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Ginsburg, O'Connor received death threats after Republican criticisms

[JURIST] US Supreme Court [official website] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg [OYEZ profile] and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [OYEZ profile] have both said in recent speeches that they have been the target of death threats. In a speech [text] last month at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Ginsburg said someone called for the two justices' deaths in an internet chat room because they sometimes looked to foreign laws or court rulings when making their decisions. Ginsburg said the threat was apparently prompted by proposals made by Republicans in Congress that would prohibit the high court from looking to foreign law, but she defended the court's use of foreign decisions saying they were used for guidance only.

Since stepping down from the court, Justice O'Connor has complained that the criticism has hindered the court in making decisions in areas such as gay marriage, and echoed Ginsburg's contentions of death threats during a speech [NPR audio commentary] at Georgetown Law School last week. O'Connor made reference to remarks [JURIST report] by former House Majority leader Tom DeLay following the death of Terri Schiavo. DeLay called for the impeachment of all judges involved in the case and later remarked that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." Many interpreted his remarks as a call for violence against judges. Security for judges is also becoming a national concern according to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] who reported this week that 75 percent of the country's federal judges have requested home security systems [JURIST report] funded by the government. AP has more. Friday's Washington Post has additional coverage.

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