The Watering Hole, Monday, April 21st, 2014: SCALIA: JUSTice REVOLTing

Why does Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia keep giving us more reasons to question his fitness for his job?

It’s not like he hasn’t provided ample evidence of judicial bias over the years, the most fateful of which being his participation in the Selection of George W. Bush as President in Bush v Gore. Scalia’s later spinning of that decision, along with his callous exhortations to Gore voters to “get over it!”, calls into question both the decision and his more recent mental competence. One commenter on the linked article, which is from 2012, succinctly put it:

“Since Supreme Court decisions are intended to set legal precedent going forward (although in this bizarre instance the court stated this decision was meant to be sui generis, an abrogation of its function) then it is literally impossible to “get over” a Supreme Court decision. Maybe this swaggering jerk should step down if he doesn’t get that.”

justice scalia being rude
From a 2012 article in The Daily Beast, some info about the most infamous photo of Scalia:

Scalia didn’t appreciate a reporter from the Boston Herald asking him in 2006 how he responds to critics who say his religion impairs his fairness in rulings. “To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’” Scalia reportedly said, flicking his right hand from under his chin. In Italian, this not-so subtle phrase means “f–k off” and the accompanying hand flick is equally rude. “You’re not going to print that are you?” he apparently asked in an interaction that occurred, it’s worth noting, inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross at Sunday mass.”

[emphasis mine]

Scalia has no love for LGBT Americans, as discussed in a 2013 Mother Jones article. One example:

“In his dissent in Lawrence [Lawrence v Texas], Scalia argued that moral objections to homosexuality were sufficient justification for criminalizing gay sex. “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home,” he wrote. “They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

And in this Mother Jones article from February of 2012, sarcastically entitled “Supreme Court Poised to Declare Racism Over”, the [dis]honarable Justice Scalia displays his views on racial discrimination during Shelby County, Alabama’s challenge to the Voting Rights Act. From the article:

That’s not to say all discrimination is a thing of the past. In the eyes of the high court’s conservatives, America has transcended its tragic history of disenfranchising minorities, but there’s still one kind of discrimination that matters: Discrimination against the states covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Justice Antonin Scalia said that it was “sort of extraordinary to say” that “Congress can just pick out…these eight states,” referring to the states covered by Section 5.

Later, Scalia telegraphed his reasoning for what will almost certainly be a vote to strike down part of the law. Explaining overwhelming support for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization in Congress in 2006, Scalia called Section 5 the “perpetuation of a racial entitlement” that legislators would never have the courage to overturn. “In the House there are practically black districts by law now,” Scalia complained.

[Makes ya wonder how Scalia’s Siamese twin, Clarence Thomas, REALLY feels about discrimination against other American citizens of color.]

When Supreme Court Justices are connected at the spine

When Supreme Court Justices are connected at the spine

Conan O'Brien hits the nail on the head

Conan O’Brien hits the nail on the head

And then there’s these:
scalia court not political

Delusions of grandeur?

Delusions of grandeur?

Last week, Justice Scalia came out with another disturbing notion. From yesterday’s Think Progress thread:

“During an event at the University of Tennessee’s law school on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested to the capacity crowd that perhaps they should revolt against the U.S government if their taxes ever get too high.

During a question and answer part of the event, a student asked Scalia about the constitutionality of a federal income tax. Scalia assured the questioner that the tax was in fact permissible by the constitution, but added that if it ever became too high, “perhaps you should revolt.” … Supreme Court justices have largely refrained from such rhetoric. Still, in recent years, Scalia has shifted even further to the right than when he was first appointed.

Days later, at a joint appearance with fellow Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Scalia offered a bit of ironic commentary on inflammatory rhetoric. “It sometimes annoys me when somebody has made outrageous statements that are hateful,” he told the audience at the National Press Club. “Sometimes the press will say, ‘well, he was just exercising his first amendment rights’…You can be using your first amendment rights and it can be abominable that you are using your first amendment rights. I’ll defend your right to use it, but I will not defend the appropriateness of the manner in which you are using it.”

[Right back atcha, Antonin.]

And all of this from someone who was once a regular on the PBS series “Ethics In America”. The series was produced by the Columbia University Seminars on Media and Society and was hosted by Fred Friendly; individual episodes can be viewed here. I recommend checking out some of the episodes; the ones with Scalia show a younger, more reasonable and slightly more jovial Antonin Scalia.

These days, I don’t believe that Antonin Scalia knows the meaning of the word “ethics.”

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

36 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, April 21st, 2014: SCALIA: JUSTice REVOLTing

  1. I was going to do a vocabulary word of the day but, I cannot decide between, arrogance, cognitive dissonance, or dementia.

  2. (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914)

    • In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

    • The battle we have fought, and are still fighting
    for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict of right
    and wrong.
    – John Muir

    • I ‘walked with nature’ just a little ago. I mowed my yard, first time this year! Had a robin drop down right in front of me to get what appeared to be several worms I had uncovered on the previous pass. I just stopped and waited until he finished his snack, and then he flew up to the roof of my shed to see what else I’d serve up for him!

  3. Charlotte Bronte 21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855

    The Wood

    But two miles more, and then we rest!
    Well, there is still an hour of day,
    And long the brightness of the West
    Will light us on our devious way;
    Sit then, awhile, here in this wood —
    So total is the solitude,
    We safely may delay.

    • California is the only state that allows

      Lane Splitting General Guidelines

      by motorcycle.
      As a car driver the lane splitting bikes scare the beejeezeesus out of me. They’ll come zooming up the lane line just squeezing between cars.

