Scalia Ruled That the Constitution Doesn't Prohibit Executing an Innocent Man in Troy Davis Case
By Mark Karlin
Beyond the emotional punch in the gut of Troy Davis' execution - and the echoing cheers of a GOP debate audience for Rick Perry killing so many people - it is worth remembering the role of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the Davis affair.
Because it was during an appeal to the Supreme Court in 2009 on behalf of Davis that Scalia - and BuzzFlash is not making this up - actually wrote a dissenting opinion that there was nothing in the Constitution that prevented a state from executing an innocent man (or woman).
How does BuzzFlash know this?
Because we did a commentary back then on Scalia's jaw-dropping constitutional assertion when the decision was rendered. (The Supreme Court ordered a Georgia court to allow Davis to present new evidence.)
In that 2009 commentary, we quoted from Scalia's dissent:
This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is "actually" innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged "actual innocence" is constitutionally cognizable.
If the Constitution doesn't protect us from being executed even if we are possibly innocent, then, Houston, we have a fundamental problem of human rights in America.
Scalia is considered by some to be a "brilliant legal mind," but there is nothing brilliant about authorizing the murder of innocent people.