In an interview on last Sunday’s 60 Minutes, Leslie Stahl asked if the term “cruel and unusual punishment” applies to someone “being brutalized by a law enforcement person,” Scalia replied:
“To the contrary, has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don’t think so.”
The exchange continued:
“Well, I think if you are in custody, and you have a policeman who’s taken you into custodyâ€¦,” Stahl says.
“And you say he’s punishing you?” Scalia asks.
“Sure,” Stahl replies.
“What’s he punishing you for? You punish somebodyâ€¦,” Scalia says.
“Well because he assumes you, one, either committed a crimeâ€¦or that you know something that he wants to know,” Stahl says.
“It’s the latter. And when he’s hurting you in order to get information from youâ€¦you donâ€™t say he’s punishing you. Whatâ€™s he punishing you for? He’s trying to extractâ€¦,” Scalia says.
“Because he thinks you are a terrorist and he’s going to beat the you-know-what out of youâ€¦,” Stahl replies.
“Anyway, thatâ€™s my view,” Scalia says. “And it happens to be correct.”