DeLay: Threatened judges still don't "get it"

Christians are persecuted; judges are just dense.

By Tim Grieve
Published March 29, 2006 2:30PM (EST)

When Terri Schiavo was finally allowed to die last March, Tom DeLay called for what sure sounded like violent retribution against the judges who refused to keep her alive through artificial means. "The time will come," DeLay said, "for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."

One of those men was a woman -- then Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who joined her colleagues in steering clear of the Schiavo case. Having since retired, O'Connor is now free to speak her mind about the effects of right-wing attacks on the federal judiciary, and she did just that during a speech at Georgetown earlier this month. Without naming names -- but with enough identifying information to make it clear she was thinking about Tom DeLay, John Cornyn and their ilk -- O'Connor said that judges must be "ever vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary" and warned that comments like those DeLay made "pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedom."

Now DeLay has fired back. Speaking at a conference for conservative Christians -- the theme was America's "War on Christians," natch -- DeLay said that O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who says she's been the target of death threats from the "irrational fringe," simply don't understand why Christian conservatives are so upset with the judiciary. "There's still a problem, they don't get it," the Houston Chronicle quotes DeLay as saying. "There are three branches of government. All wisdom doesn't reside in ... people in black robes."

No word yet as to whether any of those people in black robes are going to give DeLay his concealed-weapon permit back.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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