Subjecting Nassar to a lifetime of rape is not my idea of justice, and fantasizing about it is not my idea of judicial temperament. On social media, civil libertarians have piped up to protest her, and many who followed the trial have expressed outrage at the sympathy for Nassar that this sentiment supposedly reveals. Their outrage is outrageous, and itself reveals twisted sympathies that are, for supposed advocates of victims, unfortunate.
Does Nassar deserve to be raped 150 times? Quite possibly: To be honest, when crimes approach the magnitude of his, I stop trusting my ability to keep tabs on just deserts, except to say that what he deserves is—whether it’s a lifetime in a dark hole, or years-long gang rape—beyond my ability to fathom. But to admit that he deserves inconceivable punishment is not to defend the judge’s remarks. Some crimes are bad enough that no remedy exists for them in civilized society. I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s famous line that some men are indeed fit only to be slaves, but none is fit to be a master.