Sunday, February 14, 2016

Good and Dead: reactionary hatchet man in a black robe

The obituary page of The Massachusetts Spy

By Scott V. Sandiford
Legal Correspondent

According to that noted jurisprude Donald Trump, Justice Antonin Scalia was a judge to be held in the highest regard.  It's not hard to see why Trumpo thought so well of Nino: they were both rude, unprincipled, and out of control.

Scalia, who died yesterday at 79, was likewise lionized by the other five remaining passengers in the Republican clown car.  No one deserved it more, for no one did more to bring about the GOP's current stranglehold on the American political process.

Some have claimed that an ideologue cannot be
a good and honest judge. They are correct.

It was Scalia who pressed for years to equate spending money to buy politicians and elections with speech, as if the effort to keep the Koches and other plutocrats from doling out hundreds of millions in support of Republicans willing to do their bidding was no different from tying a gag around their throats.  After all, in Scalia's America, the rich and poor had an equal opportunity to spend millions to influence elections.  This is known in Republican legal theology as the “marketplace of ideas.”

What should earn Scalia his place next to Roger Taney on the Supreme Court of Hell though is not just that Scalia did the bidding of the reactionary right his whole life.  It was that he did so under the cover of “principle,” although the principles he stated were nowhere near the votes he cast.

Supposedly an ardent defender of “originalism” and a strict reading of binding text, he cobbled together a rationalization of overturning decades of precedent to reach the conclusion that private use and possession of guns was protected by the Second Amendment, the only provision of the Constitution that in fact includes an express statement of the intent of its Framers (that “militia” thing).

He simply read that clause out of the provision.  However, doing so under his supposed principles of Constitutional construction would leave the Court with no ability to limit the rights of yahoos and sociopaths to bear any kind of “arms,” which then as now is defined as all sorts of weapons used by a military force.  The prospect of equipping the Republican faithful with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, tanks, and nuclear artillery was sufficiently daunting to Scalia and his majority so that they crafted a vague ad hoc right of government to regulate arms, presumably to the satisfaction of the National Rife Association.  The principle behind this was nowhere evident.

Nor was Heller an isolated stepchild on the waters of his jurisprudence.  Years earlier he concocted out of whole cloth a supposed immunity of states from liability for violating statutory rights of their citizens, notwithstanding the apparent decision by the Framers, who knew full well what sovereign immunity was, to leave such a clause out of the document to which Scalia professed such fealty.

He always sulked when called on Bush v. Gore, perhaps because it remains the cuckoo that comes out of the clock, giving the lie to any effort to regard Scalia as a principled jurist.  The decision was nothing more than a naked two-step effort to undo an election and install a fellow Republican as President.  First, Scalia and four other Republicans invented a new equal protection right (to the detriment of the sovereign state of Florida) good for that election only.  Second, they implemented it so as to make it impossible for a fair recount to take place.

Scalia told critics of that decision to “get over it.”  As soon as the thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died in the absurd war instigated by petitioner in the above-captioned cause rise from their graves for a weekend of duck hunting and a night at the opera, we sure will.

We'll leave Scalia's contempt for gay rights and the U.S. and international prohibition on torture to others.  You catch the drift.

In private life Scalia was supposedly an agreeable fellow.  The same is said of Donald Trump.  Who are we to suggest otherwise?  The only point to note is that neither were or are fit to hold a position of power in the Government of these United States.

No comments:

Post a Comment