"Supreme" "Court," My Ass

Pedestal Magazine, Raleigh, NC, October 2004

Look, I know what you’re going to say, but just hear me out.

Here it goes: “The members of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the keepers of a book, those that make our justice system the Shining Light of the World Stage (and yes!) the universe itself, these eminence gris of all that is good and right in the Land of Oz, these nine Brethren and Sisteren who lead us into greener pastures and out of dark nights – these black-robed denizens of the Oak Bench and Marble Halls are just so full of horse-hockey that it’s coming out of their ears.”


(I don’t feel any better.)

In fact, I feel a little bit like crying.

Do you know why? I mean why they have it coming out of their ears?

Let me tell you what they said – and then maybe you’ll (hopefully!) feel like crying, too.

O.K. – here’s what they said: They said that the punishment (of executing the mentally retarded) violates the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

And, as relating to the execution of minors, here, again, is what the Keepers of All That is Right and Good in our society opined: “The execution of persons for crimes committed when they were under 18 years of age violates the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

I’m not kidding; these are real quotes. Our Justices said just this, as regards to the sentencing to death of little chilbains and the dim-witted.

“Evolving standards.” That’s a direct quote!

I mean, think about it. In 1967, these same black robes (well, not exactly the same black robes, but black robes, nonetheless) had the ill will to outlaw execution for all of the citizenry of this great land, not just dimwits and minors, due to certain “evolving standards of decency” that were currently in vogue, back then.

Of course, as evolution rarely grinds to a halt, the “standards of decency” continued to progress and the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, only this time including idiots and kids. By 1998, evolution had continued on apace and the United States executed the third highest numbers of its citizenry in the whole world, behind China and the “Democratic” Republic of Congo and just ahead of that dad-burned “axi” of evil, Iran.

Insistent evolution!

Now they’re starting to run in circles, and they want to take the joy out of executing these stupid little killers – for the good of all of us. How could they?

I mean, at least they’re leaving us the rest (to execute, I mean) – but really!

Not to sound ungrateful; after all, where would we be without these plumb lines of the given law (the Justices, that is – not the retards and idiots)?

At least (and we can Thank Goodness for this!) they have left us the one thing that is truly satisfying about the Law of the Penalty of Death – and that is electrocution. Where would we be without it? It stops countless criminals IN THEIR TRACKS as they weigh their course of action against an almost certain eye-bugging, ear-smoking death.

Now think about it – even though the “evolving standards of decency” have smitten our delicious revenge on the young and not-too-smart, at least we are left with a cathartic retribution fit to help allay those fears deep within us, as manifested in the executable segment of the population that continues to offend.

And what’s more, (and this is a bonus!) there is nothing so instructive to criminals, nor as satisfying to a society, as the smell of a frying a man (or child or retard, though that pleasure has recently been taken from us). There is nothing so sweet as reading a news account of a bolt of electricity coursing through a human body until smoke cometh forth from out of the ears and the eyes poppeth from out of the head liketh unto marbles, and I thank the Good Justices that this is neither cruel nor unusual.

It is deserved!

And let me tell you why this form of state-sponsored frying is neither cruel nor unusual, but it is deserved (and you will get a sense of the True Power of the black-robed mental acumen that loves and protects us).

After all, the reasoning goes, this frying of people is going on all over the country at all times – Virginia to Texas to California (just to name a few) – so it definitely is not unusual! Any idiot can see that! And something that is as usual as this particular manner of cooking human flesh absolutely positively cannot be cruel, because if it were cruel, we definitely wouldn’t stand for it.

After all, Americans are many things, but we are not (by our nature) cruel.

We are “good.”

My president told me so!

But durn-it, they’ve taken away the delicious joy of frying young’uns and morons, now – those god-forsaken “evolving standards of decency” have robbed us of our birthright! All of a sudden, these “evolving standards” (that are about as predictable as a drunken ant weaving across a tangled web of spaghetti) have informed the Justices – and through them, us – that the frying of certain classes of peoples, while until recently quite clearly “usual,” all of a sudden was viewed as (perhaps) the teensiest, eensiest bit, um – “unpleasant.”

(Not “cruel,” mind you -- after all, when administered by Good Solid Americans who despise flag burners and faggot marriage, state sponsored murder is akin to Love. And secondly, we are most definitely NOT a cruel people. My President told me so . . .)

But perhaps they (the Justices, the Keepers) finally had to admit that certain “evolving standards of decency” implied that (perhaps) this frying of the young and stupid was, well, unpleasant.

To be fried, mind you – but not to be the fry-er (that is, the one doing the frying), as this is an important task meted out to the Very Lucky, who are then compensated at $1.20 on the dollar for their “troubles.”

Listen; don’t worry if these aforementioned “evolving standards of decency” all of a sudden suck the frying of the normal, adult, smart people right out of our daily cultural legacy. Because we are ready for this one – those Justices can only be hoodwinked so many times by this idiot “decency” defense.

We stand firm in our people-frying rights and no god-fearing black-robe will ever have the ill will to take that away from us.

Enough decency, already!!

Listen (again) – thank god that we are not only a decent, loving people, but also an ingenious one, as well. It turns out that we have another, uh, let’s call it “thing” in the “can” just in case those “evolving standards” someday do in fact declare that the frying of people – any people – is unpleasant and this “thing” that saves us from worry is actually a “cocktail,” and when administered deep into the deepest recesses of the deserving it, well – it, um, it – kills.

