Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Are there aliens on the Supreme Court?

"Supreme Court Considers Insanity Standard," intoned a headline in today's Times.

Who better?

The story explores the touchy legal issues of what surely will become known as the "alien defense."

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court justices rarely talk about Martians. But on Wednesday, extraterrestrials were at the heart of a case brought by a schizophrenic teenager who says he killed an Arizona police officer because he thought the lawman was a space alien.

Court members repeatedly [referred] to the unusual facts of [defendant] Clark's case, signaling that they are likely to rule very narrowly. He was a popular football star until he became convinced that aliens had taken over his town, Flagstaff, Ariz., as a ''platinum city'' and that his own parents were aliens.

Here's my favorite sentence, a classic example of the Times' irony-proof style:

Justices David H. Souter and Stephen Breyer both mentioned Martians.

You know those liberal justices -- taking the side of Martians and their human sympathizers.

Or maybe they were referring to Scalia and Thomas.

It's clear that the D.C. Nine agonized over it:

Justices John Paul Stevens questioned whether someone who thought he was on a mission to kill space aliens could receive the death penalty for killing a person instead.

By this logic, if he killed an alien, he would receive the death penalty. So, in summation: Kill alien, death penalty; kill human, no death penalty.

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