Scalia on Torture: “Not Everything That Is Bad Is Unconstitutional”

March 6, 2008 10:27 a.m.

Last month, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia pronounced in an interview with the BBC that it was “extraordinary” to think that “so-called torture” might be prohibited by the Constitution.

Well, to the quotes from that memorable interview (“You can’t come in smugly and with great self satisfaction and say ‘Oh it’s torture, and therefore it’s no good'” and “Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the constitution?”) you can add this, from Scalia’s speech at the University of Central Missouri yesterday:

Of torture, Scalia said: “It’s a bad thing to do. But not everything that is bad is unconstitutional.”

I guess torture is different from “so-called” torture. So to review your lesson in Scalia jurisprudence for the day: so-called torture, i.e. face-smacking, “sticking something under the fingernails,” and one presumes, waterboarding, inducing hypothermia, and the like — that’s OK. Not only is it Constitutional, it’s “absurd” to say you can’t do it. Torture, on the other hand, is “a bad thing to do” — presumably because it’s against the law. But still A-OK by the Constitution. Class is adjourned.

Via ThinkProgress.

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