Washington, DC - In a scathing dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to take a certain case, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor not only attacked police officers and their credibility but accused the nation's highest court of developing a "disturbing trend" of siding with police officers.
One of the Supreme Court's two most liberal Justices, she continued in her rant and said that this trend involved "siding" with police officers who have been accused of excessive force, at the expense of who she referred to as victims, according to The Washington Post. I would refer to them as defendants, suspects, or criminals.
Justice Sotomayor was joined in her dissent by the Supreme Court's second most liberal Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Neither is known for being supportive of law enforcement, but attacking the court's prior judgments is new territory.
The case in question, Salazar-Limon v. City of Houston, occurred during a 2010 traffic stop. Houston Police Officer Chris Thompson stopped Salazar-Limon's vehicle for speeding and suspected drunk driving. Officer Thompson told Salazar-Limon he was under arrest and began to handcuff him.
He said that Salazar-Limon tried to push him into traffic, and then moved his hand toward his waistband. Officer Thompson said that he told him to stop, and that he feared for his life. He said he shot Salazar-Limon, who later sued him for 'unconstitutional excessive force', according to Reuters.
Justice Sotomayor said that there has been no hesitation to reverse court decisions in cases involving the use of force, but that the Court rarely accepts cases where police officers are offered qualified immunity.
The concept of qualified immunity for police officers has been defined by the Supreme Court in the past as a way to protect them from frivolous lawsuits. The Court has said that law enforcement officers are entitled to qualified immunity when they have a reasonable basis to believe that their conduct was constitutional, even if their actual conduct falls somewhat short of the constitutional standard.
Two other Supreme Court Justices, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Clarence Thomas, issued a sharp rebuttal to the dissent. Justice Alito referred to five cases that Justice Sotomayor had used in her dissent, and said that in all but one of those cases there was no "published" dissent. If she's dissenting in a decision, it must be published, or it doesn't count.
He also said that she "has not identified a single case in which we failed to grant a similar petition filed by an alleged victim of unconstitutional police conduct."
Justice Sotomayer said that the Court was authorizing a "shoot first, think later" approach. She also said in her dissent that "there has been an increasing frequency of incidents in which unarmed men allegedly reach for empty waistbands when facing armed officers." This is a clear indication that Justice Sotomayer actually believes that law enforcement officers want to kill people for absolutely no reason.
Despite her impression that there is an increase in unarmed men who are killed by police for no reason, what we have actually seen is an increasing number of police officers who have been murdered, and an increasing number of anti-police politicians, liberals, and media pushing an anti-police, violent, and hate-filled agenda.
Justice Sotomayer said that a jury should have decided the Salazar-Limon case, noting that both men offered differing accounts of what happened. I don't think most criminals know what the truth is. And unfortunately, unless you were there, you have to take the facts presented in their totality.
Justice Alito responded that there was nothing unusual about the case. He said that appeals courts decide hundreds of cases every year to determine whether "thin evidence provided by a plaintiff is just enough to survive a motion for summary judgment of not quite enough. This is one such case."
None of the other justices had any remarks about the decision, not to accept the Salazar-Limon case.
We've seen the way that people live their lives, keeping their head in the sand, and failing to examine information in the proper context. We would expect a supreme court justice to judge information based on the actual facts, within the proper context. However, it appears that Justice Sotomayor is lost within her own biases.
Thankfully, the balance of the Supreme Court is shifting, thanks to President Trump and the recent appointment of new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Our police officers go out every day to do a thankless job, not knowing if they will go home at night. They need support and reason, not an overall judgment against their decisions without examining the specific circumstances of each case individually.
Thankfully, most of the justices are reasonable people, even if they have opinions that we may disagree with.
Do you think that Justice Sotomayer revealed an unreasonable bias against police officers? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments.