The Kavanaugh Murder Attempt is Shocking But Not Surprising

Below is my column in USA Today on the alleged attempted murder of Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home outside of Washington, D.C. Less than 24 hours later, protesters were back in front of the Kavanaugh home as well as the home of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. In addition, pro-choice activists posted the location of the school of the Barrett children. It is all part of a national rage addiction where neither decency nor responsibility are relevant. Indeed, seven children of a justice are no longer even a concern in venting one’s rage.

Here is the column:

The arrest of a man near of the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh early Wednesday is a chilling escalation in our age of rage.

Police said the man, identified in court records as Nicholas John Roske of California, had a pack carrying a Glock pistol, a tactical knife, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer and a crow bar.

Roske, according to news reports, was angry that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade this month. He faces charges of attempting to kidnap, murder or threaten a federal judge. (This incident came after a judge was recently zip tied and killed in his Wisconsin home; a former defendant in the judge’s courtroom has been charged.)

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Rhetoric raises heat against the court

Politicians and commentators rushed to condemn the threat. Few of them, however, are willing to admit that it was both shocking but not surprising. For months, critics of the Supreme Court have ratcheted up the rhetoric against Kavanaugh and his colleagues, including calls for protesters to be more aggressive outside the justices’ homes.

Politicians and pundits have raced to the bottom by discarding any sense of restraint or responsibility in denouncing the court’s conservative majority over a leaked draft of an opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that made the case for overturning Roe.

Some of us expressed disgust at the threat made two years ago by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on the steps of the Supreme Court when he called out Kavanaugh by name: “I want to tell you, (Justice Neil) Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

If Kavanaugh had any doubts about the price before, he and his family now know.

The day before the arrest Wednesday, I testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee on new legislation in which Democratic members are seeking to force the FBI to prioritize the investigation of white supremacists for terrorism. In the hearing, senators attacked Fox News and political opponents for fueling terrorism with their rhetoric. (For the record, I am a Fox contributor.)  Some of us were attacked in the media for noting that extremist violence, including lethal attacks, have come from both the left and the right.

While I believe that parts of the Democratic bill are unconstitutional and threaten free speech rights, I agree with the condemnation of extreme rhetoric. However, such condemnation should acknowledge the extreme language used on the left as well as the right.

Leaked Dobbs v. Jackson opinion

The leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was used as a license by many to unleash their anger on these justices. While some of us warned of the danger posed by groups targeting the justices, others expressed joy that the justices might be afraid to leave their homes.

“The View” co-host Joy Behar declared, “It also shows Alito what it feels like to lose your freedom of choice. He cannot leave the house easily. So maybe that’s a good lesson for them.”

Even law professors seemed to call for mob action. Georgetown law professor Josh Chafetz declared that “when the mob is right, some (but not all!) more aggressive tactics are justified.”

CNN’s Laura Jarrett’s take on those saying that targeting the justices’ homes was excessive and wrong: “I think for a lot of people a conversation about civility feels like it misses the mark.”

Some politicians have also taken lightly far-left militants Antifa, a large anti-free speech movement. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler has called the 2020 Antifa violent protests in Portland, Oregon, “a myth.”

Others have been more direct in their support. Many of us were appalled when former Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, said Antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Donald Trump.

Last year, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., told George Floyd protesters in Minnesota to “get more confrontational” if a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin not guilty. And when Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was threatened in 2018 because she had not opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., mocked the concern over her safety with “boo hoo hoo.”

For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke loudly when she failed to condemn left-wing mobs destroying statues and historic displays in her home city of San Francisco. Pelosi shrugged and said, “People will do what they do.”

The arrest near Justice Kavanaugh’s home frighteningly shows what some people will do.

Supreme Court’s legitimacy

While I do not believe that these politicians would ever countenance violence, they have spent months attacking the legitimacy of the nation’s highest court because they disagree with the justices’ rulings.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., even questioned the institution’s value: “How much does the current structure benefit us? And I don’t think it does.”

Other leaders have supported the idea that, if the court did not yield to their demands, there is a license to take extreme measures like court packing. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., issued a warning to the Supreme Court: Reaffirm Roe v. Wade or face a “revolution.”

This is no time for a partisan circus:Jan. 6 committee conducted a serious investigation

Those words may be heard by some as more than political posturing or pandering. It is heard as a legitimation of direct forms of justice, particularly by people who are mentally unstable.

Our national addiction to rage is reaching its inevitable end. But mobs are easier to incite than to control.

