independence, people do.
"I, said O’Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O’Connor said we must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

Current Music: Benjamin Biolay, "Dans Mon Dos"
dogemperor [userpic]
'Choose Life' plate upheld as free speech

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]wyldraven)

6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Tennessee has 1st Amendment right, too

The state would be within its rights to issue specialty license plates reading "Choose Life" while denying a plate encouraging abortion rights, a U.S. appeals court ruled yesterday.

Messages on Tennessee license plates are government speech, not a public forum as the American Civil Liberties Union argued, the majority decision of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. While one-sidedness may be "ill-advised" on politically charged issues like abortion, the court ruled there's nothing in the First Amendment that prohibits it.

What is happening to the judiciary in this country? Is it fear, as Sandra Day O'Connor suggests?

EDIT: I have become aware that my original intent was not made clear. Let me state it bluntly. Government has responsibilities. Government does not have civil rights. Civil rights are what we use to protect ourselves from the encroachment of government. That was the thought process behind my question above.

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