JLF Triangle Blog

Aren’t judges supposed to be, you know, smarter than the rest of us?

You can’t make this stuff up.

A North Carolina administrative law judge has ruled that the people of Brasstown, N.C., by temporarily caging a ‘possum for their annual New Year’s Eve “‘possum drop,” are depriving a poor, innocent animal of the right to get run over by a pickup truck or killed by a hunter:

An administrative law judge ruled Tuesday that the state cannot issue a special permit allowing a caged marsupial to be lowered 20 feet over a stage – a 20-year tradition once profiled in The New York Times and the highlight of the mountain town’s celebration.

“Hunters must afford wild animals the same right Patrick Henry yearned for,” Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. wrote in his order. “’Give me liberty, or give me death!’”

The decision hands a victory to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which sued the state in December and has long argued that confining a ‘possum and subjecting it to loud noises and heavy crowds constitutes cruel treatment, regardless of it being released into the wild after the event.

That a judge, administrative law or any other type, would fall for PETA’s reasoning is sad enough, but Morrison’s extension of Patrick Henry’s famous quote to marsupial freedom has made him the butt of jokes in the blogosphere.

I’m sorry, but I have to side with those in the blogosphere who have questioned Morrison’s judgment. To be more precise, I’d question the judgment of any judge who sides with reasoning from the likes of PETA in almost all instances.

Most human beings possessing a modicum of common sense understand that lowering a marsupial slowly to the ground in a cage on New Year’s Eve is not animal cruelty. Neither is pulling Punxatawney Phil from his burrow in Pennsylvania every year animal cruelty, which PETA also alleges, by the way. Put bluntly, these people are crazy.

Judge Morrison has gotten his 15 minutes of fame, and the soundtrack is well-deserved uproarious and derisive laughter.

UPDATE: On-point comment from CarolinaPlottHound.com: “Thank God Paul Newby kept this guy off the Supreme Ct. in 2004…”

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