That is why the arrest of an armed man outside Justice Kavanaugh’s home shouldn’t surprise any of us. But it should be a sobering moment for all of us.

A jurist should not have to wonder whether he can both serve and survive on our Supreme Court.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley

235 thoughts on “The Kavanaugh Murder Attempt is Shocking But Not Surprising”

  1. I find this column unfortunate.

    My understanding is there was no murder attempt. This guy called 911 and said he needed psychiatric help. At that specific point, he made a moral choice. And it was the right one. He may very well never have intended to go through with it.

    While our fine criminal “justice” system, and lawyers like Turley, may find this incidental, for those who don’t, there may be some real issues up for discussion in regards to this matter.

    It’s possible this guy tried to get help in California and wasn’t getting any. If that were the case, this may be a way he’ll get some. Although now that the criminal justice system is involved I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Maybe one of things up for discussion is how many people try to get some help and get stonewalled.

    You could spend half the money we’re spending on the drug war and arbitrary gun possession laws. address public health matters, and we’d all be a lot better off.

  2. I guess the democrats like Schumer and Pelosi cannot see their hypocrisy. In calling for violence they are no different than they claim Trump is for inciting Jan 6. How can they miss it? How can you? I know a lying pos when I see one.

  3. Merrick Garland needs to be held in contempt and impeached.

    Say it again:

    Merrick Garland needs to be held in contempt and impeached.

    Keep saying it until your elected representatives DO SOMETHING about Merrick Garland’s lawless, politicized DOJ!

      1. Violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of Attorney General of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed—Merrick Brian Garland is engaging in civil and constitutional rights violations, overreach and abuse of power, by targeting citizens of the United States.

  4. Fake News/Propaganda/State TV is Real.

    How the Jun. 12 Sunday shows covered the attempted assassination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh:

    # of mentions of “Kavanaugh”:

    ABC’s This Week: 0 mentions
    NBC’s Meet The Press: 0 mentions
    CBS’s Face The Nation: 0 mentions
    CNN SOTU: 0 mentions
    Fox News Sunday covered story

    1. There was no “attempted assassination”. There was a troubled man who called the police to report the fact that he thought he was in trouble mentally. He wasn’t even on the same block as Kavanaugh’s house, and was arrested peacefully. There’s not much to this “story”, but I saw it on NBC. How would you know what other media reported, since you don’t watch them? This stinks of something you got from an alt-right pundit. And, it is a lie to call Fox “news”–it’s pure propaganda.

      1. Natacha, the only people I know of who call Fox News Channel ‘pure propaganda’ lean left politically, don’t like being challenged in any way on any platform, and worship at the altar of the Hard-Left mainstream media in the U.S. Also, it’s wroth noting that not all media can be “watched.” The best media have to be “read.”

        1. Fox News, MSNBC, and the like are sources of misguided punditry and serve only to feed the one-sided approach to news that many are addicted to like a bad drug habit. That’s why these networks exist. What is truly sad is that the viewers want to be fed one-sided content like junkies looking for a quick high, which to me shows that the average viewer of these “news” channels lack a desire, perhaps even a sophistication, to truly understand a topic. It is the dumbing of the masses.

          In my life I have never voted or viewed issues on a “left” or “right” basis. I have a respect for SCOTUS and its justices, and find reading the opinions of the court to be enlightening as to the logic employed, even when I disagree. I especially have a deep respect for Justice Roberts who seems to be able to differentiate his conservative personal ideals from his legal opinions, something Justice Thomas struggles to do. The critique I have of this court is its seeming lack of respect for ongoing legal precedence in past rulings. No matter how one views Roe vs. Wade, it was a solid precedence. Overturning precedence should only be used for notorious rulings like Dred Scott v. Sandford and Plessey v. Furguson, rulings that have no legal merit whatsoever in any sort of modern era.

  5. I love the mental gymnastics employed by s@@tlibs to justify this action.


    A poem from William Butler Yeats.

    The Second Coming

    W. B. Yeats – 1865-1939

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    1. Food for thought, Antonio–thank you so much for giving us this.

    2. In Oliver Stone’s film “Nixon,” William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming” is the favorite poem of CIA Director Richard Helms in Oliver Stone’s characterization of him.

  6. The leftist leadership has had a huge disdain for an independent judiciary.

    Rioters and arsonists attacked the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland in July of 2020. There should had universal condemntation of the riots.

    There was not.

