Dear Aunt Sophie,
I am a retired Supreme Court justice who is mightily distressed about all the nasty things being said about us and about judges in general.
For example, some people – they know who they are – have muttered dark things about impeachment when we didn’t decide cases the way they would have preferred. This rabble-rousing can have deadly effects. In case you didn’t know, two judges were murdered recently and I blame the people who promote disrespect for the judiciary as much as I blame the killers.
Judges deserve respect. Oh, I know some of them, uh us, don’t earn it, but I think we should get it anyway. It isn’t easy being a judge, you know. You have to make some very unpopular decisions. It isn’t like politics where you can say one thing and do another. Unless you grow in office, of course. Growth is a natural part of the human condition. Honestly, would you respect a person who’d held exactly the same views throughout his or her entire life?
You must know the saying: A liberal is a conservative with a heart. In other words, a liberal is a person who’s managed to grow an organ where there wasn’t one before, and if you don’t think that’s laudable you need to grow a brain.
Don’t you realize that a judge who is always worried about impeachment can be stricken with judicial paralysis? I assure you I would never have been able to make any decisions at all if I’d had to look over my shoulder the whole time I was on the bench. And I held a very important position on the Court. I was the Swing Vote. Do you have any idea how hard it is to try to keep such a weighty Court from veering left or right? It’s like trying to steer a big heavy barge with a tiny rudder. That’s really why I retired. I was exhausted.
Some commentators still won’t quit yapping about impeaching various judges. This is so nasty. These are the same people who ridicule my former colleague - the only woman on the Court now, I might point out - for falling asleep during an argument. For heaven’s sake – anyone can fall asleep during a boring presentation. Don’t tell me you never fell asleep in Statistics 101. Everybody does, and nobody thinks anything of it. The professor just drones on and eventually everybody wakes up and goes home or whatever. So why are they making such a to-do about a Supreme Court justice sleeping through an argument about redistricting? The poor thing was undoubtedly overtired.
Things are getting entirely too personal for my taste. If people want the best judges they’d better keep in mind that judges have feelings, too.
There. Now I feel better.
What a lovely place this world would be if no one had anything to fear from the people to whom he is ultimately responsible.
In this perfect world, CEO’s would be able to pump up their companies’ profits, pillage their workers’ pension plans and dump their stocks on unsuspecting investors; presidents could pocket shady library contributions from foreign countries, permit the sale of sensitive rocket technology to their governments in return for those contributions and feign ignorance of the meaning of “is” while their wives were slobbering over the wives of known terrorists.
In this Eden, exhausted judges would be able to sleep so much more soundly since they’d know they could release unpunished child rapists into the community without ever hearing about it from the pesky kvetches whose kids they’d be putting at risk. They could even let themselves dream of all the little tidbits they could throw to private developers by means of the judicious exercise of eminent domain.
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?
And what is it that makes some people think it’s OK to make comments about other people’s physical state? It’s just so darn rude for anyone to notice a judge copping a few Z’s on the bench. Ok, nobody wants to come before a tired, cranky judge, so let’s hear it for the judicial snooze, but to comment on it? That’s almost as churlish as suggesting that mourners attending the funerals of prominent liberals seem to express their grief differently from other folks, or remarking that none of the 9-11 hijackers were Jewish. And let’s not forget how dissed the French would feel if the Narcoleptic Nonet failed to give equal weight to the Napoleonic Code in reaching their decisions.
Commentators have feelings, too, you know. If you can’t stand the heat, go back to the kitchen.
Good luck and God bless.
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