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Republican talk of "activist judges" is causing death threats against Supreme Court justices

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From AP:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor have been the targets of death threats from the "irrational fringe" of society, people apparently spurred by Republican criticism of the high court.

Ginsburg revealed in a speech in South Africa last month that she and O'Connor were threatened a year ago by someone who called on the Internet for the immediate "patriotic" killing of the justices.

Security concerns among judges have been growing.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter joked earlier this year that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned. Over the past few months O'Connor has complained that criticism, mainly by Republicans, has threatened judicial independence to deal with difficult issues like gay marriage.

Worry is not limited to the Supreme Court. Three quarters of the nation's 2,200 federal judges have asked for government-paid home security systems, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said this week.

Ginsburg said the Web threat was apparently prompted by legislation in Congress, filed by Republicans, that would bar judges from relying on foreign laws or court decisions.

"It is disquieting that they have attracted sizable support. And one not-so-small concern - they fuel the irrational fringe," she said in a speech posted online by the court earlier this month and first reported Wednesday by

According to Ginsburg, someone in a Web site chat room wrote: "Okay commandoes, here is your first patriotic assignment ... an easy one. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor have publicly stated that they use (foreign) laws and rulings to decide how to rule on American cases. This is a huge threat to our Republic and Constitutional freedom. ... If you are what you say you are, and NOT armchair patriots, then those two justices will not live another week."
More GOP hate that inspires violence:

- Delay threatens judges

And, let me repost something I wrote in March of last year:

Examples of religious right anti-judge hate speech:

Today, I received this email from the religious right propaganda organ AgapePress:
Judie Brown of the American Life League says the court-ordered starvation of the brain-injured Terri Schiavo is the latest evidence that liberal judges are trying to take on the role of God. "The problem with the court system is that they are moving closer and closer to condemning severely disabled Americans, as a group, to death," she says, "and that ought to frighten everyone."
That got me wondering. I knew the religious right regularly went out of its way to dehumanize gays and lesbians to the point where Katie Couric, our own Dorothy in real life, asked in the days following Matthew Shepard's murder whether the religious right's anti-gay rhetoric didn't add to a climate of hate that overall helps encourge violence against gays.

That then got me wondering what else the religious right has publicly said about judges, and whether a climate of hate against judges is being created in America. Here's what I found doing just a cursory look.

Gary Bauer:
'A radical political agenda is being forced on the American people by un-elected, left-wing judges who are intent on remaking our country,' he says.
"A conservative Christian activist says a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is proof that many of this nation's judges are on a quest for a religion-free America. Earlier this week, the high court refused to consider the appeal of a judicial ban on cadet-led mealtime prayers at Virginia Military Institute.... Vision America president Rick Scarborough says the effects of the VMI ruling will be far-reaching. For one thing, he fears the nation is in danger of raising up a generation of military officers without religious values. And he believes by such rulings, the United States is pitting itself against God."
Family Research Council:
Gay Activists and Liberal Judges are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage.... same-sex marriage would logically lead to marriages based on polygamy, incest, and pedophilia."
FRC email 10/22/03:
This is how important the fight for America's judiciary has become: we're now dealing with activist judges who are determining who among us is permitted to live, and who will be left to die.... The time to take back our judiciary has come. Innocent lives are depending on us.
Jerry Falwell email, November 20, 2003:
"militant jurists"
American Center for Law and Justice email, 3/13/03:
They want to see activist judges appointed - and confirmed - who will re-interpret the law to fit their own political agenda. It's an aggressive campaign ... and it's one of the most outrageous and dangerous I've seen in many years!
ACLJ email, 3/3/04:
It is clear that existing state and federal laws may not keep activist judges and local officials from marrying same-sex couples ... even if it means they are committing a CRIME!
The Christian Defense Coalition spokesman points out that the decision by activist judges that the most innocent of all life is not protected has resulted in the ongoing, legalized murder of 3,000 unborn babies in the U.S. each day.
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., chief sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment:
"Our nation has a set of activist judges in Massachusetts and a rogue mayor in San Francisco. It is evident that they will openly aid and abet the homosexual lobby. These events over the past week clearly show that gay activists will skirt the law to create a new privilege that has never existed in this country."
Republican National Committee:
In an e-mail message, Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, confirmed that the party had sent the mailings. "When the Massachusetts Supreme Court sanctioned same-sex marriage and people in other states realized they could be compelled to recognize those laws, same-sex marriage became an issue,'' Ms. Iverson said. "These same activist judges also want to remove the words 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Stephen Bennett, "ex"-gay and spokesman for Concerned Women for America, emai:
four tyrannical judges have taken MA -- as well as America -- hostage and their immoral ruling may change the course of history of our great country - forever. The destructive impact that "gay" marriage will have on the entire nation is unimaginable.... The Bible talks of tumultuous times past - and future - when governments directly opposes the law of God. As the apostles said, "We should obey God rather than man." We are at such a time in America.

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