The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, March 27, 2006

Antonin Scalia: Class Act

Justice Scalia attracted some attention for his statements on Guantanamo detainees deserving no civil rights, which came as the Supreme Court is set to hear a case on that very issue. Of course, Scalia has already recused himself from a case on the Pledge of Alliegance for this sort of thing, and refused to recuse himself for going hunting with Dick Cheney before hearing a case involving Cheney. But he's no activist judge. In an effort to demonstrate his impartiality and professionalism, the bellicose duck-hunter chose the Gitmo issue to prove his point:

"War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," Scalia said in the talk at the University of Freiburg, according to Newsweek. "Give me a break." (. . .)

"If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son, and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy," he said. Scalia's son Matthew served with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Note that he's careful not to say captured in Iraq/Afghanistan, or that some detainees have been released without charge after being held for several years. Which is a convenient way to ignore the fact that some detainees are US citizens. Who he believes should be deprived of their Constitutional rights and subjected to torture for being suspected of a crime.

But Scalia didn't stop there:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by flipping a middle finger to his critics.

A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

"You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."

The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.

"Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.

I guess we know how he feels about a free press, too. I was raised Catholic, and I remember the final words of the mass often being "let us go in peace." Apparently it doesn't 'take' with everyone.

UPDATE (3/28): The Seattle Times reports that Antonin Scalia didn't feel like recusing himself from a case in which he's announced his judgment prior to hearing arguments. Congratulations to the American right for further equating prejudice with leadership and resolve.