Asshole of the Day for May 29, 2013: Justice Scalia
There’s a lot of assholes on the Supreme Court, so it’s saying something when the other assholes go out of their way to mention that they don’t agree with the dissent that Scalia wrote. And what was so bad that they all distanced themselves from it?
If you’re innocent of a crime and wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, Justice Scalia doesn’t care, and thinks you should have no way to present proof of innocence if it comes out later, because, well, it’s more work for the judges. Here’s the story:
Scalia’s final paragraphs claim that the practice of allowing broad challenges to unconstitutional state convictions, including cases where a state prisoner may in fact be innocent, was a “Faustian bargain that traded the simple elegance of the common-law writ of habeas corpus for federal-court power to probe the substantive merits of state-court convictions.” As Scalia warns, permitting state prisoners to challenge their conviction in federal court leads to “floods of stale, frivolous and repetitious petitions [which] inundate the docket of the lower courts and swell our own.”
Justice Scalia is correct that judges have to do more work if potential innocents are allowed to seek vindication. Unlike prisoners locked up for crimes they did not commit, however, those judges will also get to go home every day.
Letting an innocent man rot in jail because it might be more work. Now THAT’S an asshole.
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