Saturday, November 13, 2010

Can Scalia be serious?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia must be saying extreme things just trying to get a reaction from the mainstream, and especially from liberal jurist Steven Breyer. He keeps talking about "originalism" which is an approach to interpreting the Constitution by trying to understand what the Framers meant at the time, and applying that concept to the case. It's nonsense of course but harmless in effect right?:

"There's not an ounceworth of room for debate as to whether it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment because, at the time the Eighth Amendment was adopted – the cruel and unusual punishments clause – it was the only punishment for a felony. It was the definition of a felony. It's why we have Western movies because horse thieving was a felony."

Breyer pointed out:

"And indeed there were whipping posts where people were flogged virtually to death up until the middle of the 19th century," he said. "If we had a case like that today I'd like to see how you'd vote."

Now of course none of this matters if a crazy case like the above got to a Supreme Court, and the vote was 8 -1 or more likely 7 - 2 (Clarence Thomas). But given the past election where clearly (politically) insane people came close to getting elected to the U.S. Senate (all but Rand Paul failed-and he recanted much of his extreme views), and actually succeeded in the House of Representatives (for example welcome Congressman West from Florida), we can take nothing for granted. I think Scalia knows better but it's too much fun to antagonize the left. But at a certain point when we have people calling the President a socialist, a nazi, and businesses thinking he's anti-business in a year when they saw record profits, reality might not mean the same thing to all people.

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