Scalia and Reagan

For some, this is one of the “thinkers” on the Supreme Court:

In the interview with the Law in Action programme on BBC Radio 4, he said it was “extraordinary” to assume that the ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” – the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment – also applied to “so-called” torture.

“To begin with the constitution… is referring to punishment for crime. And, for example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime.”

Well then, if its just an issue of punishment for crime, I have to wonder if Scalia believes there is anything in the Constitution that prevents the government from simply picking people up on the street at random and applying “so-called” torture. It makes for a fine way to cow the population.

But some other dude called Ronald Reagan put it better:

I’ve read the Soviet Constitution—was surprised to find it contains some of the same provisions of our own as regard to freedoms of the people. Of course they don’t observe them, but they’re there in the Constitution. But I’ve always gotten a thrill out of saying to these young people that all those other constitutions and our own, there is one little difference between them—looks little, but it is so great it explains the total success of our nation. All those other constitutions are based on privileges that governments give to their people, and ours says, “We, the people will allow the Government the following rights.” And as long as it stays that way, we’re on solid ground.