About an hour ago, Sen. John Cornyn gave a speech that said:

"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence." [Senate Floor, 4/4/05]

Considering the circumstances of the shootings, no, probably not. But if the situation were different, we know who to blame for it, right? I'll give you a hint: It's not the judges, who do their jobs as arbiters unaccountable to the voters and beholden solely to the constitution. It's the politicians, who have forgotten their roles as deliberators and assumed the guise of demagogues. Gutter-dwellers like Cornyn and DeLay, who threaten judges and invite retribution against them. "Leaders" like George W. Bush, who couldn't be bothered to reject the congressional majority leader's statement, and Dick Cheney, who could offer only a yawning, halfhearted dismissal. Institutions like the Republican party, which couldn't rouse itself from its moral slumber and repudiate a statement that was nothing less than an invitation to assault a foundational portion of our republic.

The whole thing stinks of nothing so much as McCarthyism, with demagogues assaulting America's foundational values while allied opportunists stand by and watch, not necessarily in agreement with the statements but aware of the political benefits they confer. Republicans, who've long advocated strict adherence to the constitution, sit meekly by while some of their numbers attempt to destroy the judicial independence the Founders worked so hard to grant. As a party, they should be ashamed. As individuals, they should be clamoring to expel the offenders. What Tom Delay and his friends are advocating is, in the simplest and clearest terms, unAmerican. And anyone who stands by while they do it is betraying their country as well.

Update: Oliver suggests you contact the "good" Senator. So do I:

Contact Senator Cornyn:

Tel: 202-224-2934

Fax: 202-228-2856