*Cross posted from Central Sanity*
Antonin Scalia has been called a strict constructionist and a provocateur - well, he's a provocateur anyhow. This week at a Canadian judicial panel he told this whopper:
"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so."So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes." as reported by The Globe and Mail .
Canadian Judge Mosely didn't think too highly of the idea, "The agents of the state, and the agents of the Canadian state, under the Criminal Code, are very much subject to severe criminal sanction if they would engage in torture," he said.
Scalia countered that it would be folly for laws to force counterterrorism agents to wear kid gloves all the time. Odd that in a 2004 dissent he wrote, "If civil rights are to be curtailed during wartime, it must be done openly and democratically, as the Constitution requires, rather than by silent erosion through an opinion of this court," so evidently he prefers that the erosion occur at the level of counterterrorism agents.
Excuse me, but this is one of the lamest abdications of personal responsibility since Scooter claimed he was a nice guy and perjury and obstruction don't count. Let's have a little perspective here, IF an agent figures that his obtaining information is so absolutely critical that he needs to violate ethics and the law in the process of getting it, then he should be ready to accept the consequences. One of the consequences of being a soldier is possibly getting killed, maybe they should just be excused from duty and those soldiers sure better not commit murder...
How is this supposed to work? What codification of circumstances is not going to just leave this to the discretion of the agent? We all know that every agent is bound by the highest codes of ethics. Nobody in the Justice Department or CIA would just wantonly violate such codes. I am astonished, we're becoming the USSR and our government the terrorists. I guess the Constitution is "just a piece of paper."