Sat, Mar

If Scalia Wanted Respect In Death, He Should Have Shown It To More People In Life


GUEST WORDS--In the wake of Antonin Scalia's timely death, officials announce he will lie in repose at the Supreme Court, Republicans scramble once again to obstruct the rule of law and conspiracy wingnuts declaim the need for another Warren Commission because obviously the "razor-thin savior of the traditional ways of America" was murdered by the "forces of Green gangsterism in the White House." 


Meanwhile, many struggle (or don't) to say something less toxic than the bigot and bully who was "a poison to the nation," who gave us Citizens United, fought tirelessly against equal rights, cavorted with and pandered to the powerful as the Junket King, exploited his own power while spending his ignominious career making the law inaccessible to most, exhibited a lack of compassion one critic dubs "a jaw-dropping imaginative absence," and famously declared that "mere factual innocence" was no reason not to execute someone. (R.I.P. Troy Davis.) 

So about that whole not speaking ill of the dead thing: As Scalia said after the Bush vs. Gore decision and its awful ramifications - its subsequent mayhem, suffering and innocent deaths - "Get over it."

Progressive powerhouse Elizabeth Warren was one of the first to step forward amidst instant GOP squawking there was no way that black Marxist Muslim bandit Obama can appoint a new Supreme Court Justice in an election year, even though that's already happened at least six times since 1900 and, duh, we already had an election to decide who gets to do that.

Calmly citing the clear Constitutional mandate in Article II Section 2, Warren noted, "Senator McConnell is right that the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. In fact, they did - when President Obama won the 2012 election by five million votes...I can't find a clause that says '...except when there's a year left in the term of a Democratic President.

Senate Republicans took an oath just like Senate Democrats did. Abandoning the duties they swore to uphold would threaten both the Constitution and our democracy itself. It would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the Constitution is just that - empty talk."

An elected official, Warren kept things civil on the subject of Scalia - this, despite his rulings that marriage  equality and abortion should be subject to state votes, that limitless corporate campaign spending is something “we should celebrate rather than condemn,” that vote-counting in Bush v. Gore should cease before causing mysterious “irreparable harm,” that protecting the right to vote is “racial entitlement” and that allowing local anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians is “special treatment of homosexuals.”

Given his hateful, 30-year legacy of fighting against equal rights, argues Sara Benincasa, the call to civility rings false: "If he wanted respect in death, the man should’ve shown it to more people in life."

Alas, he didn't give it, and now isn't getting it. Apart from obligatory nods of condolence to his family - and alongside queries as to the whereabouts of Cheney in connection with another unfortunate hunting trip outcome - online comments and a multitude of memes have ranged from the truly angry to the gently comic in the vein of Mark Twain's, "I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

Samples: "I feel as bad for Scalia as he did for blacks, gays and people without health care....Antonin #Scalia requested cremation in his will, but millions of women will meet tomorrow to discuss if that's really best for his body...This would be an excellent day for Justice Clarence Thomas to continue his tradition of just doing whatever Justice Scalia does...My condolences to the Koch Brothers for their loss."

Even the quails Scalia was hunting on yet another junket had their bittersweet say. “Sure, Scalia conveniently discarded his entire jurisprudential philosophy in Columbia v. Heller, when he mangled the Second Amendment to allow pretty much anyone with four fingers and a thumb to carry around a gun," noted one aggrieved quail. "On the other hand, that’s all we quail have EVER known. So, you know, welcome to our world, assholes.”

(Abby Zimet writes for Common Dreams  … where this perspective was first posted.)