LAT on Justice Scalia and Criminal Defendants

David Savage of the LA Times reports that many criminal defendants should be thankful for Justice Scalia.  In recent years he has led the charge for more strict enforcement of the Sixth Amendment‘s confrontation clause.  This is but one example of how originalist approaches to constitutional interpretation do not always produce “conservative” results.  Justice Scalia’s commitment to his understanding of the Constitution’s original meaning is not all that’s at work here, however.  His commitment to formalism, and the imposition of bright-line rules, is even greater.  Indeed, the best way to understand the current Court’s division on many (though not all) questions of criminal procedure is as a split between formalists and pragmatists — between those inclined to enforce a bright-line constitutional rule and those inclined to account for practical considerations.

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