Tag Archive: Antonin Scalia

Feb 24 2016

No Meetings, No Hearings, No Vote. May Not Be A Bad Strategy For The Left

The Senate Republicans appear to be once again on the road to self destruction. GOPers Commit to the ‘Three Nos’, Josh Marshal, Talking Points Memo There’s nothing really different today than what Mitch McConnell committed Republicans to only hours after Justice Scalia’s death. But we now have a formal embrace of the ‘Three Nos’: No …

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Feb 15 2016

The Thurmond Rule Or The Constitution

No sooner had the news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death been announced when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) let it be known that the Senate would not even consider hearings on his successor. In a swift statement designed to warn Barack Obama against even nominating a replacement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged …

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Feb 13 2016

In Memoriam: Justice Antonin Scalia (1936 – 2016)

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died this morning at a ranch in West Texas. He was 79. Scalia was appointed to the court in 1986, by President Ronald Reagan, as the first Italian American to serve on the high court. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1936 and brought up in New York City. …

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Aug 12 2012

Rant of the Week: Brent Wilkins, David Dayen and Cenk Uygur

Texas executes mentally retarded man

by Brett Wilkins

Ignoring its own ruling that prohibits the execution of mentally retarded individuals, the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of a Texas man with an IQ of 61 convicted of murdering a police drug informant.

Following the high court’s denial, 54-year-old Marvin Wilson was executed by lethal injection at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas. [..]

Wilson’s attorneys based their appeal on the fact that his IQ was determined to be 61, well below 70, the threshold for mental retardation. Wilson’s IQ places him in the very bottom 1% of individuals for intellectual capacity. His reading and writing level was determined to be that of a 7-year-old child’s, and he could not hold down a job or even properly dress himself.

In Atkins v. Virginia (2002), the US Supreme Court ruled that executing such individuals was a violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

But Texas simply redefined retardation, based in part on the fictional character Lennie Small from John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men.”

In establishing what are known as the Briseno factors, which Texas uses to determine whether an individual is retarded or not, the state implicitly asserts that anyone less mentally impaired than Steinbeck’s Lennie is fit for execution.

Steinbeck’s son Thomas slammed the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for using Lennie as a benchmark to determine who should be executed.

Scalia Denies Stay, Allows Execution of Mentally Retarded Man in Texas

by David Dayen

The Supreme Court justices have jurisdiction over various regions of the country when it comes to injunctions, particularly when it comes to stays of execution. In the case of Marvin Wilson, the mentally retarded man with an IQ of 61 and an intelligence level of a 6 year-old, set to die today in Texas in conjunction with a murder conviction, that appeal had to go through none other than Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia wrote a dissent (pdf) in the case of Atkins v. Virginia, which established the ban on executing the mentally retarded (Texas, like other states, got to set their own standards for what constitutes “retarded,” and as such plowed ahead with the execution of Wilson today). Scalia wrote that, because “Only the severely or profoundly mentally retarded, commonly known as idiots, enjoyed any special status under the law” in 1791, around the time of the establishment of the Eighth Amendment, he disagreed with the ruling. And so it should come as no surprise that he submitted this short response to the stay of Marvin Wilson today.

The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Scalia and by him referred to the Court is denied. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

This condemns a man with a 61 IQ to death. Scalia wrote in his Atkins dissent, “Seldom has an opinion of this Court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members.” That’s my sentiment exactly. Scalia has a ruling which clearly states that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment. But Scalia doesn’t agree, so he decided to allow Texas to violate the ruling.

Why Do Some Americans Have Such Tremendous BLOOD LUST?

Jul 29 2012

“Go Ahead, Make My Day”

The infamous line that was uttered by Clint Eastwood ‘s character, Harry Callahan from the 1983 film Sudden Impact.

This morning Associate Justice Antonin Scalia made the day of every  weapons of mass destruction lover’s day. During an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, Wallace asked the Supreme Court Justice about gun control, and whether the Second Amendment allows for any limitations to gun rights. In Scalia’s opinion, under his principle of “originalism”, if the weapon can be “hand held” it probably still falls under the right to “bear arms”:

Referring to the recent shooting in Aurora, CO, host Chris Wallace asked the Supreme Court Justice about gun control, and whether the Second Amendment allows for any limitations to gun rights. Scalia admitted there could be, such as “frighting” (carrying a big ax just to scare people), but they would still have to be determined with an 18th-Century perspective in mind. According to his originalism, if a weapon can be hand-held, though, it probably still falls under the right o “bear arms”:

   WALLACE: What about… a weapon that can fire a hundred shots in a minute?