You know, dead.

You see, and this is the beauty. No “evolving standards” will EVER be able to find a “cocktail” cruel and unusual. Hardly! How cruel can a “cocktail” be?! After all, no good Justice would be caught dead without one at 5 pm at the Club – and they invariably find the experience not only “decent,” but also quite pleasurable.

So what if the verb usage is a tad different, with “administered” standing in for “imbibed” – I mean, just how the hell cruel can a cocktail be?! It’s certainly not cruel (unless you have one too many) and it most certainly is usual. Our Supreme Court Beings see virtually all of their friends, at one time or another, not only partaking of “cocktails,” but most definitely enjoying them, as well!


The human genius is particularly adept at smashing even the toughest of resilient conundrums – and we are darned lucky to have nine of our best sitting on our “Supreme” “Court.” And if they’re voting in your favor, to boot – as they did recently for a very large minority of the country – then life is good, boy!


Cocktails all around – and for the unlucky few, right in the old saphenous vein (or wherever).

But (sigh) – I guess that I’m just not a very good team player.

All of this has given me a sneaking suspicion – like an eructation that started by heading south but then ended stuck in the old craw.

And I guess that this is why I said what I said back at the beginning (and I can barely bring myself to say again!) and that is that the “Supreme” “Court” “Justices” are MORONS themselves. (Perhaps this is why they changed the law?!)

Well, I didn’t exactly say this, but I’d like to think that I implied it.

Call me crazy, but I just have the slightest inkling of a sneaking suspicion that these Justices are very quite busy serving Power over Truth. For “Truth,” you see, doesn’t “evolve.” Truth just stubbornly sits there – a lump of black obsidian that is (apparently) easy to ignore.

It’s a stubborn sonumagum, though – you can’t ever change the thing! Or really get rid of it . . .

But that Black-Robed Nine is clever sons of guns, themselves (you don’t become one without being clever, boy – no siree!) and they’ve discovered that if they sit in a certain position on the Oak Bench, they’ve discovered that they can kind of cover and sort of hide that obstinate black obsidian annoyance that is always hulking obnoxiously in the shadows of the Court.

And then.

With the thing (Truth) virtually unseen under the folds of their black robes, they can say things (not-Truth) like, “Due to the evolving standards of decency in society” with a straight-laced face, and then pick up their paychecks (always in reverential and slightly apologetic tones) and then off to the Club for “cocktails.”

So have you figured out what “gets me” yet?

I think that it goes back to Gandhi (who was not clever enough by half to ever become a Supreme Court Justice, but did develop an odd fetish for black obsidian) – Gandhi, who said, “God is Truth.”

It was another one of those horrible statements that comes without asterisk or caveat or a user’s manual – you know, like, “Thou shalt not kill” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

After all, these are exactly the kind of statements that make the Supreme Court Justices so absotively necessary. I mean, just how are we to interpret these phrases? Whoever wrote these things had clearly never heard of Osama Bin Laden or the Palestinians or the Israeli State or the Hutus or the Tutsis or any other number of almost untold persons and things that cause (by necessity, only) the absolute obligation to interpretation of absolute statements in light of the extenuating circumstances that surround and threaten to asphyxiate us.

Someone must tell us what to think!

Somewhere along the line they must have misplaced the caveats and emptor and explanations and so those poor Black-Robed Martyrs (to a certain type of “truth”) must sacrifice themselves on the altar of parse-ed-ness and reconstruct the true meaning of these oblique statements out of whole, black robes and dole the new implications out in revered bits on pseudo-real spurious parchment-like, sepia-toned crispy paper-approximating substance.

Dole it all out, like cod liver oil to a wartime baby.

Maybe I’m not such a good citizen, after all, let alone what Tolstoy said (“Patriotism is stupid and immoral;” that’s what he said). But something, probably a loose wicket or gasket or small washer around the old head bone, must be missing, and for some dawg-gonned reason I feel compelled to question the gathered wisdom of the Nine Dark Robes and I’ll be damned – but I have yet to be able to find the caveats and emptor and asterisk and footnotes and successive jump-pages and explanations of those annoying little statements that people like Gandhi, Christ and God Itself have hung around our collective necks like a damned albatross.

(Whatever the heck that is.)

And then, late one night deep in the lonely darkness when all the world slept (or whatever), a horrible, absolutely horrible thought dawned on me through the inky, obsidian night.

Maybe the Supreme Court Justices got no robes on!


And maybe, just maybe what they are so deeply involved in and that which we pay so much for in terms of lives and ecosystems and a stolen democracy – the price of it all – maybe their real job, their real line of interpretation, that with which they fill their quiet, weighty days is really, um. Blasphemy.

Maybe they are Supreme Court Blasphemers.


Maybe meting out justice according to the ebb and flow of the “evolving standards of decency” is really like interpreting the asterisk attached to “Truth.”

Or looking for some halfway point between Truth and Power, and just to be on the safe side, moving the ledger a tiny, weensie bit closer to Power than Truth. You know, in an “evolving” sort of maneuver.

I don’t think that you, personally, have anything to fear because (ultimately) I really think that the problem is mine (congenital) and it gives me this kind of heartburn yearning for Truth and, really, a kind of “run run run” away from Power and causes me to HATE HATE HATE the State Sponsored Blasphemy that passes for Justice.

Gee whiz, I do.

(I still want to cry . . .)