9/11: San Diegans to Demonstrate Against Supreme Court Justice Scalia

by on September 9, 2014 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights, Organizing, Politics, San Diego, Women's Rights

 Scalia: an Utter Moral Failure – See Below

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Some San Diegans will be honoring September 11th by demonstrating for their freedoms and against US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – who is attending the California State Bar Convention being held in San Diego this week – for abusing the rights of so many Americans.  Scalia consistently voted against women’s rights, most recently in the Hobby Lobby case, has equated homosexuality to murder and bestiality, and overturned key elements of the Voting Rights Act.

Justice Scalia will be here on Thursday, September 11th.

Women Occupy San Diego and the San Diego Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will demonstrate against the appearance  at 11:30 a.m. Hyatt Grand, 1 Market Place. The demonstration focuses on the Supreme Court’s attacks on the rights of women, workers, minorities, and honest elections.

Organizer Kate Yavenditti, a member of both organizations, states:

“As a lawyer and a feminist, I am outraged that the State Bar would invite Justice Scalia to speak at our convention. Justice Scalia has equated homosexuality to murder and bestiality, has said the Voting Rights Act is a racial entitlement, has stated that mere factual innocence is no reason to overturn a death sentence, and has consistently voted against women’s rights, most recently in the Hobby Lobby case.”

The demonstration features the five Justices who voted for Hobby Lobby with their statements and also presents the Occupellas (of Women Occupy San Diego) with appropriate songs.

Where: At California State Bar Convention in San Diego; Hyatt Grand Hotel,

When: Thursday, September 11 at 11:30 am, 

CONTACs: Kate Yavenditti, (619) 917-7971, Anne Hoiberg, (858) 245-1677

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Scalia: An Utter Moral Failure

By Heather Digby Parton /  Salon-RSN / 08 September 14

He doesn’t think executing an innocent man matters. How on earth can such a depraved human be on our Supreme Court?

While my views on the morality of the death penalty have nothing to do with how I vote as a judge, they have a lot to do with whether I can or should be a judge at all. To put the point in the blunt terms employed by Justice Harold Blackmun towards the end of his career on the bench, when he announced that he would henceforth vote (as Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall had previously done) to overturn all death sentences, when I sit on a Court that reviews and affirms capital convictions, I am part of “the machinery of death.”

My vote, when joined with at least four others, is, in most cases, the last step that permits an execution to proceed. I could not take part in that process if I believed what was being done to be immoral.
Justice Antonin Scalia

ne might wonder how he can stay on the court after the revelation last week that two convicted murderers he once described as lucky to be given the blessing of a lethal injection have turned out to be innocent. That’s right, this is about the case everyone’s been talking about — the two brothers, both mentally disabled, who were railroaded onto death row some 30 years ago with coerced confessions by a corrupt police department. As the New York Times reported:

The case against the men, always weak, fell apart after DNA evidence implicated another man whose possible involvement had been somehow overlooked by the authorities even though he lived only a block from where the victim’s body was found, and he had admitted to committing a similar rape and murder around the same time.

The startling shift in fortunes for the men, Henry Lee McCollum, 50, who has spent three decades on death row, and Leon Brown, 46, who was serving a life sentence, provided one of the most dramatic examples yet of the potential harm from false, coerced confessions and of the power of DNA tests to exonerate the innocent.

They were 19 and 15 at the time of the murder and their conviction was based on nothing more than their coerced confessions, one of which was said to have ended with the defendant saying, “Can I go home now?” It was a famous case, used often by law and order Republican politicians in North Carolina as an electoral cudgel with which to beat Democratic rivals over the head. The state appeals process eventually reduced the sentence of one of the defendants to life in prison but until a state commission with power to subpoena evidence looked into it, the DNA from the scene was not tested and other evidence from the crime scene that implicated another convicted rapist was never processed. When they were, they exonerated these two men.

What exactly was it that Justice Scalia said about them? Well, he cited this particular case in the decision on Collins v. Collins back in 1994 in which he disagreed with Justice Harry Blackmun on the constitutionality of the death penalty. This was the famous case in which Justice Blackmun disavowed his former support for capital punishment and declared that he would no longer “tinker with the machinery of death.” Scalia wrote, with characteristic sarcasm:

Justice Blackmun begins his statement by describing with poignancy the death of a convicted murderer by lethal injection. He chooses, as the case in which to make that statement, one of the less brutal of the murders that regularly come before us, the murder of a man ripped by a bullet suddenly and unexpectedly, with no opportunity to prepare himself and his affairs, and left to bleed to death on the floor of a tavern. The death-by-injection which Justice Blackmun describes looks pretty desirable next to that. It looks even better next to some of the other cases currently before us, which Justice Blackmun did not select as the vehicle for his announcement that the death penalty is always unconstitutional, for example, the case of the 11-year-old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat. How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared with that!”

Yes, how very enviable. Unless the defendants are innocent, in which case it is as horrifying as the brutal slaying of the victim, particularly after 30 years spent imprisoned in a small cell waiting for the day that he will know in advance he is to die. That alone is cruel and unusual punishment. Not that Justice Scalia sees it that way. (His comments suggest that the methods of punishment should be directly correlated to the luridness of the crime, an antediluvian concept rejected by the Enlightenment-influenced writers of the Constitution he alleges to take so literally.)

Death penalty supporters inevitably use cases like this to illustrate that “the system worked” and, by implication, always works. Except that’s sophistry and everyone knows it. The only reason it worked in this case was because the state of North Carolina empowered an outside commission to investigate. And what they found was malfeasance, a coverup and a corrupt indifference to justice. The legal system obscured the truth at every level and every step along the way. There is no way of knowing how often that happens but any sentient being realizes that it is impossible that this was the only time.

Worst of all, Justice Scalia and other death penalty proponents who find nothing immoral in the state’s conscious, coldblooded taking of a life are equally unconcerned that they might be taking the life of an innocent person. The horrifying injustice in such a mistake (or criminal corruption) is irrelevant. Apparently as long as the train of the legal system runs on time there’s no cause for him to lose any sleep. Indeed, Scalia has said so:

This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.

This man claims that he could not be a judge if he thought his participation in the death penalty was immoral and yet he does not believe it matters under the Constitution if the state executes innocent people. How on earth can such a depraved person be on the Supreme Court of the United States? On what basis can our country lay claim to a superior system of justice and a civilized moral order when such people hold power?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Avatar Cowboy October 6, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Hey!
Just read your article, well after the fact.
You wonder how some depraved person sit on the Supreme Court.
Well politics put them there. But we the people can permanently remove them. Go to Move On and read my “Amending of Article III of US Constitution”. Thereafter sign on, circulate and get others to sign and circulate too.
We amend the Constitution, as I set out, all Judges will answer to the vote of the people, and have a term limit, just like the President, two four year terms and
their history.
Since the Bill of Rights provides all men are created equal, which in fact were not treated that way, plus no person is so great, that they should have a life time tenure in any job, much less one based strictly on their political views.
This applies toy other petition as well regarding the House and Senate, also copy on MoveOn.

Thanks for your time and hope you all agree we need some real serious change in how our government operates, eg, answers to the people, not big or deep pockets.

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