Saturday, June 30, 2007

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thinks the Scales of Justice Tip in Favor of Torture

For pity's sake. How much longer will the people of the United States of America continue to tolerate the suited thugs that run their government and the gowned thugs that claim to dispense justice?!*

Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the highest and last court of appeal in the land, got into a revealing verbal scuffle with a Canadian judge at a recent Ottawa conference. During a panel on terrorism, torture, and the law, the Canadian judge quipped: "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra 'What would Jack Bauer do?'" (This, of course, refers to the hero of the popular television show 24. Agent Jack Bauer regularly tortures bad guys to save the U.S. from imminent disaster. The show could just as well be titled Ticking Bomb.)
Okay. To be honest, the Canadian judge's observation (although true enough) was probably also intended to provoke Scalia by criticizing the uber-conservative agenda he pushes on the bench. But does the good Justice rise above the dig? Nope. Instead, he incredibly defends Bauer's MO of torturing terrorists week in and week out. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles," Scalia retorted. "He saved thousands of lives. Are you going to convict Jack Bauer [for torturing]?" Scalia asked this question of his fellow jurists, but then (true to form) jumped in with his own answer. "I don't think so," he said. "So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes [for example, right to a jury trial]. And ought we to believe in these absolutes."
And so ends Torture Awareness Month, with an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court declaring that torture, if done under the "right" conditions and for the "right" reasons, ought not to be criminal. In fact, in the best Hollywood style, torture's downright heroic.
Holy Bill of Rights, Batman!
*I don't mean to imply that all suited politicians and gowned jurists in the States are thugs. It just seems that, lately, many of them are--especially the ones in high places.