What can one say, yet another mass shooting. This time at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. Eleven worshipers murdered.
The shooter, pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair, appeared remarkably unremarkable. A poor pathetic shlub who became the instrument of evil.
Former Trump campaign manager, and now convicted felon, Paul Manafort appeared dour as he was wheeled into the courtroom for a pre-sentencing hearing in Alexandria yesterday. When Judge Ellis addressed him directly Manafort just stared into space. No details were given about his health, why he was in a wheelchair, or why his right foot was shoeless and covered with a thick white sock.
Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing told Judge Ellis there are “significant issues with Mr. Manafort’s health right now that have to do with his confinement.”
It is not unusual for defendants facing incarceration to develop “significant health issues” shortly before sentencing. Judge Ellis set a sentencing date of February 8.
An unusual start to the new term of what can now be truly called the Roberts Court. After Justice Kennedy’s retirement the Chief Justice, who on the bench occupies the center chair, now also becomes the center of gravity of the Court as the most likely swing vote.
Last week saw eight justices on the bench. After a weekend Senate confirmation vote followed by a swearing in at the Court, Justice Kavanaugh took his seat on the bench this Tuesday to hear arguments. After the drama of the past weeks it almost felt “normal’. No protesters in the courtroom, nor even on the plaza when I arrived early Tuesday morning though some did show up later.