shouldn’t this be a major source of cognitive dissonance again?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 1 minute.

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?


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Yet an­other ex­ample of “blind amer­icun jus­tice.” We give ’em a fair trial and then we hang ’em!

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