In a matter of a week, the much-vaunted “conservative” Supreme Court sided with two lower court decisions in separate cases to force the state of Idaho to offer a castration “operation” to a male inmate who thinks he’s a female and to release 837 criminals in Ohio. Meanwhile, the court refuse to intervene on behalf of our inalienable rights being trampled every day by state governments. If this is what a conservative Supreme Court is all about, I’d hate to see what a liberal court looks like.
It’s truly hard to conjure up a more extreme ruling from a court than one suggesting that it’s cruel and unusual punishment NOT to offer a castration to a male inmate in prison requesting one. Yet that is exactly what the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did when three judges issued an order in August requiring Idaho’s Department of Corrections to fund “gender confirmation surgery” for Adree Edmo.
Unfortunately, none of us are shocked by the depravity from the Ninth Circuit any more. What is shocking, however, is the fact that the Supreme Court refused to stay the ruling last Thursday. One would have expected the high court that is supposedly conservative to easily overturn this decision at the first opportunity. In Estelle v. Gamble (1976), the Supreme Court already set the standard of an Eighth Amendment violation for denying medical care to prisoners as “only medical care so unconscionable as to fall below society’s minimum standards of decency.” Moreover, a First Circuit ruling in 2014 and a Fifth Circuit ruling in March 2019 stated the exact opposite of the Ninth Circuit.
Yet on May 21, the Supreme Court denied the motion from Idaho to stay the Ninth Circuit’s order. According to the court’s order, only Justices Thomas and Alito would have granted the application for stay from the state. How the other three GOP appointees, especially Roberts and Kavanaugh who seem to worship precedent, could allow a ruling like this to stand is stupefying.
This is the second time in recent months that the “conservative” Supreme Court has denied a stay to Idaho in the face of an unprecedented Ninth Circuit ruling creating radical phantom rights centered on twisting the Eighth Amendment. In September, the high court denied a stay of a Ninth Circuit ruling creating an Eighth Amendment right to camp out on Boise’s city streets. The city issued a public health and safety ordinance to clear out these encampments, but the Ninth Circuit ruled that it would be tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment to do so – just like denying the “right” to a castration procedure.
Now let’s move on to the Ohio prison case, because it appears that criminals are the only ones with rights these days. On April 22, a federal judge in Ohio ordered the Bureau of Prisons to release 837 federal inmates in one Ohio facility into home confinement for fear of the coronavirus. Courts all over the country have already mandated the release of state prisoners. In total, 67,000 have been released from state prisons and jails at a very painful cost to public safety. This is the first fight over the federal prison system. Yesterday, the court voted 6-3 to deny a request for a stay, at least for now. Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch would have granted the stay.
It’s truly shocking to watch how the virus can be used as a pretext to eliminate the entire Bill of Rights for peaceful Americans without due process. However, these same courts have no problem using the virus to override the very generous due process that resulted in incarceration of dangerous criminals. The Ohio judge said that anyone deemed at risk from the virus must be released, regardless of his threat level or how much time he has served.
As I’ve observed before, the virus has already spread far and wide in prisons, and there is no point in mass releases now. The death rate in prisons is remarkably low, most cases are asymptomatic, and there is therefore no reason why prisoners should have a greater right to avoid the virus than the general population. In fact, by releasing these criminals, not only would the federal government endanger public safety, but it would be releasing younger people into the general population, where they would be more likely to spread the virus. The BOP has already taken more precautions to quarantine in the facilities than the prisoners would abide by were they released.
Isn’t it interesting how some of these same allegedly conservative justices refuse to side with individual rights when it comes to states shutting down businesses, infringing upon individual movements, and mandatory mask requirements, yet they suddenly discover individual liberty for criminals, including the “right” to a taxpayer-funded castration, the right to criminal release, and the right to homeless encampments on city streets?
Hey, phony conservative justices: If you are so into transmogrifying the Cruel and Unusual Punishment clause of the Bill of Rights – even against public safety goals of a state – shouldn’t that apply to the lockdowns and unprecedented assaults against our rights? Or is the Bill of Rights only for criminals?
If the “my body, my choice” mantra applies to murdering the unborn and requesting us to pay for castration, then it should apply to our own bodily integrity not to wear masks and not to be spied on by the corona fascists.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.