The Times focused on remarks made earlier this month by Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT) before a joint session of the Montana Legislature. In speaking on a recent decision about wolves and the Endangered Species Act, Congressman Rehberg wondered, “How can we put some of these judicial activists on the endangered species list. I am still working on that!”
While he did not explicitly name the “judicial activists” (a term I abhor) in question, it was all too apparent to the children of the judge who issued the opinion. They wrote a letter in protest to Montana’s Independent Record, pointing out how disturbing it is that an elected official would think such remarks acceptable in public discourse.
Be you conservative or liberal, disagreeing with certain judicial rulings and opinions is a fact of life if you live in the United States. How appalling then that some of our fellow citizens can only handle that kind of disagreement by wishing harm to others. Instead of targeting someone with implied or explicit threats, why not take some time to bone up on how our branches of government work? After all, the judge was simply doing his job of interpreting and applying the law.
As an alternative, we can peacefully vote to change laws or elect people to do so on our behalf. And I would add, even though I don’t agree with him politically, I don’t dispute, and neither should anyone else, the Congressman’s right to work on changing the Endangered Species Act if he doesn’t like it. But as the Times points rightly out, he also “should protect the judge from political pressure, not subject him to a nasty kind that encourages others to do the same.”