Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mad Margaret of Mass.

From SFGate:

"Judicial independence is vital to our nation, not a 'problem to be solved,' and leaders should steer away from anti-judicial rhetoric, the chief justice who wrote the decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts told graduates.

"In a commencement speech Sunday at Brandeis University, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall expressed concern over recent attacks against the judiciary.
'Our courts function as a pressure valve to defuse political and social tension,' Marshall said. 'As a nation, we have tacitly agreed that it is better to settle our large differences in the courtroom than in the street.'

"The court's 4-3 ruling in November 2003 that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry in Massachusetts sparked opposition around the nation. Conservative politicians, including President Bush, blamed 'activist judges,' including Marshall, who wrote it, for advancing a social agenda.

"'I worry when people of influence use vague, loaded terms like 'judicial activist' to skew public debate or to intimidate judges,' Marshall said. 'I worry when judicial independence is seen as a problem to be solved and not a value to be cherished.'

"Marshall referred to court rulings concerning school desegregation and civil rights as proof that an independent judiciary is vital. 'Individual rights and human dignity are vulnerable when they depend for protection on the will of the majority or the good faith of those in power,' she said.
Marshall, who received an honorary degree, told the nearly 1,000 graduates that they must pick a side.

"'Respect for the rule of law is deeply imbedded in our American experience but it is not embedded in our DNA,' she said. 'Each of you must decide whether to embrace, to protect the rule of law, or to repudiate it. Make no mistake, inaction and indifference are acts of repudiation.'

Thus spake Mad Margaret, defending "judicial independence."

Too bad that the "independence" she defends seems to be an 'independence' from sanity and right reason, more and more endemic to the blackrobe-class. The Justice does not argue for human dignity; rather, she argues that the enshrinement of human INdignity is proper.

She's right about one thing--the 'rule of law' she defends is NOT "embedded in our DNA."

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