    The leftist leadership in the Democratic Party and the network broadcast and print media started this gaslighting campaign about sToRmTrOoPeRs KiDnApPiNg PeAcEfUL pRoTeStErS. Governor Kate Brown described “secret police abducting people in unmarked vehicles”. Senator Ron Wyden called the federal agents an “occupying army”. Mayor Ted Wheeler told president Trump to take his “troops” and leave. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that “Trump and his stormtroopers must be stopped”.

    Mark Pettibone claimed to have been kidnapped by federal agents, transported in an unmarked van, and then released without being told what he was charged with. These people simply repeated his conclusions withourt criticism.

    The Oregon state government actually went to court to get an injunction to micromanage how federal agent went about their business of protecting federal courthouses.

    Due to this campaign of lies, Walls of Moms and Walls of Vets were recruited to shield rioters and aronsists from federal agents. Christopher David, who claimed to be a Navy veteran, actually interrupted the agents protecting the courthouse in Portland.

    Now I will address the arguments being used in this gaslighting campaign.

    They Were Kidnapping Protesters

    Apprehensions by law enforcement are not kidnappings. Just so long as there is probable cause that the arrest subject committed a crime the subject had not previously been charged with, it can not be a kidnapping.

    of course, when a protest turns into a riot, sometimes peaceful protesters who were at the scene are arrested because the cops had probable cause. If they decline to prtess charges (perhaps because there was no other supporting evidence, or they found exculpatory evidence), then perhaps they ethically owe the protester some cash for the inconvenience, but by law it was not a kidnapping.

    Unmarked Vans

    There were allegation that protesters, including Pettibone, were transported in unmarked vans. Assuming this is true, there is nothing wrong with this. Law enforcement has had a custiom and tradition of using unmarked vehicles even before automobiles were available for purchase by the general public. There simply was not anything wrong with it.

    Federal Agents Were Straying Far From the Courthouse

    Again, this is not wrong. They have the authority to go anywhere in public. If they enter private properrty without consent, they must do so within the restrictions of 4th Amendment case law. There is nothing wrong with dfederal agencies sending agents away from federal courthouses to apprehend suspects.

    Feds were Invading Portland

    Portland is part of the United States of America. as such, it can not be an invasion.

    1. As an Oregonian who watched the extensive local coverage of all this, which included something like 300 straight days of protests in downtown Portland, many of them violent, I can attest that this was a disturbingly violent time. Many downtown businesses left the area and likely will never return. The blocks where these stores once were are now just boarded up, empty buildings. I recall being shocked an appalled when Joe Biden said antifa was “just an idea”. I didn’t know rep Nadler had likewise called it “a myth”. Having watched in dismay as the federal building burned, I thought that year, I thought, “How can the media–apart from the locals–not see this?”

  7. I have a negotiation idea for the senate but I doubt the rabid left will go for it: Everyone seems hot to trot for a three day waiting period for buying a gun, which does seem to make some amount of sense. Why not add a three day waiting period to also get an abortion? First you have to go to the clinic or hospital to fill in the necessary forms, show identification and then be forced to return 3 days later for the procedure. The left will scream that you are delaying a Constitutional right, a right that exists under penumbras emanating from other rights while the Second Amendment is right there in the good old Bill of Rights.

    1. The United States has become a disgusting country and people with good sense no longer want to move there. I moved to Asia six months ago and couldn’t be happier. To my former home country I say pound sand.

    2. Hullbobby,

      “ Why not add a three day waiting period to also get an abortion?”

      Ummm… that’s already been a law for years. Some states it’s just 24 hrs. Most are 3 days.

      Glad to see you think a waiting period is sensible for gun purchases.

      1. “Most states are 3 days”?! That is just not true. On the contrary, in most states there is no waiting period at all. 0 hours. Many states require 24 hours. Only 7 states require 3 days. Also, in some states the clock can be started without a visit to the clinic; just call the clinic to make a reservation, and 24 hours later come in to have the baby killed.

  8. We have been discussing whether to prosecute the protesters under the 18 USC 1507 and the elements and constitutionality of such law. JT covered this topic in his May 12th blog and said: “While I have condemned these protests, I believe the use of this law to arrest protesters would be a serious blow to free speech and would be difficult to defend in the courts.”

    1. Arrest em all. They are trying to intimidate Supreme Court justices.


    According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on June 8, 2022, at approximately 1:05 a.m., two United States Deputy Marshals saw an individual dressed in black clothing and carrying a backpack and a suitcase, get out of a taxicab that had stopped in front of the residence of a current Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The individual looked at the two Deputy U.S. Marshals, who were standing next to their parked vehicle, and then turned to walk down the street.

