Thursday, July 12, 2007

Judge Scalia and Jack Bauer

This is an older story but I just came across it recently (h/t Jamie Weinman) and I wanted to share it. I find it amusing, intriguing, insightful and tragic, all at the same time.

Basically a debate panel at a recent international law conference on terrorism and torture law in Ottawa last month took an odd turn when US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stood-up for the right of Jack Bauer, a fictional character on TV’s 24, to torture terror suspects.

Here’s an excerpt:

Senior judges from North America and Europe were in the midst of a panel discussion about torture and terrorism law, when a Canadian judge's passing remark - "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra 'What would Jack Bauer do?' " - got the legal bulldog in Judge Scalia barking.

The conservative jurist stuck up for Agent Bauer, arguing that fictional or not, federal agents require latitude in times of great crisis. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.

And here’s my favourite line:
"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.”

And thing is, he's right. On the jury thing, not the torture thing.

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David said...

I don't remember when it happened, but I learned that the stuff I see on TV isn't real. Someone didn't - incredibly he's a *judge*.

The end is definitely f*cking nigh.

Patrick said...

He's a Justice, actually. Which makes it worse