THE PARAGRAPHS BELOW (indented and in quotations marks) that follow are from “A Horrifying Miscarriage of Justice in North Carolina” and subtitled “How many times was Justice Antonin Scalia wrong about Henry Lee McCollum and the death penalty?” by Dahlia Lithwick for Slate (September 3, 2014).
“It never fails to astonish me that the same conservatives who argue that every last aspect of big government is irreparably broken and corrupt inevitably see a capital punishment system that is perfect and just. If you genuinely believe that the state can’t even fix a pothole without self-dealing and corruption, how is it possible to imagine that police departments and prosecutors’ offices are beyond suspicion . . .”
“After the court ordered a retrial in a controversial capital case, Scalia wrote for himself and Justice Clarence Thomas, that ‘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.’ ”
As I would like my readers to go and read this article, I will keep my commentary to the two paragraphs above: the first simply addresses a contradiction that seems invisible to those who hold to the contradiction. (And shouldn’t this be a major source of cognitive dissonance to the believer?)
The second should shock and awe everyone: a United States Supreme Court Justice argues that it is okay to execute an innocent man provided that he was convicted in a “full and fair” trial, even if an innocent man being found guilty should lead most of us—especially professional jurists!—to realize that the trial had been anything but fair.
So, shouldn’t this be a major source of cognitive dissonance again?