Bench Memos

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Misciting Scalia


It would appear to be an iron law of the liberal media that any attack on Justice Scalia, no matter how insipid and narcissistic, will be published.  How else explain this “Thanks for nothing, Nino” rant in today’s Los Angeles Times by Samuel Walker, a professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha?


In an op-ed profuse with confusion, Walker charges that Scalia’s recent opinion in Hudson v. Michigan (which held that violation of the knock-and-announce rule does not require exclusion of evidence found in the search) miscited one of Walker’s publications.  Walker alleges that Scalia committed the “serious offense” of “twist[ing]” an argument that Walker made and thereby violated Walker’s “intellectual integrity.”  But the careful reader will discern that Walker has no complaint about the specific quotation that Scalia actually attributes to Walker—namely that there have been “wide-ranging reforms in the education, training, and supervision of police officers” (page 12 of the slip opinion).  Walker’s complaint instead is that Scalia uses this fact as part of a broader argument that Walker doesn’t like. 


No one—not even someone wholly unfamiliar with the conventions of citation—would regard Scalia’s lone passing citation of Walker’s work as somehow suggesting that Walker was making the same broader argument that Scalia made.  Scalia didn’t attribute that argument to Walker and didn’t “twist” anything.  Scalia’s citation of Walker’s work was entirely correct, and it is Walker who has abused Scalia. 

Tags: Whelan


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