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LIBERTY IN TIMES OF CRISIS - page 29 / 32

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juries, has treated them as an encumbrance.

Crises tend to encourage violations of due process. But as Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson said in 1943: “The very purpose of the Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by courts.”

THE “RED” HUNTS: In 1934, with fear of “Reds” rising to a feverish pitch around the country, suspected communists had as much to fear from police as from mob violence. Pictured is an alleged Communist Party headquarters in Berkeley, Calif. after a police raid.

partisans have tried to limit the courts’ ability to intervene in labor disputes, have opposed court rulings invalidating loyalty oaths, and have tried to strip courts of their jurisdiction over draft issues. Court-shackling efforts mushroomed in the 1970s and ‘80s, as members of Congress sought to overturn busing, school prayer and abortion decisions. In the 1990s, Congress tried to legislate the constitutionality of posting the Ten Commandments on government property, rather than leaving that to the courts.

But few administrations have been as openly contemptuous of the courts as that of George W. Bush which, by its outright defiance and circumvention of judges and

But few administrations have been as openly contemptuous of the courts as that of George W. Bush which, by its outright defiance and circumvention of judges and juries, has treated them as an encumbrance.

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