Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, May 01, 2014

TPM: Justice Antonin Scalia's factual error in a dissenting opinion Tuesday has become the talk of the legal community as experts puzzle over the extraordinary nature of the Reagan-appointed justice's blunder, which the Supreme Court quietly corrected as of Wednesday morning. It's common for the Supreme Court to make typographical corrections and insubstantial edits to a decision after its release. But it's exceedingly rare to see a factual error that helps form the basis for an opinion. Legal experts say Scalia's mistake appears to be wholly unprecedented in that it involves a justice flatly misstating core facts from one of his own prior opinions. "This is a topic I know fair amount about, and I do not know of any other instance when a Justice has mischaracterized one of his own prior opinions, let alone in such a loud fashion and when he is otherwise criticizing others for their blunders," said Richard J. Lazarus, a Harvard law professor.

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Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.

Hmmmm.....time for the old Fascist to retire.

#1 | Posted by danni at 2014-05-01 04:01 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

I've seen other law professors say the error is actually minor.

#2 | Posted by Sycophant at 2014-05-01 04:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

Yeah Danni just hates Scalia. If unprecendented blunders were the requirement for resigning Obama would have had to a long time ago.

#3 | Posted by Dalton at 2014-05-01 04:50 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 3

I've seen other law professors say the error is actually minor.

#2 | POSTED BY SYCOPHANT

Could be a minor issue, but since he noted it in his dissent, could it have influenced his decision?

#4 | Posted by Lohocla at 2014-05-01 05:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

I've seen other law professors say the error is actually minor.

Not the ones quoted in the story:

"This is a topic I know fair amount about, and I do not know of any other instance when a Justice has mischaracterized one of his own prior opinions, let alone in such a loud fashion and when he is otherwise criticizing others for their blunders," said Richard J. Lazarus, a Harvard law professor. "I strongly doubt it has ever happened before."

"I have seen sloppy footnoting before but nothing this bad," said Garrett Epps, a constitutional law professor at the University of Baltimore.

Dan Farber, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, called it "an unusually major mistake, and all the more surprising because Scalia wrote the American Trucking opinion" that he mischaracterized in Tuesday's ruling.

#5 | Posted by tonyroma at 2014-05-01 05:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

Scalia was voting his ideology. Facts didn't matter much anyway. Studies of "motivated reasoning" show that presenting someone with facts that contradict a strongly held belief just make them that much more sure of their belief. It doesn't matter if they're "right" or "left".

thinkprogress.org

#6 | Posted by SomebodyElse at 2014-05-01 05:14 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

If unprecendented blunders were the requirement for resigning Obama would have had to a long time ago.

Just imagine if he'd allowed the most destructive attack upon our shores since WWII and then started 2 separate land wars in distant countries, one based on discredited intelligence and which has led to more destabilization within the ME, and then top it off by stewarding the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression which hurled the economy into a deep recession.

Obama would probably be banished to take painting lessons....

#7 | Posted by tonyroma at 2014-05-01 05:18 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

Here's why Scalia's "mistake" may reveal something much more important than just this singular opinion:

The fact that Scalia tried to take a shot at his colleagues and managed to get the entire story backwards, even when discussing a ruling he personally wrote, speaks to a recognition among critics and even some former admirers that Scalia has been operating as a GOP henchman in a black robe for years and years now.

Scalia makes law. I can't think of a more damning indictment of a Supreme Court justice than failing a consistency test that normally applies to opinion journalists. Even if he didn't have an army of clerks tasked with catching errors large and small, Scalia only pantsed himself because he lacks the integrity of a decent liberal or conservative pundit.

