Scalia: Torture Not Necessarily Unconstitutional
2:33 PM, Feb 12, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
We know Justice Scalia is a fan of Jack Bauer. As the Wall Street Journal quoted him last summer:
It seems Scalia has further elaborated on his position in an interview with the BBC via Think Progress. Click through to listen, but the basic gist is that Scalia doesn't believe it's clear that the government is prevented from using coercive interrogation in order to prevent an imminent terrorist attack. His argument seems to rest on the fact that the Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment, but if the treatment is not meant as punishment, then there is some room for maneuver. The show's host takes issue with his use of the ticking-time bomb scenario, which is often dismissed as so unlikely as to be irrelevant, but Scalia responds that once you accept the premise that there are conditions under which torture might be permissible, and he says it would be "absurd" to think otherwise, "then we're into a different game."
The left will portray Scalia's comments as somehow beyond the pale, but my sense is that Americans are pretty evenly divided on this as they are on most other issues relating to the war on terror. It would be troubling if the Supreme Court wasn't as well.