I can't believe I overlooked this Horsey cartoon and column last week! I guess other news distracted me; that and I was still recovering from the latest iteration of the flu. But clearly David was more than merely annoyed at Justice Scalia. He was appalled. As in steam-coming-out-of-his-ears appalled.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is alleged to be one of the great intellects of conservative jurisprudence, but his comments during oral arguments over a challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act displayed all the mental acuity of a third-tier talk radio bozo. ...
... After extensive testimony, lawmakers determined that a long list of problems still exists and they renewed the Voting Rights Act for an additional 25 years. The vote was overwhelming in the House unanimous in the Senate and was hailed by President George W. Bush as a victory for American democracy.
In court on Wednesday, however, Scalia mocked that vote. He said the Senate’s unanimity simply proved the law had not been given serious consideration. The senators were afraid, he said, to cast a vote against a law with a "wonderful" name. He went on to assert that the reauthorization of the act was merely "a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement."
That sort of legal reasoning may be good enough for someone sitting on a bar stool well into his third pint, but it is not good enough for the highest court in the land. Scalia makes self-serving assumptions about what was on the minds of senators in 2006 -- afraid, not serious, enamored with a name -- with no facts to back up his barbs. ...
Undeterred, Scalia opined that a law governing voting rights is "not the kind of question you can leave to Congress." Oh, really? The right to vote is the core of our constitutional democracy. It is not, as Scalia says, "a racial entitlement," it is an American entitlement. It seems that might be a very useful thing for Congress to watch over and protect. It was eminently important in 1965 and remains important today. ...
Given the weirdness of his comments, it might not be wrong to assume Scalia's true concern is less about "racial entitlement" than it is about making sure his fellow Republicans are entitled. Entitled, that is, to manipulate elections when they can no longer win fair and square. [Emphasis added]
Preach it, my brother!
Two questions arise in my mind at this point.
First, what will happen with respect to the decision? Will Kennedy vote with the liberals? Did Scalia overplay his hand, appalling the Chief Justice enough to shift his vote on the issue, joining Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Breyer? I don't imagine Alito will be bothered: he's not known as "Scalito" for nothing. And Thomas? Oh, please! He's not going to miss a chance to piss off liberals.
Second, regardless of the outcome of the decision (and those opinions are going to make for some very interesting reading), what will happen to Justice Scalia for his intemperate and injudicious remarks? Anything? Because Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, the only way to remove this yahoo is by impeachment. I really can't see this House of Representatives introducing impeachment proceedings, much less voting for impeachment.
I think we're stuck with him until he decides to retire or dies.
I really am too old for this.