    Shortly thereafter, Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center received a call from Nicholas John Roske, who allegedly informed the call taker that he was having suicidal thoughts and had a firearm in his suitcase. Roske also allegedly stated that he traveled from California to Maryland to kill a specific Supreme Court Justice. Montgomery County Police Department officers were dispatched to the location near the residence where they encountered Roske, who was still on the telephone with the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center. Roske was taken into custody and law enforcement officers seized the backpack and the suitcase that were still in his possession.

    1. You are correct. Thankfully, he turned himself in and asked for psychiatric help. He did not resist arrest. He told the 911 operator that he learned about the location and identification of the house from the internet because of the activists. I wish newspapers read like your post. Just the facts and the timeline. Who, what, when, and where.

      This could have been terrible tragedy.

      This world needs to take a deep breath. The strife bearers are purposely creating this dangerous atmosphere.

  10. I’m not shocked by anything the Pro-Choice crowd does , says or doesn’t decry. When our numbskull Governor Ralph Northam said he had no problem letting a newborn child die to appease its murderous mother, I knew. Is it really such a big leap to judicial assasination. You can spin it all you want but the Dims are truly blood thirsty tyrants who would no sooner have any remorse for terminating a Supreme Court Justice as they would a newborn. It’s not a leap for them; it’s an inevitable conclusion on their way to power. Don’t think quirky ol’ Hubert Humphrey here; think ruthless Pol Pot. Evil doesn’t care if you recognize it walking down the street or not.

  11. “In Internet slang, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory, insincere, digressive,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), a newsgroup, forum, chat room, online video game, or blog), with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses,[2] or manipulating others’ perception. This is typically for the troll’s amusement, or to achieve a specific result such as disrupting a rival’s online activities or manipulating a political process.”

    1. I guess I am not the only one who can only read three or four paragraphs of this article????

  12. The Anti-Abortion Movement’s Long History Of Violence


    In the United States, violence directed towards abortion providers has killed at least eleven people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, a police officer, two people (unclear of their connection), and a clinic escort. Seven murders occurred in the 1990s.

    Attempted Murder, Assault, and Kidnapping

    According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, 13 wounded, 100 butyric acid stink bomb attacks, 373 physical invasions, 41 bombings, 655 anthrax threats and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers. Between 1977 and 1990, 77 death threats were made, with 250 made between 1991 and 1999. In 1985 45% of clinics reported bomb threats, decreasing to 15% in 2000. One fifth of clinics in 2000 experienced some form of extreme activity.

    Arson, Bombing, and Property Crime

    According to NAF, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid (“stink bombs”). The New York Times also cites over one hundred clinic bombings and incidents of arson, over three hundred invasions, and over four hundred incidents of vandalism between 1978 and 1993. The first clinic arson occurred in Oregon in March 1976 and the first bombing occurred in February 1978 in Ohio.

    Edited From:


    By siding with Anti-Abortion forces, the 5 Federalist justices are esentially rewarding 40 years of violence.

    1. How is any of that relevant to the facts of the case? You may disagree with the ruling, but past events or future impact is completely beside the point of any USSC Decision. They rule on the Constitution. Nothing more.

    2. I wouldn’t want to talk about the Democrats aiding and abetting assassination of SCOTUS Justices, either.

  13. When a Justice is finally killed, and it will happen, a good number of members of Congress need to be charged with accessory to murder.

    1. When Republicans take over the US Senate, they should expel Chuck Schumer from the US Senate for his threats against SCOTUS Justices.

      1. 1. That would take 2/3 of the senate, which the Rs will not have in the foreseeable future.

        2. Congress has a very long-standing view that members can only be expelled for offenses committed since the last election. The Supreme Court, while declining to actually endorse this opinion, has taken official notice of the fact that Congress has consistently held it for over a century.

  14. Court Would Have U.S. Go The Way Of Poland Where Hospitals Allow Women To Die

    Ms. Sajbor, a 30-year-old hairdresser from the small town of Pszczyna in southern Poland, had been thrilled to be pregnant. She wanted a sibling for her 9-year-old daughter, Maja.

    It was a shock when in her 14th week she learned that doctors suspected her fetus had Edwards syndrome, a serious chromosomal abnormality, and diagnosed other malformations. Instead of a nose, there was only cartilage. The feet were deformed. One heart chamber was dysfunctional.

