Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Scalia...say no to torture? Absurd!

Amnesty International has a campaign “the America I believe in doesn’t torture”.

I guess it is clear from a recent BBC interview with US Supreme Court Justice Scalia, that he doesn’t support AI’s campaign.

Reading/Listening to the interview, I’m beyond saddened, or ashamed or frustrated, or shocked or outraged, I’m physically and emotionally sickened.

To hear, what should be, one of the greatest judicial minds of our day excusing, rationalizing, spinning, defending…in fact I'd argue he is very nearly justifying torture (in an interview!!!) and this is completely WRONG. It is over the line. It is corrosive to our system of justice.

Even our president is not willing to publicly justify torture.
Our president makes sure the torture (which he prefers to call ‘abuse') happens in secret (wink/nod), while clearly and loudly lying about the fact that it occurs. The president obviously hires and promotes people that are willing to publicly justify/support/encourage/enable/obfuscate, or at the very least avert their eyes, from torture.

But this strikes me as a problem of a completely different order of magnitude. Torture is against the law. One might think a “strict constructionist” juror, like Scalia, could see and apply that.

But Scalia says “Seems to me you have to say, as unlikely as that is, it would be absurd to say that you can’t stick something under the fingernails, smack them in the face. It would be absurd to say that you couldn’t do that. And once you acknowledge that, we’re into a different game. How close does the threat have to be and how severe can an infliction of pain be?”


How can anyone see/hear this from a sitting Supreme Court justice and not lose respect for our 3rd branch of government?

To be clear—I understand why well intentioned people might (in a time of crisis) resort to torture—but this is exactly, this is precisely, why we have laws against torture!


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