Your Lying Eyes

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20 February 2007

As If on Cue!

In a Supreme Court ruling today, Scalia (along with Thomas!) dissented from a decision favoring Big Tobacco against a huge punitive damages award. How can that be - two conservative judges, ruling against big business and in favor of punitive damages in a tort liability suit? Because they rule based on the constitution and the law, not on what they wish the law and constitution said. It is clear that Scalia and Thomas are not ideological activists, but instead rule on each case based on their most narrow and sincere interpretation of the law. Again, counter-examples are welcomed - excluding Bush v. Gore.

7 Comments:

Anonymous james Francis (the younger) said...

The plaintiff smoked for 40 years and the wife tried to cash in- I'm glad she was sent packing.

How about the Ginsburg vote: BIG SURPRISE. Ginsburg thought the poor lady should be compensated for she and her husbnds stupidity.

February 21, 2007 3:56 PM  
Anonymous grumpy said...

Sir,
I am British, a heavy smoker who, for the last fourty years has studiously ignored all the medical and scientific reports warning me of the likely consequences of persisting in my filthy, disgusting and ant-social habit.
My preferred brand of cigarette is one made by your Philip Morris Company.
As a university teacher, I am assumed (professionally) to be capable of making rational judgements. Until now, however, such an assumption would appear to have been considered inapplicable to decisions about my own life.
While I am disappointed for my wife, in that she won't qualify for some major blackmail money from PM, when I finally succumb to my habit, I am, nevertheless delighted to know that someone in authority has - at last - decided that we must all pay for our own stupidity.

February 21, 2007 4:21 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Mind you, I like the decision - I'm pretty sure Philip Morris will make better use of the money than this widow. But the point here is that Scalia went against the conservative position out of legal principal.

February 21, 2007 7:28 PM  
Anonymous daveg said...

Could you say he went against the "neo-conservative" position? Or perhaps the "crony-conservative" position?

February 23, 2007 6:17 AM  
Anonymous SFG said...

Actually, in my doctrinaire-liberal phase I was surprised to discover that conservatives had any principles at all; I thought traditional values was a nice way of saying you were for the right of your corporate paymasters to do whatever they wanted.

Most ideological movements have a mix of idealistic and pragmatic reasons for adopting the positions they do. Note that 'idealistic' simply means ideological, not moral by the standards of the opposition; the liberal principle of unrestricted abortion access would be one example.

February 26, 2007 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

Ziel: I'm sure that this opinion will be roundly criticized but I think that Thomas' and Scalia's dissent was purely polical. They knew how the overall court was very likely to rule in a very weak case and saw this as an opportunity for you, and like thinking conservatives, to do just what you have done: Hold this up as evidence of their strict constitutional interpretations and evenhandedness despite their many prior opinions that might support another interpretation of their actual agenda.
I view this as an opportunistic adventure designed to unrealistically cover the overall neo-conservative bent that these guys are actually on.
That being said, I like the decision (and Scalia overall). I just think we ought to recognize their actions for what they were.
Harlem

March 02, 2007 7:41 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Harlem - Could you provide ONE example - just ONE! - not Bush v. Gore - to back up your rather outlandish charge? Just ONE?!?!

Daveg - I don't think there is any traditional conservative principle that allows the taking of millions of dollars as punishment without a criminal trial. Punitive damages in a civil case are morally wrong, in my opinion.

March 03, 2007 3:17 PM  

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