Thursday, November 18, 2004

Hang ‘em High

Here they hang a man first and then they try him.
Molière (1622 - 1673), French playwright

There will be one less hangin’ in The Lone Star State of Texas, where the official motto is friendship. That is a big deal for the home state of our president, where more prison inmates are executed than in any other state. And, ‘Amen brother’ is heard in chorus from the pious evangelists.

A Dallas County man was ordered off Texas' death row this week because the jury that convicted him had no chance to fully consider whether mental retardation played a part in his murder of a Taco Bell night manager in 1991. In an unsigned 7-2 opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court, which essentially rebuked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for failing to follow the court's instructions in earlier Texas cases.

Would you like to guess, which two justices had no issues with electrocutin’ the mentally disabled, and dissented from the majority? If you said, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented, you’re right. Let’s not forget Bush’s consigliere and nominated Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whom Bush calls Fredo, god only knows why, is also known for his cavalier treatment of clemency petitions in Texas death penalty cases while advising the former Governor Bush.

And for bonus points, guess which of the two our cowboy president, who’s all hat and no cattle, wants to appoint as the chief justice? Right again, Thomas. What a legal trifecta that will be on the Supreme Court some day – Thomas, Scalia and Gonzales.

The Misanthrope surmises it must be against the pale for Bush to nominate someone who is good and not just a crony. Would Gonzales be in this position today, if he had not saved Bush from an embarrassing moment when he got the then Governor excused from jury duty in a drunken-driving case by arguing that Bush might someday be in a position to pardon the defendant? This was before Bush's own DUI record became public.

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