Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There goes the judge

The recent 60 Minutes interview with Supreme Court Justice Antonin "Nino" Scalia was eye opening on many fronts.

First, when did Leslie Stahl morph from a pit bull into a gushing school girl reporter?

These weren't even softball questions: They were valentines lobbed his way. Stahl could easily sub in for one of the local sports "reporters" whose questions tend to be along the lines of "Gee, Jon Lester, how awesome were you in hurling your two hitter tonight?"

Such questions must be the price paid for what CBS billed as a "remarkably candid" interview. Did they mention that the Justice has a book to sell? ALso it's great to be remarkably candid when confronted with your perfect straight-A school days and other evidence of your flawless intellect.

More importantly, was the judge, who's noted for a fierce intellect who seemed much more a semanticist.

He challenged the notion that torture is "cruel and unusual punishment." His retort: "Has anyone referred to torture as punishment? I don't think so."

(The interview is here. Click on part 1 of the interview, about 13 minutes in.)


"Hurting him to get information is not punishing him."

Bet the guy getting waterboarded would beg to differ. Probably literally.

Scalia is the perfect judge for the Bush regime: Just keep saying something loud enough and long enough and it must be true.

But say Scalia, parsing his words, is technically correct. Further, allow that punishment is aimed at teaching transgressors a lesson and so is reserved for post conviction imprisonment: Then you have to be found guilty in order to be punished.

One small problem: None of these people seem to be getting a real trial. We're torturing non-convicted people who may never come to trial and so never get convicted. Given that, the prosecutors/investigators are getting their licks in now.

Comedy Central's Jon Stewart weighed in on this and on Scalia's comment that people should "get over" the Bush-Gore Supreme Court finding because it's so "old already."

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

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