"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito split with the court's conservatives in a death penalty case on his first full day on the court.
Handling his first case, Alito sided with five other justices Wednesday evening in refusing to allow Missouri to execute inmate Michael Taylor.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported lifting an execution stay issued by an appeals court, but Alito sided with the majority in turning down Missouri's last-minute request to allow a late night execution....
"It's a reasonable, cautionary vote. It doesn't necessarily indicate leanings toward death penalty defendants," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. "But at least he's going to be his own person."
All of you who believe that Alito is suddenly the picture of intellectual independence - I have a gross of "Kerry/Edwards" buttons to sell you. When crunch time comes, Slippery Sammy will happily volunteer to stick the needle himself, in conformity with traditional Supreme Court hazing rituals for "the new guy." This was nothing more than a procedural matter, pretty much required by recent Court actions:
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will now hear arguments from Taylor, who claims that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. That claim also was used by two Florida death-row inmates who won stays from the Supreme Court over the past week.
The high court has agreed to use one of the Florida cases to clarify how inmates may bring last-minute challenges to the way they will be put to death, but not to decide the constitutionality of lethal injection.
Troll prophylactic: Petitioner Michael Taylor, convicted of kidnapping and murdering a 15-year-old child, is a Very Bad Man.
And, while I'm on the subject of Scurvy Sam, did anybody else catch last night's Daily Show and notice Alito's weird, jerky head motions, and the far-away stare in his eyes, in the footage that closed the broadcast? It reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it...