Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scalia and Virginia

The best thing for the United States would be if Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas would decide that their true calling in life is to open a bait and tackle shop in Cape Cod.

The latest from Scalia is that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment doesn’t protect women’s rights. It’s not that papa Antonio is opposed to women’s rights, or so he claims, he simply claims that wasn’t the original intent of those who wrote the 14th Amendment in the mid-nineteenth century.

Uh-huh, yet he believes that the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, written in the eighteenth century, somehow allows corporations to spend as much money as they want to influence elections.

Basically Scalia retreats to a doctrine of “originalism” when it suits his purpose but he’s quite happy to allow the Constitution to grow and be interpreted broadly when that suits his purpose.

In other words, he’s a hypocrite that’s only interested in his personal right wing opinions. He doesn’t have an objective bone in his body. Everything is viewed through a lens of personal subjectivity. He’s a small man in a job that requires someone who can see beyond himself and small men can’t do that.

As for Virginia, they are on the verge there of executing a woman for the first time in 98 years. Forty-one year old Teresa Lewis was convicted of hiring two men to kill her husband in 2002 so she could collect a $250,000 insurance policy. The two men that actually did the killing got life without parole. Lewis would be the twelfth woman executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

This is one of those cases that make it hard upon death penalty opponents. Lewis is clearly guilty. There is absolutely no chance of a mistake so how, ethically, can one argue that she doesn’t deserve to pay with her own life for the life she took?

The answer is that the argument against capital punishment is not based upon specific cases but upon the totality of the institution. I do not deny that some people absolutely deserve to be executed. But I would prefer a thousand murderers that deserve execution end up with life without parole rather than one innocent person die.

Teresa Lewis is not an argument against capital punishment. The very real certainty of errors is.

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