Mr. DeLay faulted courts for what he said was their invention of rights to abortion and prohibitions on school prayer, saying courts had ignored the intent of Congress and improperly cited international standards and precedents. "These are not examples of a mature society," he said, "but of a judiciary run amok."Despite some overheated calls for drastic steps against the judiciary -- one congressional staffer said "mass impeachments" might be needed -- DeLay seems to have reined himself in after the recent criticism:
"The failure is to a great degree Congress's," Mr. DeLay said. "The response of the legislative branch has mostly been to complain. There is another way, ladies and gentlemen, and that is to reassert our constitutional authority over the courts."
"As passionately as we all feel, especially about issues of life and death, the fact is that constitutional rule of law is a matter for serious and rational discussion," he said. "People on all sides of this debate need to approach the issue for what it is: a legitimate debate by people of good will trying to clarify the proper constitutional role of courts."And here's a second article in today's Times about Congress and the judiciary, this one about how partisan strategies about judicial confirmation will play out in the Senate:
With Republicans threatening to exercise the so-called "nuclear option" by changing Senate rules to prevent judicial filibusters, the Senate Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, warned Thursday that if Republicans were successful, it would lead to a slippery slope of other rule changes.Is it too much to hope that things are cooling off, that, post-Schiavo, a reasonable tone will come back into fashion?
"What they're saying," Mr. Reid said, referring to Republicans, "is that this so-called nuclear option is for judges only momentarily. Next it will be for Bolton, next it will be for Crawford, next it will be for Johnson."
With most of the Senate's leadership in Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, it was difficult to tell how these fights would play out. Republicans are keeping a wary eye on the Democrats' maneuvers. One senior Republican aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Republicans were withholding judgment as they waited to see if the Democrats' objections would drag out the confirmations indefinitely or could be "resolved reasonably."