Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Glossing Over Scalia's Legacy

Glenn Greenwald on the reflexive desire among some to avoid critical commentary about Justice Antonin Scalia in the wake of his passing, with the chestnut about respect for the dead being used as cover for something more sinister in terms of the man's legacy and impact on the politics of this country. Says he:
We’re not talking about Scalia, The Friend, or Scalia, the Grandfather. Virtually none of us knew him in those roles. We’re talking about Scalia, the highly polarizing, highly controversial Supreme Court Justice whose actions and beliefs affected the lives of millions of people. We’re not guests at his family’s house for a wake. We’re citizens shaping how he and his public actions will be understood and remembered and perceived. Trying to suppress any criticisms of him, so that only adulation can flourish, is worse than irrational; it’s propagandistic. 
That doesn’t mean one should express glee that Scalia is dead, nor does it mean that if one is a family friend of his relatives that one should spout criticisms in their grieving faces. But it most certainly does mean that from the moment public adulation of someone like this is permitted, so, too, must criticisms of them be permitted. That is especially true at an academic institution devoted to the study, practice and debate of law. To insist that only one side is permitted to be heard – the side that hails Scalia as a benevolent genius – is as oppressive and anti-intellectual as it gets.
Read the rest from Greenwald here.

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