Tuesday, June 29, 2004
From Anthony Scalia's dissenting opinion in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (starting on page 52):
Many think it not only inevitable but entirely proper that liberty give way to security in times of national crisis — that, at the extremes of military exigency, inter arma silent leges. Whatever the general merits of the view that war silences law or modulates its voice, that view has no place in the interpretation and application of a Constitution designed precisely to confront war and, in a manner that accords with democratic principles, to accommodate it. Because the Court has proceeded to meet the current emergency in a manner the Constitution does not envision, I respectfully dissent.
I am philosophically antagonistic with Scalia, but this is an opinion that not only demands my respect but also my agreement. It is easy to vilify Scalia as Dick Cheney's duck-hunting crony, but I will prefer a Supreme Court Justice with whom I respectfully disagree over any despot, enlightened or not, with whom I do.