Speaking of crazy right-wingers, the Supreme Court’s resident lunatic has been up to his old trick again. Alan Dershowitz administers the proper spanking:
I never thought I would live to see the day when a justice of the Supreme Court would publish the following words:
This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is `actually’ innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged `actual innocence’ is constitutionally cognizable.
Yet these words appeared in a dissenting opinion issued by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas on Monday. Let us be clear precisely what this means. If a defendant were convicted, after a constitutionally unflawed trial, of murdering his wife, and then came to the Supreme Court with his very much alive wife at his side, and sought a new trial based on newly discovered evidence (namely that his wife was alive), these two justices would tell him, in effect: “Look, your wife may be alive as a matter of fact, but as a matter of constitutional law, she’s dead, and as for you, Mr. Innocent Defendant, you’re dead, too, since there is no constitutional right not to be executed merely because you’re innocent.”