Antonin Scalia – No One Dares Say What Needs to be Said
Antonin Scalia – No One Dares Say What Needs to be Said
Reagan, senile before his time, was ultimately responsible for the black robed thug
An excellent article from the World
It covers the welcome and long overdue death
of a monster, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. I know I’ve posted on this before but I think this article spells out more clearly the political hypocrisy
of the establishment – both its conservative and liberal wings, in the USA.
As Shakespeare noted of MacBeth, nothing became Scalia’s life so much as his leaving of it.
The sickening tributes across the official
US political and media spectrum to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who
died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 79, are a barometer of the putrefaction
of American democracy.
The universal deference towards Scalia from
what passes for the “liberal” faction of the establishment is particularly
repulsive. The statements of the Democratic presidential candidates, the
supposed “socialist” Bernie Sanders no less than Hillary Clinton—echoing
similarly sycophantic drivel from the likes of the New York Times—are monuments
to political cowardice.
Scalia being sworn in
One would say these people lack the courage
of their convictions if they had any convictions to lack!
They have sprung into action to join their
Republican counterparts in hailing Scalia as a towering figure in American
jurisprudence. Virtually every description of the deceased justice includes the
words “brilliant” and “intellectual.” One is reminded of the programmed
acclamation of Sergeant Raymond Shaw recited by his brainwashed fellow soldiers
in the film The Manchurian Candidate: “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest,
most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”
Sanders took time off from his hollow calls
for a “political revolution” to demonstrate his political obeisance to the
ruling class, declaring, “While I differed with Justice Scalia’s views and
jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme
Clinton praised Scalia as “a dedicated
public servant who brought energy and passion to the bench.”
President Obama called Scalia a “towering
legal figure.” The New York Times’ Ross Douthat hailed Scalia for “putting
originalist principle above a partisan conservatism,” and for his “combination
of brilliance, eloquence, and good timing.”
No one dares say what needs to be said. The
object of their veneration was a black-robed thug and sadist who used his
position on the bench to attack the basic civil liberties laid down in the US
Constitution and Bill of Rights—separation of church and state; due process;
protection from arbitrary arrest, search and seizure; the right to trial by
jury; protection from cruel and unusual punishment; the right to vote.
His supposed juridical brilliance boiled
down to starting with the political outcome he desired (invariably reactionary)
and then cobbling together pseudo-legal arguments to justify his ruling—often
with flagrant disregard for legal precedent and the unambiguous language of
statutes and constitutional provisions.
In one case last year, Scalia argued that a
police officer did not use “deadly force” when he climbed onto an overpass and
used an assault rifle to kill an unarmed man fleeing in a car. According to
Scalia’s reasoning, it was not deadly force because the officer claimed to have
been aiming at the car, not the person in the car.
Perhaps the most infamous example of this
method—absurdly described in the media as “constitutional originalism”—was the
2000 Supreme Court decision Scalia engineered to halt the counting of votes in
Florida and hand the White House to the loser of the election, Republican
candidate George W. Bush.
The 5-4 decision to steal the election all
but acknowledged its own speciousness when it declared that the justifications
it advanced could not be applied to any future cases. In his separate
concurring opinion, Scalia declared that the Constitution did not give the
people the right to elect the president.
At the time of the theft of the 2000
elections, the World Socialist Web Site wrote that the Supreme Court’s decision
to stop the counting of votes, and the acceptance of that ruling by the
Democrats and the entire political establishment, demonstrated that there was
no longer any significant constituency for democratic rights within the
American ruling class.
The reaction to Scalia’s death is a measure
of the further erosion of democratic sentiment in the ruling elite.
Scalia personified the decay of bourgeois
democracy in the United States over a protracted period of time. Appointed to
the bench by Ronald Reagan, he flourished and exerted increasing influence in
the decades of political reaction, militarism and Wall Street criminality that
ensued, continuing without a hitch under Obama. Not only in the anti-democratic
substance of his rulings, but also in his methods and bearing, he embodied the
promotion by the ruling elite of backwardness, prejudice and outright cruelty.
He was corrupt and made no bones about his
corruption, proudly voting to remove limits on corporate bribes in elections
and flaunting his private outings with Vice President Dick Cheney while the
latter was a party in a case before the court. He was a bully, making a
practice of baiting and harassing lawyers who came before him.
Throughout his career, Scalia consistently
advocated positions that can only be described as barbarous and fascistic.
Fittingly, his last judicial act was to deny a stay of execution. He was a
figure who relished the power and trappings of the state, openly defending
torture and internment camps.
Scalia worked tirelessly to break down
constitutional and democratic limits on state power, infiltrating fascistic
doctrines into Supreme Court jurisprudence. His theory of executive power,
according to which the American president has unlimited and unreviewable powers
for the duration of the “war on terror,” resurrects Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt’s
“state of exception” doctrine in all but name.
Scalia’s mere presence on the court
testified to the advanced decay of American democracy. That decay is linked, on
the one hand, to the extreme growth of social inequality, accompanied by the
rampant parasitism and criminality of the ruling class, and on the other hand
to unending war, which has its domestic reflection in the build up of the
repressive state apparatus that Scalia championed.
The bitterness of the disputes over his
replacement is a reflection of the importance of his role in American politics
over three decades during which the political establishment shifted violently
to the right.
The deference shown to such a figure from
all quarters of the political establishment should be taken as a warning by the
working class. The ruling elite fears above all the growth of social opposition
and class struggle. It exalts the legacy of Scalia because it is preparing
police state methods to defend its power and property against an insurgent