Antonin Scalia Defends "Jack Bauer"

Antonin Scalia Defends "Jack Bauer"


Seriously, this is just getting ridiculously old, not to mention just plain sad.

Jack Bauer is a fictional character on a fictional show that has become terror-porn for torture apologists everywhere. “See, Jack Bauer got the information out of the terrorists by shooting him in the leg and he saved the world! He saved the world!”

Cut to Antonin Scalia with this little gem…

Senior judges from North America and Europe were in the midst of a panel discussion about torture and terrorism law, when a Canadian judge’s passing remark – “Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra ‘What would Jack Bauer do?’ ” – got the legal bulldog in Judge Scalia barking.

The conservative jurist stuck up for Agent Bauer, arguing that fictional or not, federal agents require latitude in times of great crisis. “Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. … He saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent’s rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.

“Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?” Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. “Say that criminal law is against him? ‘You have the right to a jury trial?’ Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don’t think so.

Of course he’s talking about “real-life” Jack Bauers, but guess what…this type of torture is notorious for providing FALSE intel. That’s right. Jack Bauer is batting 1.000 right now because it is FICTION.

So to answer Scalia’s question about whether or not Jack Bauer would get convicted, yes Antonin…probably. Because he wouldn’t have saved Los Angeles from a nuke, he would have shot somebody in the leg who didn’t know anything.

And to that point…

But sometimes this message proves a little too persuasive. Last November, a U.S. Army brigadier-general, Patrick Finnegan, of West Point, went to California to meet with the show’s producers. He asked if the writers would consider reining in Agent Bauer. “The kids see it, and say, ‘If torture is wrong, what about 24?” he told The New Yorker in February.

He argued that “they should do a show where torture backfires.” It’s not just the military that’s watching 24. It turns out that the judges who struggle to square the Guantanamo Bay prison camp experiment with the British Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 are watching the show, too.

Hmm, I wonder if the guy behind the conservative answer to The Daily Show, The 1/2 News Hour, is going to hold Jack Bauer’s actions up to real scrutiny.

I have my doubts…

  • DosPeros

    And of course, you have evidence that the U.S. military and intel agencies are shooting people in the leg for information. You have evidence that Jack Baur’s is manifest reality in US interrogation policy.

    The lack of any clarity from those that disapprove of US interrogation tactics is distressing and brings to light the true motive that has nothing to do with the interrogation tactics. From what I’ve heard, nothing should be allowed. Torture would be defined in accordance with the most sensitive standard of the far-left.

    I agree that the US interrogation policy should not be based on the success of a fictional character. Nor should it be based on…NOTHING, which is exactly what you seem to be proposing. BTW, George Tennet and Michael Scheuer seemed to think that our interrogation tactics DID SAVE LIVES – gosh, Justin, do you know more than Tennet and Scheuer? This whole “torture does not work ever” meme is a huge load of unsupported crap. Of course torture does not work all the time, nor does it fail all the time — you lose by overstating your arguement.

    Scalia’s question is a legitimate one: If a CIA agent is charged with torture and that torture lead to the thwarting of a terrorist attack and lives are saved, what are you going to do?

  • smithee

    Scalia ignores the more important question: Are you, an innocent, willing to be tortured mistakenly? How about your daughter? Your mother?

    24 has shown the torture of innocents several times, including one episode where a government official authorizes the torture of his own son. The son is innocent, though there are no consequences for the torturers. On 24, there are never consequences for torturing innocents.

    Scalia at least recognizes that it’s wrong for these things to be kept secret from the American people. With secret prisons and back room torture, we’re violating our own principals for no clear benefit and we are morally poorer because of it.

  • john

    It is really distrubing that when a Supreme Court Justice, someone who is supposed to posess one of the finest legal and intellectual minds in our country, can’t tell the difference between a fictional TV show and reality.