    Ms. Sajbor would have had an abortion if it had still been available in Poland. She even asked her local doctor about it last summer, but was told it was not an option.?

    At that point, she looked into having an abortion abroad, but then her water broke. On Sept. 21 Ms. Sajbor was admitted to a hospital.

    “I have to give birth to a dead baby,” she texted her mother. “

    By the time the baby’s heartbeat had stopped and the doctors took Ms. Sajbor into the operating room the next morning, her limbs had already gone blue. She died at 7:30 a.m.

    When Ms. Sajbor’s family went public with her case in November, it prompted nationwide protests. It was the first time that a woman was thought to have died because of the abortion ban.

    Since Ms. Sajbor’s death, other seemingly similar cases have emerged and are being investigated by the authorities.

    In January, a 37-year-old woman carrying twins died after one of her fetuses had died and doctors did not remove it for seven days. The family accused the doctors of waiting for fear of harming the other fetus and being subject to possible prosecution.

    Another woman, who was 19 weeks pregnant when her water broke, developed an infection and nearly died after doctors waited four days until her fetus’s heartbeat had stopped before removing it.

    Edited From:


    When SCOTUS official overturns Roe, incidents like the above could become regular headlines in the U.S.

    1. 👆🏽

      Sealioning allows trolls to change the focus of a blog discussion, e.g. copying / pasting pieces from discredited, left wing, biased sources that are not related to the topic at hand

      1. ESTOVIR:


        Estovir is the creepy writer behind all the puppet commentators who haunt this forum.

        Puppets include: Thinkthrough, James, Sergeant Major, Iowa2, Ralph Chappell, Feldman, Margot Ballhere, Alma Carma, Mistress Adams and many, many more!

        1. Anomaly,

          I wish that I could state that you are the only idiot with a bag on his head that is trolling Turley’s blog but alas, this is not the case. There are several Anomalies floating around but, fortunately, there is no need for the casual reader to try to discern one from the other. You are all idiots with bags on their heads.

    2. Abortion clinics without admitting privileges, where the baby is the primary victim, and women can be collateral damage.

      1. In the Catholic pro-life movement, we never used the term “clinics” but rather “centers”. Clinics pertain to a medical building where people go who are sick to get better. Abortion centers are places where a life is ended. Two lives visit abortion centers: one is murdered while the other lives, albeit broken and stained forever.

        1. Estovir,

          “Two lives visit abortion centers: one is murdered while the other lives, albeit broken and stained forever.”

          This is a sad but true fact. Well said sir!

      2. Stooge: admitting privileges mean nothing. No hospital can turn patients away

        1. Wait. What do you mean?? We were told they HAD to pass Obamacare because people were dying in the streets because they had no insurance. NOW you are saying the hospital can’t turn them away? WE were lied to??? AGAIN????

          1. Hospitals turn patients away everyday the reasons could be; they don’t treat your condition, they are full & can’t take more patients…

    3. There is no mystery in sex and conception. Roe under the Pro-Choice “ethical” religion, denies women and men’s dignity and agency, and reduces human life to negotiable commodities. The wicked solution or elective abortion for social, redistributive, clinical, and fair weather causes, was normalized by feminists and masculinists in order to keep women appointed, available, and taxable.

      That said, a woman and man have four choices, and an equal right to self-defense through reconciliation. The wicked solution, the final solution, is neither a good nor exclusive choice.

      1. No one is mandating abortion. Why can’t people leave that choice to the ones that find they have ton make that decision. If a woman has as many children as she can handle & decides on an abortion now for a newly conceived fetus – that is her & her husbands decision & it does not affect any other people. So no one else matters in their decision.

    4. “Roe, Roe, Roe your baby down the river Styx” will not be overturned. The standard of viability for a new human life will match the standard of viability for granny and other human lives. The religious inculcation by the Progressive Cult will be confronted to mitigate the progress of democracy dies in darkness (e.g. political congruence, chauvinistic ideologies, progressive prices)… demosc-cracy aborted at the Twilight fringe and related mischief under the color of law. Baby steps to end slavery, then diversity, and now the wicked solution.

      1. Darrin McBreen is great as while as is Greg Reese.

        Ck the Left Hand Scroll on Banned.Video & save to a file if you like & you’ve time!


        Terrifying Predictions From The Technological Elite!



        Jun 10, 2022
        Darrin McBreen
        Darrin McBreen

        You have been warned. The scientific technological elite are planning a hostile takeover of your mind, body and soul.

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