“If the law supposes that, the law is a[n] ass — a[n] idiot.” Most recognize the utterance of Mr. Bumble (of Dickens’s “Oliver Twist”) upon being reminded of a principle of England’s law of coverture: that he is responsible for the misdeeds of Mrs. Bumble, as the law presumes a husband controls his wife.
I do not know if there already is an annual “Bumble” award bestowed for the most preposterous judicial pronouncement. If not, I’ll start one. And the 2012 Bumble Award goes to: Kosilek v. Spencer, in which a Massachusetts district court held that state taxpayers must pay for a sex change operation for a male inmate who wants to be a woman. As if this needs a kicker, there is one. The winning plaintiff is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Robert Kosilek loves women so much, he wants to be one, although in 1990 he took it upon himself to do away with one who got on his nerves. He killed his wife. He strangled the woman, choked the life out of her, dumped her body in a car, and left it in a shopping mall parking lot. Kosilek was captured in New York, returned to Massachusetts, and convicted of first-degree murder. Assuming some Dukakis-like governor does not afford him weekend furloughs, or weaken the state’s no-parole law, Kosilek will die in prison.
Kosilek wants his penis and testicles sliced off, his body hair removed by electrolysis, a pair of rubber boobs slapped on, and whatever manner of makeshift vagina modern medicine has come up with. What use can he make of these implements in prison for life? Let’s not go there. But apparently, merely having them will ease the “mental anguish” he allegedly suffers in consequence of his “gender disorder,” and, according to his lawyers and the district court, the eighth amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the state to ease his anguish.
Who gives a rat’s ass if “Michelle” Kosilek suffers mental anguish? He brutally killed a woman. No mental anguish over that, eh? One may presume most lifers suffer a great deal of mental anguish. Those caged for life would have to be lunatics not to suffer mental anguish. The only way to relieve such anguish is to let them out of prison. Does the eighth amendment require that? (I almost fear asking the question will plant the idea in some federal judge’s head).
According to local media reports, Kosilek, fueled by hormone treatments, has already been “living as a woman in an all-male prison.” (There’s a scary thought). I suppose if “Michelle” does get the operation, he (she, whatever) will be moved to the female prison. (There’s another scary thought — moving a woman-strangler over to the women’s wing).
I predict advocates for Kosilek (the gay-bi-transgender-transsexual, etc. legal rights crowd) will take this inanity to its logical extreme. If the surgery is done, Kosilek will have to be moved to a female prison. Notwithstanding his (okay, her) new fake boobs and crotch, the fact remains that he was born a man. Unless surgeons are going to cut a foot of length off him, and medicate the musculature out of him, he (okay she) will probably retain superior physical strength over women. Now, how to protect those female inmates, who presumably have their own constitutional right not to be strangled while in state custody. Isolate Michelle? Oh no, another lawsuit asserting cruel and unusual confinement.
The ruling is some 130 pages long. Of course it is. Path-breaking absurdity is incompatible with brevity. I absolutely refuse to read this thing. There are some opinions not worth time out of this short life on earth. This is one of them. Even forensic, morbid curiosity about the mindset of those who embrace such claims and rationalize them to legal merit will not make me suffer through this. Is there some related precedent that supports the court’s conclusion? Might be. Did Kosilek’s lawyers dig up a doctor or two to say this operation was not cosmetic or elective, but necessary “medical treatment” for eighth amendment purposes? Probably. The operation and related treatment will likely exceed $50,000, the medical tab is on the taxpayers. (Now, I’m not saying the medical community had an interest here…) Many taxpayers remain unaware of their additional duty to pay Kosilek’s attorney fees and costs, which already top $800,000 and will mount during the appeal.
People are starving out there. Unemployment compensation is running out for millions. Homeless shelters desperately need funding. Schools need money for security. State and local governments are bankrupt or teetering on insolvency. The public debt is frightening everyone. The political class continues to squabble over the “fiscal cliff.” And about a million public dollars are being consumed by a freak and his lawyers, on the order of a federal judge.
Upon the ruling, a state spokeswoman had only this to say: “We are reviewing the decision and exploring our appellate options.” She should get an award for, well, not saying what I would have said. Massachusetts has since appealed the judgment to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Will the Circuit affirm? Maybe. Are that state’s liberal politicos faking the appeal for appearance purposes, resolved to write a weak brief and later claim “the court made us do it.” Maybe. It happens. Will I be surprised if the circuit affirms? Regrettably, no. I am not even as outraged as most people are. I’ve seen too much. I’m just saddened.•