Watch: Sotomayor Says College Students Who Don’t Vote ‘Deserve Everything Bad’ That Happens To Them

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor slammed college students who don’t register to vote as failures and said they “deserved everything bad” that happens to them during an impassioned speech delivered Sept. 8 at Amherst College and published Monday on YouTube.

Sotomayor opined to students about the state of the nation’s political discourse and mourned the tragedy of a “loss of faith in government,” which she said was a critical problem for young people.

The Supreme Court Justice argued that once citizens lost faith in their system of government, then the nation ceases to be a community. Continuing a somewhat rambling speech, she added that the first step to preventing such a calamity was voting.

Building her case to the receptive audience who were hanging on every word, she said “any college student who’s a citizen and hasn’t registered to vote, you have failed.” Audible gasps were heard from the audience, but Sotomayor added to the hyperbole insisting that students who hadn’t registered to vote “are going to fail in life.”

(RELATED: John Lott: Sotomayor, Kagan ‘dumbing down’ Supreme Court)

The speech turned increasingly visceral with Sotomayor angrily adding that “if you choose to be a bystander, then you deserve everything bad that happens to you.”

Speaking to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Manhattan Institute scholar and co-author of Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young, Jared Meyer, said:

The reason many millennials choose not to vote is that they understand that politicians in both parties have failed to reform federal policies that make it more difficult for young people to succeed. Rather than helping millennials, government has stood in the way.

This failure can be seen in everything from unfunded, irresponsible promises to broken entitlement programs, to labor laws that make it harder to get a job. Two-thirds of millennials rightly see government as inefficient and wasteful, and only 18 percent believe that government regulators have the public’s interest in mind.

According to the Center For Information & Research On Civic Learning And Engagement, 21.5 percent of young people ages 18-29 voted in the 2014 midterm elections. For the 2012 Presidential election, the figure was 45 percent.

Meyer explained why so many millennials may be disenchanted with government telling the TheDCNF, “government tends to favor older, established interests, and increasing its power over the economy leads to fewer opportunities for young Americans.”

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