The Supreme Court ruled today that Oklahoma may continue using a controversial lethal injection drug for executions, and while that seems to be the word for now, the dissenting judges hinted or outright stated that they're ready to declare the death penalty itself unconstitutional.
Justice Antonin Scalia is having none of that, however, and he shot back with an absurd justification for the death penalty.
"But we federal judges live in a world apart from the vast majority of Americans. After work, we retire to homes in placid suburbia or to high-rise co-ops with guards at the door. We are not confronted with the threat of violence that is ever present in many Americans’ everyday lives. The suggestion that the incremental deterrent effect of capital punishment does not seem 'significant' reflects, it seems to me, a let-them-eat-cake obliviousness to the needs of others. Let the People decide how much incremental deterrence is appropriate."
Right wing populism can be a horrifying thing.
In so many words, Scalia argues that The Poors should be allowed to decide for themselves what level of barbarism will satisfy their vengeful, emotional needs in perhaps the most basic form of federalist nincompoopery you'll ever see.
If you've been following along in recent days, Scalia's opinion that the court should relinquish constitutional interpretation of cruel and unusual punishment to "the People" is contradictory to his other recent opinions.
This is a man who, just a few days ago, was ready to use the court's power to strike down the Affordable Care Act because of a single sentence while ignoring the fact that the progenitors of law thoroughly affirmed their intent. Scalia would have made this decision while also ignoring the will of "the People" who effectively voted in favor of Obamacare in 2012.
If there was some vague notion that Scalia is secretly brilliant or a refined legal savant, that notion should be put to rest. The only thing you can count on from Justice Scalia is rank incoherence and obscure insults.
The good news is Scalia will not have another chance to impress us with his twisted pretzels of logic until this time next year.
I suppose that's bad news for comedians.