Bartleby the Scrivener Loses in 5-4 Ruling

We have it on reliable authority that in a secret corollary to yesterday’s 5-4 Salinas v. Texas case, in which the Fifth Amendment was overruled, the Court also ruled, again 5-4, against Bartleby the Scrivener, on the grounds that at no time did Bartleby explicitly assert his right against self-incrimination. In yet another bizarre concurrence, following up on his recent plea that someone, anyone, help him learn molecular biology (that’s what MOOCs are for), Justice Antonin Scalia berated Bartleby for saying “I would prefer not to” just “one time too many” and ordered him back to the Tombs.

And in another sign of shifting plates inside the Beltway, bloggers @ both Cato@Liberty and Democracy Now agreed that Bartleby was done wrong. Bartleby himself, as has been the case since 1853, was unavailable for comment.

Update via Taksim Square: according to the Guardian, a “latterday Bartleby” has surfaced in Istanbul and been emulated by hundreds of “standing men” (and women) in other Turkish cities. The deputy prime minister of Turkey reportedly called this silent protest “pleasing to the eye”! (June 20)

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