DeLay Outlines Strategy Against Federal Judges
By CARL HULSE, New York Times
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
WASHINGTON, April 19 - Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, sharply criticized Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court on Tuesday and said the House Judiciary Committee would explore what the authors of the Constitution intended when they said federal judges hold their post on the basis of good behavior.
"We want to define what good behavior means," Mr. DeLay said in an extended appearance on a Fox News radio show in which Tony Snow was host.
Mr. DeLay, who described the federal courts on Tuesday as the "left's last legislative body," has intensified his criticism of the judiciary since federal judges refused to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo. He said he could not predict whether Congress might try to remove any federal judges as a result of the committee's review.
"What we're going to do is we're going to look at this issue and look at the Constitution, try to educate the American people as to what the checks and balances are, and who knows where that will lead us," Mr. DeLay said.
He singled out Justice Kennedy, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan but has been criticized by conservatives for citing international law in a recent ruling barring the execution of juveniles.
"That's just outrageous," Mr. DeLay said in the Fox interview. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."
Mr. DeLay restated his willingness to appear before the House ethics committee to respond to questions raised about his overseas travel, and asserted that Democrats were keeping the committee from organizing this session to prevent him from exonerating himself.
"I'm going before the ethics committee anyway and try to force them into organizing," he said.
Representative Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the committee, has said he will not let the panel organize for this year until Republicans reverse rule changes that he believes will hinder its ability to operate.
In the interview, Mr. DeLay said many Democratic members of Congress had quietly approached him to tell him that they believed he was being treated unfairly. "Very many of them," he said.
Mr. DeLay also said the barrage of questions about his conduct had been hard on his family and his staff, but, he added, "it certainly has gotten me closer to God."