        • I think I would go with “idiots”. Anyone who tries to be an asshole, on a motorcycle, while surrounded by idiots who are surrounded by steel is, by definition, an idiot.

          NOTE: I don’t know if that will make any sense to anyone but me but I will stick with it and hope for the best. The short version is “anyone who is willing to drive a motorcycle, surrounded by idiots, is an idiot”.

      • It took me three or four attempts to get through the whole thing. I was trying to figure out whether there were more stupid motorcycle riders or more stupid other drivers and pedestrians but, once I made it through the whole thing, I just reinforced my previous belief that there are far too many stupid people on the planet, including myself, to ever ride a motorcycle again.

  4. The goombah phrase actually means “up your ass”.
    Or as my late uncle said, “uppa you ess”
    Theres a few more slangy Sicilian words and phrases that could fit but the culo one has really brought back some memories from the Northeast 🙂

  5. How did I miss this? I will just ignore all the more meaningful opportunities for commentary to ask a question. How would the rightwhiners react if a prominent Democrat appeared at a religious university wearing a track suit, complete with the extra added three inches of cleavage, and stripper shoes? Seriously. You can see exactly where she got busy with her scissors in order to present a deeper neck line. The freaks must be blind and stupid in order to generate such poutrage when we sane folk call the Tundra Tart a “tart”. An accurate description is not an insult!

    • Maybe it’s not deliberate. Maybe the clothes she grifted from the RNC are just now starting to come apart in the washer.

  6. In a loving tribute to her father, Sasha Sagan remembers how she came to learn about death. She describes an exchange in which she asked Carl if he would ever see his deceased parents again. He responded that “there was nothing he would like more in the world than to see his mother and father again, but that he had no reason — and no evidence — to support the idea of an afterlife, so he couldn’t give in to the temptation”:

    ‘Then he told me, very tenderly, that it can be dangerous to believe things just because you want them to be true. You can get tricked if you don’t question yourself and others, especially people in a position of authority. He told me that anything that’s truly real can stand up to scrutiny. As far as I can remember, this is the first time I began to understand the permanence of death. As I veered into a kind of mini existential crisis, my parents comforted me without deviating from their scientific worldview.

    “You are alive right this second. That is an amazing thing,” they told me. When you consider the nearly infinite number of forks in the road that lead to any single person being born, they said, you must be grateful that you’re you at this very second.

    Think of the enormous number of potential alternate universes where, for example, your great-great-grandparents never meet and you never come to be. Moreover, you have the pleasure of living on a planet where you have evolved to breathe the air, drink the water, and love the warmth of the closest star. You’re connected to the generations through DNA — and, even farther back, to the universe, because every cell in your body was cooked in the hearts of stars. We are star stuff, my dad famously said, and he made me feel that way.’

    • Within the last week I came across census records that show that my paternal grandmother’s last name was Clark, not Mason as had been thought. The 1920 record showed my grandfather, his wife, son, daughter and father-in-law living under one roof, The 1930 record was the same except it was his mother-in-law listed. They were from Virginia.

  7. I had to stop watching the motorcycle video at 1:24. I stopped watching at 30 seconds. I can’t stomach the idiocy as much as I did years ago. I hope that’s the result of my advancing years as opposed to having been worn down by the opposition.

    Around the corner from me, just past old Peckerhead Pete’s house, the county has been doing some infrastructure work. I always view the labors of municipal crews as an opportunity to brush up on my sidewalk supervisor skills and wandered down to observe. I was aware of the purpose of the project, storm drainage to alleviate the frequent flooding of Peckerhead’s property and the next two properties past his house. Sometimes after a heavy rain water comes into Pete’s house and the house on the next corner will have several inches of water inside their house for a couple days at a time. having worked briefly for a company that installed sewage pipe (I left the same day a man died from a bank cave-in), I felt the need to inspect the work site and walked down to the job site.

    The men in the crew were standing in and around a shallow hole at the corner of next street down, waiting for another member of the crew, an equipment operator in the process of making some tight turns and back and forth positioning to avoid a line of traffic consisting of school buses and cars with kids who were headed for the elementary school a block away. This situation afforded me the opportunity to make inquiries to the men in and around the hole about their labors and about the surveying they were doing without a transit. It was a pleasant and informative session – until the equipment operator had completed his maneuvering and delivered a section of pipe to the crew in the hole.

    The county works their road crews 4 ten-hour days and the crew was still at work later that day, when all the traffic was leaving the school and I decided to take a break for my research/organizing to see what progress had been made by the county crew. The inquiry as to my birth place from the equipment operator prompted me to provide the answer and to inquire about the genealogical heritage of his native to St. Augustine status.

    His misunderstanding of the history of the Minorcans in St. Augustine was duly corrected by me, whence i was subjected to a string of epithets and I suspect a great displeasure came upon him being in the presence of an educated Yankee and he got on his machine and drove away to get another piece of pipe. There was no gloating in me nor pleasure in his displeasure, until one of the other men on the crew, all who had heard the exchange I had had with the equipment, offered to buy me a 12-pack of any beer I wanted if I could piss off the equipment operator to walk off the job and go home!

    I’ve said a lot, maybe too much for now. Information about Peckerhead’s venture into growing worms and raising chickens will have to wait. 🙂

      • No. I didn’t want to be responsible for possibly stopping the work for lack of an equipment operator. One thing I will say is that the man is an experienced operator, I noticed that watching his earlier maneuvering and I also overheard him taunting another worker about his (the operator) retirement in four months. I expect if he did walk off the job that his boss, who I know, would be pissed at me.

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