Friday, June 19, 2009

Then there's effing SCOTUS

NYT editorial:
In an appalling 5-to-4 ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority tossed aside compelling due process claims, the demands of justice and a considered decision by a lower federal appeals court to deny the right of prisoners to obtain post-conviction DNA testing that might prove their innocence.


We are also puzzled and disturbed by the Obama administration’s decision to side with Alaska in this case — continuing the Bush administration’s opposition to recognizing a right to access physical evidence for post-conviction DNA testing.

Thursday’s ruling will inevitably allow some innocent people to languish in prison without having the chance to definitively prove their innocence and with the state never being completely certain of their guilt.


The Rude Pundit had a lot of rude but right-on things to say about this too.
Almost every state grants the request that Osborne made. They all seem to be able to handle it without the foundations of justice tumbling. As Justice Stevens writes in dissent, "The arbitrariness of the State's conduct is highlighted by comparison to the private interests it denies. It seems to me obvious that if a wrongly convicted person were to produce proof of his actual innocence, no state interest would be sufficient to justify his continued punitive detention. If such proof can be readily obtained without imposing a significant burden on the State, a refusal to provide access to such evidence is wholly unjustified."

But, no, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and sometimes Kennedy pull out the states' and legislative rights card when it's convenient, when a case makes them feel ooky (check out Alito's concurring opinion for a creepy dwelling on the facts of the crime). Because we certainly wouldn't want the United States to act like we're states that are united.
What bloody wankers.

h/t to John Aravosis at Americablog

--the BB

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