Slate's Dahlia Lithwick explains why Justice Clarence Thomas' written opinion in Connick v. Thompson is "cruel," "pitiless and scornful."
Thompson was convicted of murder, sentenced to death, and served 14 of his 18 years behind bars in solitary confinement and was just weeks from his scheduled execution date when private investigators learned that prosecutors failed to turn over evidence to Thompson's attorneys. But that doesn't mean, according to the Court's conservatives, that anyone should be held personally accountable for this outrage. As Lithwick explains:
But this week, writing on behalf of the five conservatives on the Supreme Court and in his first majority opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas tossed out the verdict, finding that the district attorney can't be responsible for the single act of a lone prosecutor. The Thomas opinion is an extraordinary piece of workmanship, matched only by Justice Antonin Scalia's concurring opinion, in which he takes a few extra whacks at Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent. (Ginsburg was so bothered by the majority decision that she read her dissent from the bench for the first time this term.) Both Thomas and Scalia have produced what can only be described as a master class in human apathy. Their disregard for the facts of Thompson's thrashed life and near-death emerges as a moral flat line. Scalia opens his concurrence with a swipe at Ginsburg's "lengthy excavation of the trial record" and states that "the question presented for our review is whether a municipality is liable for a single Brady violation by one of its prosecutors." But only by willfully ignoring that entire trial record can he and Thomas reduce the entire constitutional question to a single misdeed by a single bad actor.
It's a stunning story. Thank goodness there's no judicial activism among conservatives…