Not too long ago there was bit of controversy over Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He said he didn’t think the U.S. Constitution provided any protection against being tortured (to elicit a confession). (I think he also said he didn’t personally approve of torture himself, for all you Scalia supporters out there:).) This got me to thinking. Do supporters of Justices Scalia and Clarence really know where they stand on the issues? And if they did know, would they continue support them?
I know the subject might stir up emotions in some people. But please realize my question is simply, Would their supporters continue supporting them if they knew where they stood on all the issues:)?
Pardon me, but you didn’t instruct me as to why I shouldn’t support Thomas.
As for Scalia, he was making the comments in the context of the Eighth Amendment - at least that is what he was asked about. And he was right - the Eighth Amendment wouldn’t provide protection in that circumstance because it applies after a sentence is passed by a court - and in the case inquired about that hadn’t happened yet.
Now, this may trigger a due process violation - but Scalia wasn’t asked about that - and he isn’t the sort to answer a question about due process when asked about the Eighth Amendment.
I think he’s largely correct in arguing such. And while I could easily find cases where I disagree with Scalia and Thomas (and indeed find cases where they disagree with each other) I prefer their general approach, which with judges is the best you can hope for.
Right. We have a Supreme Court Justice who seems never to have heard of the Fifth Amendment prohibition of forced confessions – which I admit he wasn’t asked about, but which comes quicfkly to my mind when contemplating what the Constitution may have to say about torturing an unconvicted-as-yet detainee.
By the way, the Eighth Amendment also has this interesting little provision about “excessive bail” – meaning, to this layman, that in general persons not convicted of crimes have the right to post an appearance bond, not to be locked up until it seems good to the state to have a trial. It’s not exclusively dealing with post-conviction situations.
And Ninoy is of course the guy who found the interesting emanation wafting penumbrally from the Constitution that “The writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended except in times of war but may be gutted and effectively denied when hearing such cases is inconvenient to the courts.”
As for the question posed in the OP, I’d answer that there are some conservatives with strong moral values, who find torture at Gitmo at the most a necessary evil, or who oppose it utterly. Then there are the morally bankrupt who would defend anything done by a conservative Republican, or who will play tu quoque games instead of addressing the issue.
Uh huh. You will recall, of course, that there was the Eisentrager precedent that had to be dealt with somehow, right? And you can’t pigeonhole Scalia so neatly - his dissent in Hamdi shows that he believes that when American citizens are involved habeas corpus must be suspended or normal courts must be used. This severely restricts executive authority - more even than the Haupt case in WWII would indicate.
Whether I agree or not with these decisions is beside the point - we can’t pick judges for line-by-line agreement. Like I said - in general I agree with his approach.
Thanks for your measured response above. “Ninoy” is a family nickname for Mr. Justice Antonin Scalia, used in the same sense as “Dubya” or “Ike” (when not meant insultingly) for Mr. Bush or Mr. Eisenhower.
All in all I agree with the general approach that judges, and their interpretation of the Constitution, shouldn’t be looked to, to save us from the stupidity and immorality of ourselves and of the leaders we elect. The Constitution doesn’t absolve us from our own political responsibilities. I’m not familiar with what Scalia or Thomas may have said specifically on the issue, but I don’t consider a statement of “the Constitution doesn’t say X” to be equivalent to “X is peachy keen!”
As long as Scalia and Thomas are willing to cast their judicial votes for their fascist masters in lockstep, I don’t see why their fellow fascists would fail to offer their praise and support. The OP underestimates just how many of us are willing to go all Lord of the Flies on the asses of their fellow human beings after suitable harumphing.
I’m just about the furthest thing from a conservative, but in my experience there are quite a few people who justify torture - and a laundry list of “law-and-order” issues such as search-and-seizure, confinscations, etc. that I believe undesireably infringe upon civil liberties, by reasoning that if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.
Add in a couple of correlaries:
-law enforcement organizations are well-intentioned and doing a very difficult job, so they should be given considerable leeway and provided the tools necessary to do their jobs.
-the accused probably did “something” wrong or else they would not have become invilved in the “system,” and as “wrong-doers” they deserve fewer rights than the rest of us.
One suspects that leftists would not hate Scalia so much if he were not utterly, completely forthright and correct in Constitutional interpretation. it is specifically because he does not play games, nor advance his opinions, but only answers the specific question required, that he is hated. But his Constitutional understanding is vastly superior to any other Supreme Court Justice alive today, and perhaps in the entire 20th century.
But the fact that he does not bend it to suit others infuriates some. The Consitution does not prohibit torture. It may prohibit it being used in some circumstances, or the results of it being done may result in invalid legal proceedings. But torture is not unconstitutional. And Scalia was entirely correct in saying that.