Justice Antonin Scalia (1936-2016)
by Mary W Maxwell, LLB
Do you recall Alistair Cooke’s weekly radio program on BBC called “Letter from America”? Well this isn’t it.
I am in Oz, but can tell of a few things happening up thar in The Great Republic, related to law. For example, the US Supreme Court has just handed down a ruling that it’s not illegal to take a selfie of your ballot paper before putting it in the voting box. Wow. Now we can all sleep better knowing that.
Allow me to sketch three other reports of legal affairs.
First, Obama has decided to speed up his clemency function. He has been in office almost 8 years and has three months left to issue pardons. Of course this only relates to federal prisoners.
Obama says he want to commute the sentences of non-violent persons who are doing time for drug offenses of which the law has since changed. Seems very reasonable.
Second, it has been announced that the George Mason University Law School has changed its name to “The Anton Scalia School of Law.”
Well, I have a bit if a hang-up with that. I agreed with Scalia on many cases, as he was a protector of the Con, such as in Hamdi.
Scalia said that Jose Padilla, accused of making a dirty bomb to be placed in a Chicago apartment block, should have been tried for treason. That is so correct it’s stunning that it was written as a dissenting opinion.
Per Scalia’s dissent in Hamdi, I have always said Jahar Tsarnaev should be tried for treason in regard to the Boston Marathon bombing. I also think Jahar should be acquitted, but let’s at least get the charge rights.
Article III, section 3 of the Constitution (I call it “3-3”) says waging war on your fellow Americans is treason.
The Boston Globe, and then the Prosecutor (I think it was in that order), declared of the Marathon “Three died and 264 were injured.” Nobody seems to have a list of the 264, but even just the three is a war.
Of course, had the official charge against Jahar been TREASON, there wouldn’t have been so much scope for chitchat about Islam, Chechens, and all that. For the media’s sake it’s better to invoke anti-terrorism crimes.
Furthermore, charging a person with treason might make some citizens google for “law of treason” and get educated, and we can’t have that.
Still, placing the name of Scalia on the hallowed walls of George Mason’s school, as noted above, is not nice news.
Many abused boys are saying lately that Scalia was into pedophilia. “They say” the 72-year-old died at that Texas ranch virtually in flagrante delicto. It has also been said that the ranch was devoted to many a strange affair.
Indeed they say one of Scalia’s boy victims stabbed him to death. (There was no autopsy of the Supreme Court judge, so it is hard to know if the death was by stabbing.)
All of that should be straightened out before naming a law school after him. WWGMS? What would George Mason say? He was the finest Founding Father of the US and I doubt if he is amused at the re-naming of his law school.
I also think there must be some alumni of the (formerly called) George Mason Law School who don’t appreciate the new name.
I wonder if they were even consulted.
Fiends, Romans, and Countrymen
Third, in this report on Law in America, I am happy to mention that I am a member, albeit long-distance, of the Boston chapter of the Federalist Society. Recently that chapter recruited a number of “top judges” to put on the full Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar, in a real courtroom.
Julio Caesar (“Me and Julio, Down by the Schoolyard,” what a song!) had his Et tu, Brute moment in 44BC — so this year, 2016, is the 2060 anniversary. The following notice was sent to Federalist Society members:
“Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s classic depiction of the abuse of power, political assassination and intrigue – a plot that would rival any episode of House of Cards or Scandal. The play offers a valuable and timeless springboard for a discussion of the use of executive power in 21st century America …”
Participants in the theatre (this is not some Melbourne Fringe amateur-wannabee type deal) were:
David J. Barron, United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals, Martha Coakley, Former Attorney General of Massachusetts, Nancy Gertner, Retired Judge, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and:
George A. O’Toole, Jr., United States District Judge for the District of Assachusetts
Wow. It’s a good thing I wasn’t there. I wonder if he played Mark Antony. I would have liked to have played Cassius:
Act I, scene III:
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
That’s Cassius as in yon, as in lean and hungry look, as in thinks too much. Such men were dangerous two thousand years ago and are gettin’ more dangerous all the time.
— Mary W Maxwell has got some irons in the fire. Stay tuned.
Photo Credit: mashable.com