History is full of men who somehow managed to be wildly successful, only to be revealed as lunatics, madmen or incompetent. It’s an incredible thing to read about Caligula or Nero and think about what it must have been like to serve in the Imperial government during their reigns. According to Seneca, Caligula was presiding over games and ordered his guards to throw an entire section of the crowd into the arena during intermission to be eaten by animals because there were no criminals to be prosecuted and he was bored.
Imagine being in the next section over.
The thought that always comes to my mind is how it was possible for such lunatics to get into power. In most cases, it was simply the result of a faulty system of succession. A favorite example of this is Christian VII of Denmark. He became the king of Denmark because he was the next in line, despite his mental illness. Christian was a chronic masturbater who made visiting dignitaries play leapfrog with one another. He also would slap people in the face for no reason.
In the case of legendary madmen like Caligula and Nero, their madness came on after they assumed power so maybe it was just bad luck. Tiberius, Caligula’s predecessor started out as a perfectly sane and normal ruler, but slowly became a paranoid tyrant. Of course, there are example of men who rise to power simply because they are devious schemers. They finally get to the top and find they have no skill for the job.
The madmen and lunatics get all the attention, but history is littered with examples of mediocrities managing to thread the needle somehow, ending up on top, only to be undone by their own stupidity. In my lifetime, Jimmy Carter is the most obvious example. Carter was a smart man in an extremely narrow sense, but he was a terrible politician and he suffered from delusions of grandeur. His four years as president featured a series of unforced errors that still boggle the mind.
The point is, life is big and complicated with lots of variables. Under the right conditions, the dice can land the wrong way and we end up with a lunatic on the Supreme Court, which is why we have an impeachment system. if a nut winds up in the White House or on the bench, they can be removed. It does not happen often, but it’s a remedy, just in case we end up with someone like, say, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor submitted a racially-charged dissent in a Fourth Amendment case on Monday, which commentators hailed as a “Brown/Black Lives Matter manifesto.”
The case, Utah v. Strieff, was occasioned when police stopped Salt Lake City man Edward Strieff on leaving a house suspected to quarter drug activity. The state of Utah concedes the initial stop was illegal, as the officers in question had no probable cause to seize and search Strieff.
During the course of the stop, officers discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a small traffic violation, and methamphetamine in his pocket. The Court was asked to decide whether the exclusionary rule — which prohibits police and prosecutors from using evidence obtained illegally — applies when an officer learns during an illegal stop that there is a warrant for an individual’s arrest, and finds additional contraband while executing the arrest on said warrant.
The High Court ruled 5-3 that the arrest, and the evidence obtained during the arrest, were legitimate, even if the initial stop was not. Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion, joined by the Chief Justice, and Justices Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito.
Sotomayor filed a peppery dissent, joined in part by Justice Ginsburg.
“The white defendant in this case shows that anyone’s dignity can be violated in this manner,” she wrote. “But it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny. For generations, black and brown parents have given their children ‘the talk’— instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.”
“We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are ‘isolated,’” she continued. “They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere.”
Elsewhere in the dissent, she characterizes the United States as a “carceral state,” and pillories the “civil death” endured by those subject to arrest, a process she describes in vivid terms. She also accused the Court of treating minority communities as “second class citizens.”
The dissent’s citations are as interesting as the text itself, which read like a survey of the American black literary tradition. At various points, she cites “The Souls of Black Folk,” by W. E. B. Du Bois, Michelle Alexander, a law professor who has written extensively on over incarceration, and the more radical works of James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Where does one start with this? This is a Supreme Court Justice, not a college freshmen writing her first college paper. The nonsense about blacks being the victims of police harassment has been debunked so many times, even race hustlers have dropped it. The facts on black crime are simply too easy to lookup. Here’s a study from the Obama administration that tells us that young black males are 3% of the population, but commit 27% of homicides. You would think a judge would know about this.
Of course, that misses the elephant in the room. Sotomayor is launching off on a Black Lives Matter rant over a white guy, who was the alleged victim. A fanatic is someone who can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject. When you layer in the references to guys like Genius T. Coates, it is not unreasonable to wonder if this woman has not lost her marbles. She may not be randomly slapping people or demanding members of the gallery be fed to the lions, but she is acting just as nutty as those legends I mentioned at the start.
How did we end up with a mentally disturbed dwarf on the high court? The same way Christian VII landed on the throne of Denmark or Caligula donned the purple. The process for selecting judges means ticking the racial boxes and a willingness to catch spears for the One True Faith. Obama nominated this woman because she was a Latin lesbian. Finding someone who checks those boxes and is competent in the law is impossible so he just took a loyal fanatic. The result is we have a mentally disturbed woman on the high court – for life.
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