And as long as we're applying journalistic tests to justices, the Court changed Scalia's dissent without any fanfare or formal correction after outside observers spotted his blunder. Scalia's already confirmed to a lifetime position on the Court, but I really wonder if the Senate would overlook it if a future nominee committed an error of such significance.
www.newrepublic.com

#8 | Posted by tonyroma at 2014-05-01 05:26 PM | Reply | Flag:

one based on discredited intelligence and which has led to more destabilization within the ME
#7 | Posted by tonyroma

Destabilized the Middle East?
Our influence is stronger than ever!
Signed,
Iran

#9 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-05-01 06:06 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

then top it off by stewarding the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression which hurled the economy into a deep recession. #7 | Posted by tonyroma at 2014-05-01 05:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

Yeah, there is no such thing as the legislative branch, banking and oversight committees, fed. reserve board, or SEC. Yup, Bush ran Lehman brothers, JP Morgan, etc.

Yes sir, GW created the sub-prime markets, interest only loans and forced people to make bad decisions, then forced institutions to buy them Hell, he even created the incredible complex, need a PhD in mathematics to understand, financial derivatives. Wow he was a hard worker and very smart but you estimation.

#10 | Posted by danv at 2014-05-01 06:28 PM | Reply | Flag:

Blah de blah blah. I'd rather have a SC justice make an error of this nature then one that make ---- up to present his opinion and change the meaning of the constitution because he doesn't LIKE that part.

It's not the first time a justice has erred. In 2008, a majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy mischaracterized federal law when ruling unconstitutional the death penalty for raping a child. His opinion argued that the death penalty for such a crime existed in just six states and not on a federal level. That claim was false, as the New York Times reported afterward:

And then in the Heller case.....In any event, the meaning of "bear arms" that petitioners and JUSTICE STEVENS propose is not even the (sometimes) idiomatic meaning. Rather, they manufacture a hybrid definition, whereby "bear arms" connotes the actual carrying of arms (and therefore is not really anidiom) but only in the service of an organized militia. No dictionary has ever adopted that definition, and we havebeen apprised of no source that indicates that it carriedthat meaning at the time of the founding. But it is easyto see why petitioners and the dissent are...

rwd

#11 | Posted by rightwingdon at 2014-05-01 06:49 PM | Reply | Flag:

JUSTICE STEVENS opinion clearly states that the 2nd amendment pertains to your right to be in the military.

LOL... thank god we have justices that know how to read and interpret the meaning of the constitution without adding their own opinion to it.

rwd

#12 | Posted by rightwingdon at 2014-05-01 06:55 PM | Reply | Flag:

#10 The point is, of the many Obama blunders, none of them are unprecedented, not even close.

#13 | Posted by bored at 2014-05-01 07:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

Yes sir, GW created the sub-prime markets, interest only loans and forced people to make bad decisions, then forced institutions to buy them Hell, he even created the incredible complex, need a PhD in mathematics to understand, financial derivatives. Wow he was a hard worker and very smart but you estimation.
#10 | Posted by danv

The funny part is you think Democrats did all that.

#14 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-05-01 07:10 PM | Reply | Flag:

"LOL... thank god we have justices that know how to read and interpret the meaning of the constitution without adding their own opinion to it.
rwd"

Hilarious and tragic that you think that is what Scalia does.

#15 | Posted by danni at 2014-05-01 07:20 PM | Reply | Flag:

this is no minor error.
is the "fixed" in here somewhere?

of course it influenced his opinion!

he should address this, has he?

#16 | Posted by ichiro at 2014-05-01 07:32 PM | Reply | Flag:

of course it influenced his opinion!

Sure about that?

he should address this, has he?

Yes, the blunder has been corrected.

The Court releases opinions in stages. Until printed in the official bound volume, the prior releases are subject to change or correction.

#17 | Posted by et_al at 2014-05-01 08:19 PM | Reply | Flag:

The vile and nauseating, pro-war, draft-dodging, chicken-hawk coward Scalia is without a doubt one of the most repulsive figures in American history worst than the pardoned felon Richard Nixon, Joe McCarthy or even the war profiteer Dick Cheney

#18 | Posted by SammyAZ_RI at 2014-05-01 10:22 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Sammy is pretty melodramatic.

Perhaps he should throw in some caps, italics and bold for effect.

