2 September 2003
It's all in his head
An editorial by Robert A. Martin in The Montgomery Independent hints that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore might be removed from office, not for violating a direct order, but for being "mentally unable to perform his duties".
Susanna Cornett is annoyed with this notion:
[I]t appears that Moore's wrong here is believing something is right that others think is a clear violation of law. It seems to me that if all judges who did that were removed from the bench for mental incapacity as a result, courtrooms all over the country would suddenly be emptied and at least the 9th Circuit would be completely deserted.
Nice shot. If she'd left it at that, it would have rated Zinger status. Then she played the anti-religion card:
Yes, I realize that there are issues of following judicial rulings here, but I don't see Martin making that argument. Quite frankly, it seems to me that Martin is shading toward anti-religion here implying that at least part of Moore's "insanity" is belief in God.
I read the passage in question, and I didn't see that at all. I concede that she is more practiced than I at the art of ferreting out these things, but I think the average reader of the Montgomery paper, or of most papers, can distinguish between someone on some sort of quixotic crusade (such as Mr. Justice Moore) and someone who has actually gone off the deep end thinking he was doing the will of God. Mr Martin can be faulted here, I think, for relying too much on the opinions of "some court officials," but I'm not convinced he's equating (or even conflating) religion and insanity. If anything, I think he's managed to persuade himself that Roy Moore is an otherwise-okay sort of guy who happens to need treatment, an argument you'd hear more often in a courtroom where one of those fellows who has gone off the deep end is being tried which indicates that Susanna Cornett's Insanity defense? title, at least, is precisely correct.