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Monday, December 1, 2008

Do Judges Have Free Speech Rights?

This would not be a story had Attorney General Micheal Mukasey collapsed during his speech to the Federalist Society. But since he did, and since "someone" had heckled him at one point, the "heckler" is getting just as much attention from right-wing bloggers.

It turns out that the person that shouted at Mukasey was Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders.

After listening to Mukasey defend the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies — its detainment practices at Guantánamo Bay, its interpretation of the Geneva Conventions’ reach — Sanders stood and shouted “Tyrant! You are a tyrant!”

“Frankly, everybody in the room was applauding or sometimes laughing, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to stand up and say something.’ And I did,” Sanders told The Seattle Times Tuesday. “I stood up and said, ‘Tyrant,’ then I sat down again, then I left.”

More ( plus an interesting comments section ) here @ THINK PROGRESS

Michelle Malkin - that twitchy siren of "truth" amongst her own adorning fans - seems to think that Sanders shouldn't just make a formal apology, but one that meets her "standards".

Over the weekend, I wrote about Washington state Supreme Court justice Richard Sanders, an old friend of mine from my days in Seattle who had been identified on Friday by lawyer Wendy Long as the man who heckled Attorney General Michael Mukasey during his Federalist Society address........To be clear: I don’t think this is a massive scandal. But I would like to know the truth and I think people in Washington state deserve to know it, too. Sanders earned my deepest respect as I covered his pro-life, pro-liberty stands. When he was unfairly accused of judicial misconduct in the past, I said so. And if I think he violated the spirit of the code of judicial conduct at the Federalist Society dinner, I will say so, too.

A sitting judge acting like an unhinged Code Pink protester would certainly seem to cross the line.

Moreover, dancing around a simple factual question now is, at the very least, annoying. And unseemly.

So, the question stands - did Justice Sanders violate his "code of conduct"? Moreover, do sitting Judges have free speech rights when they are not "sitting at the bench".

Considering the fact that Malkin, and many like her, are so concerned about Judges "legislating from the bench" and her previous defense of Sanders, it seems that Malkin doesn't think he has the same rights as others. I'll not venture into the la-la-land of conservative debate - the "what if..." line of thinking - but when you look at how easily Malkin maligns Sanders with the likes of Code Pink ( one of Malkin's favorite boogie-men ) you begin to see that something as simple as a person being "heckled" is an outrageous - or unhinged - act in Malkin's eyes.

It appears that no one is able to express their emotions without being accused of being part of a "mob", or have the mentality of one. It is becoming more and more evident that the lunatic-fringe - of which Malkin is a primary voice for - consider any and everyone that expresses their voice, even though they may agree with them on other issues, somehow tainted and unfit to serve the office of which they are elected.

The point, if in fact malkin has one, is that free speech extends only as far as her own ideological thinking.

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