Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University and legal affairs editor of the New Republic, was the first to try to link threats against judges with conservative criticism of the judiciary. In the Washington Post ("It's The Law Not the Judge," March 27, 2005), Rosen wrote: "The U.S. Marshals Service reports a 'dramatic increase' in threats against federal judicial officials in recent years. And political attacks on judges seem to grow ever more vitriolic. The title of a best-selling new book makes its unsubtle point: 'Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America."
This is an incredibly irresponsible allegation for which Rosen offers not a single shred of evidence or even an anecdote. The online magazine Slate, National Public Radio, and Newsweek repeated these charges. These are supposed to be responsible news outlets.
Even a cursory research effort would have disproved this allegation. In March 2004, the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, reported, "According to the United States Marshals Service, most threats against judges are made by individuals angry about the outcome of a particular court case in which they, or people they know, were involved."
In fact, in the recent instances where an Atlanta trial judge was murdered, and the husband and mother of a federal judge were murdered, prove the point. The killers were disgruntled parties angry with the outcome of their specific cases.
Moreover, these media outlets would have us believe that only conservative criticism of the judiciary could contribute to threats against judges, as if years of liberal vitriol against Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and many of President George Bush's nominees (a number of whom are sitting judges) could not have played a role. So, too, is the extensive leftwing organizational network -- with their war rooms and grassroots efforts -- ignored.
It's time that the media stop repeating the big lie and report honestly about the legitimate concerns a large segment of the population has with judicial activism.