#19 | Posted by JeffJ at 2014-05-01 10:28 PM | Reply | Flag:

JUSTICE STEVENS opinion clearly states that the 2nd amendment pertains to your right to be in the military.

No, Stevens is following the Second Amendment, where people were allowed to own guns so as to be able to serve in a well-regulated state militia. The Right has re-defined "well regulated militia" to mean trenchcoat wearing loonies shooting up schools, neo-nazis and corporate welfare queens.

#20 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-05-01 10:58 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Oliver,

SCOTUS has weighed in on this.

Check out Heller.

#21 | Posted by JeffJ at 2014-05-01 10:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

...people were allowed to own guns so as to be able to serve in a well-regulated state militia.

The Second Amendment is a codification of a British common law right of an individual to bear arms.

Regarding militia, see prefatory clause and operative clause.

BTW, the militia has been well regulated since the beginning of the republic. Here you will find the current version.

#22 | Posted by et_al at 2014-05-01 11:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

#10 | Posted by danv
"Wow he was a hard worker and very smart but you estimation."

This one writes itself.

#23 | Posted by TheTom at 2014-05-02 01:38 AM | Reply | Flag:

#20 | Posted by northguy3
"the Second Amendment, where people were allowed to own guns so as to be able to serve in a well-regulated state militia."

Um, no, not quite.

#24 | Posted by TheTom at 2014-05-02 01:40 AM | Reply | Flag:

Does Thomas get a do-over too?

#25 | Posted by Alexandrite at 2014-05-02 01:48 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#25

Sure, as does any other Justice within the parameters linked above.

#26 | Posted by et_al at 2014-05-02 03:13 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Sammy is pretty melodramatic."

When compared to the damage Scalia and his four right wing brothers have done to the political process of this country he understates his case.

#27 | Posted by danni at 2014-05-02 07:38 AM | Reply | Flag:

BTW, the militia has been well regulated since the beginning of the republic.

#22 | Posted by et_al at 2014

What militia is that?

#28 | Posted by Zed at 2014-05-02 08:46 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Sammy is pretty melodramatic."
When compared to the damage Scalia and his four right wing brothers have done to the political process of this country he understates his case.

#27 | POSTED BY DANNI

They correctly applied the 1st Amendment to unconstitutional campaign finance laws.

That's a good thing.

#29 | Posted by JeffJ at 2014-05-02 09:40 AM | Reply | Flag:

I have also seen a law professor (BHO) who knows NOTHING about the constitution. He must not know, he doesn't follow it.

#30 | Posted by Sniper at 2014-05-02 10:32 AM | Reply | Flag:

What militia is that?
#28 | Posted by Zed

Those described in the statute.

Loose your reading glasses?

#31 | Posted by et_al at 2014-05-02 02:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

he should address this, has he?
Yes, the blunder has been corrected.
#17 | POSTED BY ET_AL AT 2014-05-01 08:19 PM | FLAG:
sorry, i meant he, himself, PUBLICALLY.

btw, you/we have no avenue other than: it did influence him.

#32 | Posted by ichiro at 2014-05-02 07:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

They correctly applied the 1st Amendment to unconstitutional campaign finance laws.

That's a good thing.

#29 | Posted by JeffJ

Not if you are a lib like DD.

#33 | Posted by Sniper at 2014-05-02 07:49 PM | Reply | Flag:

sorry, i meant he, himself, PUBLICALLY.

Why, your prurient interest? Judges rarely, if ever, speak about specific cases. Judicial rules preclude them from doing so.

btw, you/we have no avenue other than: it did influence him.

Thanks for admitting you have no idea what the controversy is about. Scalia's position in both cases is the same. The blunder was switching which party advocated what position in the prior case, an opinion he wrote for the majority.

#34 | Posted by et_al at 2014-05-02 09:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

Scalia is another untouchable arrogant meathead, brought to you by the NeoCon oligarchy.

#35 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-05-03 11:27 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

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