It's hard to picture Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in his Barcalounger watching "24."
But the jurist is a fan, and he leapt to the defense of the show's character Jack Bauer at a recent international conference of top judges and homeland security officials in Ottawa debating the use of torture against alleged terrorists.
Scalia chafed when Canadian federal Judge Richard Mosley remarked, "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra, 'What would Jack Bauer do?'"
Bauer, who's played by Kiefer Sutherland, is rough on suspects, saying things like, "You are going to tell me what I want to know - it's just a matter of how much you want it to hurt."
"Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles!" Scalia blasted at the Administration of Justice and National Security in Democracies conference. "He saved hundreds of thousands of lives!
"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer? Say that criminal law is against him? Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so!"
Scalia said that, in times of crisis, law enforcement needs latitude in dealing with terrorists. He was not moved by arguments that some prisoners, in places such as Guantanamo Bay, may be innocent.
"I don't care about holding people. I really don't," Judge Scalia added.
Other judges said that allowing torture is "a slippery slope" and noted that coerced confessions don't hold up in court anyway.
It didn't help Scalia's mood when another Canadian, human-rights lawyer Stanley Cohen, asked: "How many people are we going to torture to save L.A.?"
The session broke, and Scalia was still talking about the show. "There's a great scene where he told a guy that he was going to have his family killed," he said. "They had it on closed-circuit television - and it was all staged. ... They really didn't kill the family."
Sutherland is in Romania filming "Mirrors." Spokesmen for the Supreme Court and Fox wouldn't comment.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
'He Saved Hundreds of Thousands of Lives'
Antonin Scalia defends '24', via Rush & Molloy: