State House Speaker Dean Cannon says they threaten the freedom and liberty of Americans.
U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams says they disregard our "national sovereignty."
Are they talking about Al-Qaida? Osama bin Laden?
No. American judges.
And so they are waging war against one of our own branches of government.
Forget separate but equal powers. Some politicians are convinced that some branches are more equal than others.
Cannon, the Republican from Winter Park, wants to split up the state Supreme Court and make it harder for appellate judges to keep their seats.
Specifically, he wants to require them to get 60 percent of the vote to stay in office.
It's an interesting argument for a legislator who garnered only 57.9 percent of the vote himself just a few months ago.
Adams' fight is a little less inventive. It was one that a predecessor, Tom Feeney, fought unsuccessfully, as well — a bill to ban courts from citing "foreign law" in any of their decisions.
In fact, Adams, a freshman Republican from Winter Park, is so intent on making this issue her calling card that she recently penned a piece for the Washington Times.
An Adams press release was headlined: "We Cannot Let Foreign Law Supersede the Constitution."
That certainly sounded reasonable. I mean, what if we started following the lead of wimpy countries like France? Next thing you know, we'll all be wearing berets, avoiding wars and making movies no one understands.
So I made a beeline for Chief Judge Belvin Perry down at the Orange County Courthouse, ready to express my disdain.
Judge Perry, I demand to know how many times you have cited international law in the Casey Anthony case this month!
"None," he responded.
OK, well, I demand to know how many times you've cited international law in ANY of your cases over the past year!
You're not getting off that easy, judge. I demand to know how many times in your entire legal career have you cited international law.
"Never," came the response.
Hmm, I thought. How curious.
Then again, Adams' bill focused on federal courts. So I tracked down Federal Chief Judge, Anne C. Conway and asked her how many times she had justified her rulings with international precedents.
"I don't know that I ever have," came the puzzled response from the jurist first appointed by the first President Bush. "Most of us are too busy doing our jobs to worry about what other countries are doing."
So where are all the socialist rulings? I went back to Adams to find out.
She responded that, back when she was a state legislator in Tallahassee, she often tried to pass important legislation — only to be told that she couldn't, because some court had relied upon a foreign ruling to prohibit such a thing.
Really? I wondered if she could give me an example.
She could not.
Instead, she referred to her op-ed, which contained three examples of national cases that had supposedly been inappropriately influenced by foreign laws. Two of them dealt with capital punishment, ruling against the execution of offenders who are "mentally retarded" or under 18. The other dealt with sodomy.
I asked the congresswoman if that was the kind of right she was fighting to protect — the right for America to execute the mentally disabled?
She said no; that it was really the principle of the matter, saying: "We have to maintain the integrity of our court system."
I don't think anyone argues with that. In fact, there are even legitimate debates among legal scholars about when, if ever, it's appropriate for U.S. courts to consider foreign precedents.
But there is very little scholarly about the current attacks being lobbed against our judiciary.
Instead, they represent one branch actively trying to limit the power of another — violating the spirit of the bedrock principle upon which our government is founded.
Said Judge Conway: "There seems to be too much focus on what we are doing and not enough focus on the fact that we are a co-equal branch."
Perry relayed that one of his judicial colleagues recently observed that some politicians seemed intent upon turning their branch into "a twig."
"And when one branch is not equal," Perry said, "you don't have a true democracy."
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