February 29th only comes once every four years. And apparently, getting Justice Clarence Thomas to ask a question during Supreme Court arguments comes around once every ten years, it seems... but, to gasps of shock from the audience, he did so! The case concerned Second Amendment (gun ownership) rights, an area he presumably cares about a great deal.
I tend to think that the late Justice Antonin Scalia, widely believed to be Thomas's intellectual godfather, largely bullied him (in some way, probably intellectually), and Thomas, now free from Nino's shadow, can show some interest in the goings on of his job himself without fear of belittlement by the elder justice. Thomas lamented a lack of civility in Court arguments, but I can only think of one justice who might be responsible for that (and hint, said justice is now deceased). Notwithstanding that I usually find myself disagreeing with Thomas, those who disrespect his intellect are greatly mistaken.
Anyway... just another curiosity... like leap days... that evidently doesn't come around very often. All will be washed away by the cleansing power of Super Tuesday...
The U.S. Supreme Court's senior Associate Justice, Antonin Scalia, was found dead in a Texas resort, apparently of natural causes; he was 79. He was a mixed bag, of course, even if the ultimate conservative darling in the judiciary... in my view, he is (or was) the (until recently) living embodiment of why life tenure for federal judges (Supreme Court especially) is infinitely more trouble than it's worth, and should be eliminated forthwith, by Constitutional convention if necessary, seeing as for every one John Paul Stevens we get, we end up with lots and lots of Scalias and Rehnquists... just how it is.
That said, I turn it over to Professor Lemieux:
…had Scalia’s dissents ultimately shaped America, women would not have reproductive rights, the federal government could not effectively regulate health care, LGBT people would not have the right engage in sexual intercourse without fear of arrest – let alone alone the right to marry – and states could single them out for legal disabilities. Women could be excluded from state educational institutions, public schools could teach creationism in science classes and prisoners could be assaulted by prison guards. And, in large part because of Scalia, in America today, the Voting Rights Act has been gutted, the rights of employees and consumers have been curtailed, Brown v Board is more likely to be used to stop integration than to promote it and moneyed interests increasingly dominate elections.
What he said...
A U.N. Human Rights panel (hilarious as that is to begin with) has just determined that the effective detention of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London) by American lapdogs Britain and Sweden violates international law. It is noted that this is "non-binding" and mostly a matter of moral suasion, but it seems clear that the Western imperial nations, should they refuse to abide by the ruling (as seems inevitable) will have a harder time going forward using this sort of ruling to embarrass weaker states (say, in Africa or Latin America) when similar rulings come down against them. The American imperial imperative to silence the would-be whistleblowers of the world willing to embarrass the empire and its enablers will, ahem, trump, as it were.
It may be a few days after Groundhog Day, but... is it?