Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it seems from this news report, started a four-car collision while heading southbound George Washington Parkway across the Potomac River from Washington in Virginia. He was going to work, about to hear arguments in a labor case involving Wal Mart.
Three interesting little tidbits from this story:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was ticketed by U.S. Park Police after being found responsible for a four-car traffic accident on his way to the high court Tuesday morning.
Why would Justice Scalia be responsible? Because he hit another in the rear. Assuming local laws down there are the same as up here, that makes him liable for following too close to the car in front of him and failing to see what was there to be seen. No, that “failing to see” is not a political joke, but part of the law. It’s possible, of course, that he has a non-negligent excuse for the accident (for example, the other driver cut him off and slammed on his brakes in traffic). But that doesn’t seem likely from this report from the Washington Post:
Brooke Salkoff saw it all go down. The former NBC reporter told us she was just behind Scalia’s vehicle, a shiny black BMW in the left lane. “It slammed into the car in front of his, which pushed the other two forward,” and caused them all to skew into the right lane, she said.
The second tidbit is this:
“It was a busy traffic area,” [U.S. Park Police spokesman David] Schlosser said. “It just happens.”
Well, no, it doesn’t “just happen.” That makes it sound like an unavoidable accident, like a deer that darts into the road. But an accident like this happens because one (or more) people weren’t driving carefully. Thus, the ticket.
The third tidbit:
No one was injured.
This is possible, but as any doctor that has seen trauma patients will tell you, many to connective tissue and soft tissue structures won’t appear for a day or more, often the result of inflammation that develops after the trauma.
Final note: According to his bio, he spent his first six years as a lawyer at a Cleveland law firm. Did he ever argue a case? If Scalia were to actually show up in court to challenge the ticket, would it be the first matter he ever argued from the courtroom well?
(More at Above the Law)