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?

The Watering Hole; Thursday May 2, 2013: “The Future”

I watched with some interest the other day as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor noted, somewhat subtly, that she might have gone the wrong way on the December 2000 SCOTUS “selection” of George W. Bush over Al Gore when the court, by a 5-4 margin, effectively dismissed the effort in Florida to accurately determine the will of the voters in the presidential election. Had the Supreme Court not intervened, had they allowed Florida to do what needed to be done in the vote recount process, it’s entirely likely that Gore would, indeed, have become President of the US rather than Bush. Instead, the court handed us an absolute disaster. Seems as though O’Connor has finally figured out that had she acted properly on the issue, said disaster would have been averted and avoided, and if so the country would not likely be, as it is today, teetering on the edge of the abyss of political and financial collapse.

Today, even as former ‘President’ George W. Bush works at mastering the art of painting himself in bath and/or shower, Al Gore’s latest book is now available both on library and book store shelves everywhere. It’s entitled The Future (Random House; 2013; ISBN 978-0-8129-9294-6) and is well worth a read by all those who ‘see’ the sadness in today’s American-style political reality. I won’t go into any lengthy or detailed discussion here other than to include a verbatim snippet or two in which Gore discusses that Republican Proto-Fascistic ‘wingnut’ entity, the so-called Tea Party. The following quotes are variously found within pages 118-121 of the aforementioned book:

Within the United States, it is a measure of how distorted the “conversation of democracy” has become that in the aftermath of the economic catastrophe, the most significant “populist” reaction in the U.S. political system was not a progressive demand for protective regulations to prevent a recurrence of what had just happened, but instead a right-wing faux-populist demand by the Tea Party for less government regulation. This movement was financed and hijacked by corporate and right-wing lobbyists who took advantage of the sense of grievance and steered it toward support of an agenda that promoted corporate interests and further diminished the ability of the government to rein in abuses. Extreme partisanship by congressional Tea Party Republicans almost produced a default of the U.S. government in 2011, and threatened to again at the end of 2012.

The sudden growth of the Tea Party was also due in significant measure to its promotion by Fox News, which under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch and the leadership of a former media strategist for Richard Nixon–Roger Ailes–has exceeded the wildest dreams of the Powell Plan’s emphasis on changing the nature of American television.

[. . .]

This shift has now moved so far to the right that it is not unusual for Democrats to propose ideas that originated with Republicans a few years ago, only to have them summarily rejected as “socialist.” The resulting impasse threatens the future of hugely popular entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, and is heightening partisan divisions on questions considered basic and nonnegotiable on both sides. The tensions have grown more impassioned and bitter than at any point in American history since the decades leading up to the Civil War.

“Market fundamentalism” has acquired, in the eyes of its critics, a quasi-religious fervor reminiscent of the zeal that many Marxists displayed before communism failed–although those to whom the label applies feel that liberals and progressives pursue the ideology of “statism” with a single-minded devotion. U.S. self-government is now almost completely dysfunctional, incapable of making important decisions necessary to reclaim control of its destiny.

The more control over democratic decision making by powerful wealthy interests, the more they are able to ensure that decisions on policy enhance their wealth and power. [highlighting mine]

Gore admittedly has the power of retro-view on his side, as does Sandra Day O’Connor, as do the rest of us. Still, I’ll never forget my own impressions, my own discomfort and ‘fear’ I felt that day, the day the popular vote election of Al Gore was effectively overturned and George W. Bush was ‘selected’ as President of the United States. It caused me to recall the words of the former French Ambassador to Germany, Andre Francois-Poncet, who, having viewed the festivities in Berlin on the night of January 30, 1933 as Hitler and his Fascist Right political movement celebrated their ascension to full power of the state, wrote:

“The river of fire flowed past the French embassy
whence, with heavy heart and filled with foreboding
I watched its luminous wake.”

I remember well the moment of Bush’s first inaugural celebration on January 20, 2001, and how as I watched, I again recalled those words of Andre Francois-Poncet. Yesterday, May 1, 2013, was the tenth anniversary of Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” event; a quick glance at what’s happened to this country since the notorious ‘selection’ of the President by the SCOTUS in December, 2000, ironically suggests that yes, the “Mission” of the American Fascist Right’s longtime goal is finally, indeed, on the verge of being “Accomplished,” that The Future does not, in consequence, look anything other than ‘foreboding’ as we watch the ‘luminous wake’ of Right Wing nuttery gradually overwhelm each and every vestige of common sense.

This is Today’s Open Thread. Speak Your Mind!