   SCALIA: We’ll see. Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried – it’s to keep and “bear,” so it doesn’t apply to cannons – but I suppose here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.

   WALLACE: How do you decide that if you’re a textualist?

   SCALIA: Very carefully.

Law Professor Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago observed in a guest opinion at Jonathan Turly’s blog:

Maybe Justice Scalia needs to see the photos of the carnage a semi-automatic weapon or a shoulder fired rocket launcher can create. Under this thinking, RPG’s might be legal for all citizens to own and carry.  Grenades can be hand-held and therefore under Justice Scalia’s warped sense of thinking, they too might be legal for citizens to carry.  Do we draw the limit at briefcase nukes that can be carried in one’s hand?

Obviously the theory that Justice Scalia is promoting can be carried to extreme and hilarious lengths.  The real scary part is that Justice Scalia doesn’t understand how hilarious and dangerous his concepts are in the real world. [..]

Since Justice Scalia thinks that these kind of weapons may be legal, is it too far-fetched to wonder if the current crop of right-wing Militia’s are free to purchase these kind of weapons, even if they hope to use them against the government?

Justice Scalia was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan with a Republican held Senate and the unanimous blessings of the Democrats. Al Qaeda must be thrilled.

N.B.: For more about Justice Scalia and his concept of “orginaliasm” read this article at Huffington Post written in 2011 by Prof. Stone: Justice Scalia, Originalism and the First Amendment

Jun 26 2012

Antonin Scalia Cites Southern Slave Laws

In his dissenting opinion on the Arizona v. United States, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia went on a politically motivated rant that was directed at President Obama’s directive that would allow 800,000 undocumented immigrants who are under 30 came here as children to legally remain in the US. Not only was Scalia’s partisan political rant an embarrassment for the Court, it was factually wrong and racist.

First the facts that Scalia misrepresented and skewed. The Justice made this statement (pdf):

After this case was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30. If an individual unlawfully present in the United States

   “• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;

   “• has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years . . . ,

   “• is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education develop­ment certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran . . . ,

   “• has not been convicted of a [serious crime]; and

   “• is not above the age of thirty,” . . . .

   The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this, since the considerable administrative cost of conduct­ing as many as 1.4 million background checks, and ruling on the biennial requests for dispensation that the nonen­forcement program envisions, will necessarily be deducted from immigration enforcement.

Part of the President’s reasoning for this order is the fact that congress has failed to provide the the $285 billion cost of deporting every illegal immigrant currently in the US and decided to use the limited resources available by focusing on undocumented immigrants who commit serious offenses and shifting resources away from college students and veterans. Scalia’s math is a bit off by some 600,000 more immigrants than is estimated to be affected by the President’s new policy.

Now to the really egregious racist spew that relied on racist Post Civil War laws that prohibited freed slaves from moving into Southern States:

Notwithstanding “[t]he myth of an era of unrestricted immigration” in the first 100 years of the Republic, the States enacted numerous laws restricting the immigration of certain classes of aliens, including convicted crimi­nals, indigents, persons with contagious diseases, and (in Southern States) freed blacks. State laws not only provided for the removal of unwanted immigrants but also imposed penalties on unlawfully present aliens and those who aided their immigration

This is comes on the heels of Scalia’s defense of tortute, his dismissal of the execution of innocent people at the hands of the states and his homophobia and his inability to distinguish legal arguments from political talking points

Scalia doesn’t seem to care that in his dotage he is sounding increasingly unhinged and more and more like a right wing talk radio host. Even Chief Justice Roberts should be embarrassed by this racist bile. If Scalia can’t control himself, he should be removed from the Court, if he doesn’t have the good sense to remove himself into retirement.  

Nov 16 2010

Supreme Court Justices’ Conflict of Interests

For a Judge’s Wife: Poor Judgement

Georgetown University Law professor, Jonathan Turley joined Rachel Maddow to discuss Supreme Court Jusice Clarence Thomas’ wife’s, Virginia Thomas, disassociate from the conservative activist group that she founded, Liberty Central and about the potential conflict of interest raised by her political advocacy work.

The question that was only hinted at, but that has been raised elsewhere, is, does this constitute a reason for impeachment? There is also the question of Justice Thomas, along with Justices Alito and Scalia, raising money for conservative political groups and a close association with the billionaire Koch brothers.