The Fourth Amendment vs. Antonin “Spinmeister” Scalia

Sorry for the inflammatory title, but I couldn’t resist. Yesterday, a blog authored by Cato Institute policy analyst Radley Balko, reported that Mr. Scalia, in supporting his contention that the “knock and announce” rule is no longer needed because police are more professional and better-trained than in the past, cited research by Dr. Sam Walker. The trouble is, according to Dr. Walker, “Scalia turned my research completely on its head. My point was that these reforms came about because the courts, specifically the Warren Court, forced the police to institute better procedures with judicial oversight. Scalia now wants to take that oversight away.”

One can reasonably conclude, judging by Dr. Walker’s “horror” at being cited by Mr. Scalia, that the good Justice did not actually read the book he quoted, or perhaps did not understand the book he read, or perhaps was simply content the non sequitur would go unnoticed by anyone other than Dr. Walker. Or perhaps some other reason. In any case I can imagine, that qualifies as “spinning” his opinion, i.e., disingenuously supporting a questionable statement with misdirection and specious arguments.

The opinions expressed in Steve’s Peeves are intended to entertain and uplift. They may not be appropriate for young readers or the satirically challenged. Parental supervision is advised.

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