Justice Scalia's Legal Precedent

From an article on Mr. Justice Scalia in today's New York Times:

[A]t the argument in a big voting rights case, Justice Scalia seemed to violate his rule against citing foreign law. Expressing skepticism about the significance of the 98-0 vote by which the Senate reauthorized the Voting Rights Act, Justice Scalia said, The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.It was as an offhand reference to an ancient court, and Justice Scalia was not announcing a universal principle. Indeed, he almost certainly does not think that every unanimous legislative act is problematic.In 1986, for instance, the Senate approved Justice Scalias nomination to the Supreme Court by a vote of 98 to 0.

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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