Is Justice Scalia a Curmudgeon?

September 3, 2009

Bob Barr thinks so.  In his Washington Times op-ed, the former federal prosecutor, Georgia Congressman and Libertarian Presidential candidate, labels Scalia the “high court curmudgeon” for his dissent from the Supreme Court’s order giving Troy Davis to have an evidentiary hearing on his substantial evidence of innocence.

Scalia believes, simply, that the Constitution doesn’t protect the innocent from being executed.  Barr believes that it does.

“The Constitution of the United States was adopted in 1787; the Bill of Rights four years later in 1791. Apparently for Justice Scalia, these past 218 years have not sufficed to “clearly establish” that federal law is based on the premise that only the guilty are to be executed.”

Bob Barr was instrumental in the passage of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) back in 1996, and has clearly been perturbed by the way that law has been interpreted to prevent what justice plainly requires in this case:

“… a full hearing at which the witnesses Davis believes will show his actual innocence are allowed to testify.” And at which “… the state of Georgia will have full opportunity to rebut that testimony.”

The “pinched and erroneous” interpretations of AEDPA by cantankerous old judges like Scalia ignore the fundamental basis for law and justice, which is to punish the guilty and protect the innocent.