Sunday, December 5, 2010

Scalia Patronizes Sotomayor

Calitics:: Scalia Patronizes Sotomayor for Caring:
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: So when are you going to get to that? When are you going to avoid the needless deaths that were reported in this record? When are you going to avoid or get around people sitting in their feces for days in a dazed state? When are you going to get to a point where you are going to deliver care that is going to be adequate?

JUSTICE SCALIA: Don't be rhetorical.
I trust I've made it clear by now that I have no respect for Scalia's judicial philosophy, his ethics, or really anything about him up to and including his stupid face. Although, to be fair, I recall once finding myself in agreement with his reasoning in a dissenting opinion. (I thought the court arrived at the correct judgement, but for the wrong reasons.) Anyways, Scalia probably shouldn't be patronizing to someone asking what he clearly thinks are wrong-headed questions, when he (Kennedy and Roberts, too) made themselves laughing-stocks by revealing they're clueless about the new-fangled communication technology.

There is, I acknowledge, a difference between the types of questions Sotomayor was asking, which clearly expressed outrage, and the ones Scalia was asking about stuff like "can emails be printed?", which clearly expressed complete fucking ignorance. Scalia's chastisement has the ring of truthiness about it: the second, third, and fourth questions Sotomayor asked can be classified as rhetorical. The question is whether it's every appropriate for a Supreme Court justice to express outrage and ask uncomfortable questions of one of the parties in a case before them? Even if you think justices should be paragons, above caring about human rights, for instance, I still don't think you should rule out rhetorical questions as a tool in the adversarial interrogative process.

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