Saturday, April 09, 2005

Crossing the Line

This is getting out of hand. First we had Tom DeLay giving a quasi-threat to the judiciary (which, to be fair, was quickly repudiated by Dick Cheney) saying they would have to "answer for their behavior." Then John Cornyn offered to "explain" the causes behind violent attacks on the judiciary, blaming it on "activist judges." Again, to his "credit," he later backpeddled from what might have been seen as tacit encouragement of violence. Then a group of extremist GOP Senators introduced a bill that would essentially destroy the independent judiciary. A spokesperson for James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) claimed that "There does seem to be this misunderstanding out there that our system was created with a completely independent judiciary" (link: Kos). But nobody has explicitly called for violent assaults against the court system. Until now.

First a little background. The quote I will be showing you in a moment was spoken at a conference entitled Confronting the Judicial War on Faith, organized by The Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional restoration. I was curious about the "Judeo" aspect of it, so I called the organization (this was before the conference started) and asked how many of the speakers were Jewish. At first, the women I spoke to denied that was relevant, but when I pressed the issue (pointing out that at a Judeo-Christian Conference it should be somewhat pertinent to know who was speaking from a Jewish perspective and who was speaking from a Christian perspective), she admitted she did not know and said she'd try and get someone to call me back. Needless to say, they never did. A glance at their speakers list showed only three people who could be affirmatively identified as Jewish: Rabbis Aryeh Spero and Yehuda Levin, plus Rabbi Daniel Lapin who did not speak but was on the executive committee (the full list of speakers can be found here).

For the most part, the conference appeared to just engage in the gratuitous judge bashing that has defined the extremist right. However, the Washington Post reports lawyer-author Edwin Vieiria saying the following:
"Not to be outdone, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.

The full Stalin quote, for those who don't recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.""
[emphasis added]

The Post reporter says that "Presumably, Vieira had in mind something less extreme than Stalin did and was not actually advocating violence." I disagree, and I see no other way to interpret his comments. This man is approvingly quoting Joseph Stalin's theories on personnel management, and suggesting that he holds the same views. That view is that we execute any judge who disagrees with our policies.

Oh, and one more thing:
This was no collection of fringe characters. The two-day program listed two House members; aides to two senators; representatives from the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America; conservative activists Alan Keyes and Morton C. Blackwell; the lawyer for Terri Schiavo's parents; Alabama's "Ten Commandments" judge, Roy Moore; and [Tom] DeLay, who canceled to attend the pope's funeral.

Tom DeLay. Of course. Who here is surprised to see him affiliating with this group. Just so everybody knows, the Representatives at the Conference were Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Todd Akin (R-MO), and the Senators who had aides present were Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Every Church, every Synagogue, every man of faith, and certainly every elected official (especially those present at the conference) has a moral duty to condemn these comments in the strongest of terms. The radical right's war on America is going too far, and there must be some conservatives of principle willing to speak out against it.

UPDATE: Welcome, Political Animals! While I have you here, I figure we might as well make some noise. Here is the contact info for Rep. Akin, Rep. Smith, Sen. Coburn, and Sen. Hatch.

Other groups present at the conference include
Vision America
Rabbi Yehuda Levin
The Home School Legal Defense Association
Joyce Meyer Ministries
Texas Justice Foundation (talk about a misnomer!)
Culture of Life Foundation
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
The Judicial Confirmation Network
Christian Legal Society
Conservative Caucus
Alliance Defense Fund
Concerned Women for America
Christian Law association
Institute on the Constitution" (specifically represented by Constitution Party Presidential Candidate Michael Peroutka)
Cardinal Newman Society
Rabbi Aryeh Spero of Caucus for America
King for America
Eagle Forum (Phyllis Schlafly's outfit)
Family Research Council
American Conservative Union
Heritage Foundation
Leadership Institute
and most ominously, The US Catholic Bishop's Conference's pro-life secretariat was in attendance.

Let's send a message to these groups that they need to reject violence as a legitimate political tactic.

UPDATE 2x: Is That Legal's Eric Muller joins the chorus.


Leah A said...

Great work, David. Well presented.

I also found my way to the page; I tried to figure out the origin of the domain but got lost. Your list of supporting organizations is first-rate.

One thing, the representative of the Catholic Bishops didn't only attend, she actually gave a speech. She's head of their pro-choice division - and her focus was Roe V Wade, but it was still frightening how much she sounded the same as the rest of the speakers.

H said...

More specifically, the origin of the domain registration is hidden behind a privacy service (NameSecure LLC), where a company hides the identifying information of the actual registrant.

There are legitimate uses... but seriously, what do you expect for said group?

David Schraub said...

Greg, if I recall correctly from my phone call, the site is run by Vision America.

jack said...

Dave, yeah, thats right. VA is a group thats supposed to help pastors organize their, "sheep" so they may again become "the salt of the earth". Their BOA included Jerry Falwell and a number of other evangelists/radio hosts/ actual pastors. Once again, the "judeo" part is missing.

jack said...

Oh, almost forgot. The founder of VA and site registrant is Richard Scarborough. Here is HIS contact information:-)

Richard Scarborough
Vision America Mobilized, Inc.
4000 S. Medford Ste 17E
Lufkin, TX, 75901

Phone # 1.(936)699-1131
Email: (Which is blocked by a privacy/anti-span program... but his phone number isnt:-)