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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Right-wing crankiness on full display

In his new book, The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court, Jeffrey Toobin writes that the dissent Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a case striking down part of Arizona’s notorious law on immigration (Arizona et. Al. v. United States) "marked his transition from conservative intellectual to right-wing crank." (Writing in Salon, Paul F. Campos has another term for Scalia: "Intellectual fraud.")

The crankiness was on full display last week, when Scalia spoke at the American Enterprise Institute. He discussed some of the toughest issues to face the Court. They are the kinds of cases that prompt many justices, and other Americans in all walks of life, to wrestle with their consciences.

But not Antonin Scalia, who declared:
The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.
That we might have become a more civilized nation since the days when death had to be by torture for it to be considered "cruel and unusual" and the days when women effectively were the property of men, is of no concern to Justice Scalia. He prefers to party like it’s 1789.

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