February 28, 2011

That's Gonna' Leave a Mark

Today, the Supreme Court handed down Michigan v. Bryant, a 6-2 decision (Justice Kagan recused herself) affirming the murder conviction of a man identified by his dying victim.  At issue was whether the victim's statements to police who arrived at the scene should be excluded under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment because the defendant did not have an opportunity to cross examine him. The majority said no, calling the police encounter with the victim part of an ongoing emergency and his statements therefore were not "testimonial" so as to fall within the ambit of the Sixth Amendment.

Justice Scalia disagreed, not just with the legal issues in the case, but with, well, you'll see:
Today’s tale — a story of five officers conducting successive examinations of a dying man with the primary purpose, not of obtaining and preserving his testimony regarding his killer, but of protecting him, them, and others from a murderer somewhere on the loose — is so transparently false that professing to believe it demeans this institution.
Ouch! Don't hold back, Tony - tell us what you really think! It's easy to deploy that kind of weapon's grade snark when you're right, of course.

And, for those who assume that wherever Scalia goes Justice Thomas is sure to follow, the other dissenter was actually Justice Ginsburg. Scalia and Thomas really aren't carbon copies of each other.

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