“As a matter of law” is a code phrase for “this isn’t a simple objective balancing. There is another policy at play that’s putting its thumb on the scales.”

Also, Lady Justice could have been more clear here. The Scales of Justice aren’t engaged in a purely utilitarian exercise. If that were true, the one could not outweigh the many, and we just saw that it can. That’s because it’s not the one and the many that are being weighed. The rights of an individual often weigh more than the wants of society. The greater good consists of protecting those rights, not the majority’s desires. That’s not an obvious takeaway here.


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