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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York September 17, 2012. Scalia on Monday escalated a war of words with a prominent appeals court judge, saying the judge lied in a recent criticism of Scalia's judicial
Justice Antonin Scalia
The universe is thwapping Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the head, but sadly his head is probably way too thick to feel it. On Tuesday, North Carolina death row inmate Henry Lee McCollum was exonerated by DNA evidence showing that another man—a man currently in prison for a rape and murder similar to the one that sent McCollum to death row—was at the crime scene. McCollum and his half-brother, Leon Brown, had been convicted on the basis of coerced confessions, without any physical evidence. But where does Scalia come into it?

In 1994, concurring in the Court's refusal to review an unrelated death penalty case, Scalia cited McCollum's case:

... for example, the case of the 11-year-old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat. How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared with that!"
He didn't mention other circumstances that might have given one pause even before the DNA evidence exonerated McCollum, circumstances with which Justice Harry Blackmun responded, writing that "Buddy McCollum [...] has an IQ between 60 and 69 and the mental age of a 9-year old. He reads on a second grade level. This factor alone persuades me that the death penalty in his case is unconstitutional."

In addition to McCollum's exoneration, recent events have put a serious dent in Scalia's characterization of the "quiet death by lethal injection." But all the available evidence suggests that Scalia is far too bloodthirsty to comprehend any of these points.

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Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 07:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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