Letter: Scalia's legacy, record not that of a saint

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As I hear people sing his praises and suddenly morph Antonin Scalia’s legacy into something I am unable to recognize, let us remember the late U.S. Supreme Court justice for his record. And that record was not kind to black people and those who care about civil rights and racial justice.

A few years ago, Justice Scalia called the Voting Rights Act an “embedded” form of “racial entitlement” for black people that discriminates against whites. Congressman John L. Lewis, a hero of the Civil Rights Movement, said he was appalled to hear Justice Scalia refer to the Voting Rights Act as a “racial entitlement.” For Rep. Lewis, the comments were especially offensive because he knew from experience how hard he and others fought to win those rights. “It is an affront to all of what the Civil Rights Movement stood for, what black and white people died for, what people bled for, and those of us who marched across that bridge 48 years ago, we did not march for some racial entitlement,” Lewis said.

In 1994, Justice Scalia voted against a petition to hear the case of Henry McCollum, a black man who along with his brother, was wrongly convicted of raping and killing an 11-year-old girl as a result of coerced confessions and no physical evidence. McCollum became the man to serve the longest time on North Carolina’s death row, until he was released after DNA evidence proved his innocence in 2014. And yet, Judge Scalia had pointed to McCollum’s case as a prime reason for having the death penalty, calling a “quiet death by lethal injection an enviable” fate.

As people remember the newly deceased Justice Antonin Scalia and reflect on his life and career, there will be the temptation among Scalia’s supporters to rewrite history and give his legacy a makeover. Let’s keep it real and judge his record for what it was and resist the temptation to make him a saint.






Mr. Hoffler, please write more often!!

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

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