Justice Sotomayor’s thuggish fantasy
A remarkable moment took place Monday night, as a sitting justice of the Supreme Court of the United States expressed her fantasy of taking a baseball bat to Justice Scalia during sessions on the bench, if only one had been handy. Josh Verges of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, who broke the story, presents it as a warm-hearted anecdote, prefacing it carefully, before delivering the bombshell, itself quoted indirectly:
Speaking fondly of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who spoke at the U last year, Sotomayor said his death in February was like losing a family member, even though they’d spar on the job.
“There are things he’s said on the bench where if I had a baseball bat, I might have used it,” she said.
Nevertheless, it offers a troubling glimpse inside the mind of a justice. Who has such violent fantasies? And who on Earth would admit to it in public?
I suppose it would be politically incorrect to infer that her ethnic background had anything at all to with the sort of images that sprang to mind as she heard her brilliant colleague make his points. So we must look elsewhere.
Could a 1987 movie have planted a violent imagination in a wise Latina?
We can never really know what causes thoughts to flow into the minds of others. But we now know that an impulse toward violent mayhem toward a colleague is an acceptable part of a judicial temperament, judging from the lack of outcry over Justice Sotomayor’s words.
As to why a person of such grave responsibilities would utter such horrifying fantasies in public, I suspect that the justice was seduced by love-bombing into letting it all hang out too far. Josh Verges notes that she:
... spent most of that time also strolling through a packed 2,700-seat Northrop Auditorium, shaking hands, kissing friends and posing for selfies with students.
Photo by Renee Jones Schneider of the Star Tribune
Photos by Tim Rummelhoff
So an adoring crowd, gathered in what is characterized as "a warm and intimate environment," lulled Sonia Sotomayor into a classic Kinsley gaffe – accidentally telling the truth.
Or maybe, as a lawyer friend of mine told me, "she’s expressing the stuttering frustration of someone confronted by a superior intellect. Confronted by someone with better arguments."