Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This is deeply unsettling and disappointing

Scalia asks, ‘Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?’

Remember, in some legal circles, Scalia is considered one of the giants in conservative intellectual thought.

It’s likely that Scalia was using a cultural reference to prove a broader point about torture and the rule of law, but I’m not entirely sure what that point is. It seems to have something to do with Scalia’s apparent belief that those U.S. officials who commit torture deserve legal amnesty, just so long as the ends justify the means.

Just think, having this guy sitting on the Supreme Court was disconcerting before he started using fiction to rationalize torture.

I’ll spare you the tirade on why torture is morally indefensible, and why torture doesn’t provide useful information anyway, and why relying on fictional characters to justify real-life crimes is patently ridiculous, but will instead focus on two points.

First, Bauer-like scenarios don’t happen.


Second, Bauer-like scenarios offer the wrong lessons.