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Reagan judge freaks out in court over President's criticism of "activist" judges on HCR

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Kevin Drum has the background. It's next to impossible to excerpt his post without stealing the entire thing. Just take a minute to read it, it's worth it, and short, then come back.

A few points.

1) The President was having a little fun turning the Republicans' "activist judges" rhetoric around on Republicans, and Republican judges, who seem to have no problem becoming activists when it comes to overturning health care reform or putting George Bush into office (Obama didn't mention Bush, I did).

2) It's really inappropriate for a judge to show that he's pissed off, in court, over anything the President has said.

3) It's actually kind of bizarre that the judge thought the President was saying that judges can't find laws unconstitutional. Though it is funny that when Democrats, or Democratic judges, deem any laws unconstitutional, such as those banning gay marriage or sex between gay people, conservatives are more than happy to cry "activist!"

The judge is appeals court judge Jerry Smith, a Reagan appointee in the 5th circuit.

I wonder where Judge Smith was a few years back when judges were being shot while Republicans in Congress were gleefully demonizing the entire bench. I'd like to think that Judge Smith was dutifully chastising President Bush and Republicans in  Congress for their incendiary rhetoric while judges were dying.  But sometimes you don't get what you like.

Some examples of times when I'd be curious if Judge Smith spoke out:

The time when a man offered $50,000 for the assassination of the judge in the Terri Schiavo case after conservatives savaged the judge. Any word from Judge Smith?

Things got so bad during the Schiavo affair that Supreme Court Justice O'Connor warned that the conservative rhetoric against judges could lead to violence.  Did Judge Smith speak out then?

When threats against judges surged in 2005 and 2006, just as Republicans like Frist, DeLay and Cornyn were demonizing judges left and right, did Judge Smith speak out?

When a GOP member of Congress talked about putting judges on the "endangered species list," did Judge Smith say a thing about it?

One wonders if the only thing Judge Smith is really worried about is Mitt Romney's sinking chances in November.

More from NY Magazine.

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