On a scale of 1 to 10 for loathsome traits and comments, Justice Scalia rated about an 8 on mine. Chief Justice Roberts scored a 9. But two things happened which boosted Scalia to a 10 and come quite close to me thinking he should just be impeached because he's clearly not an objective or clear thinker.
First, let's remember that he will be teaching all the new teabagger freshmen their Constitution 101 course, courtesy of Michele Bachmann. That would be just great if he actually understood the Constitution.
First strike: His most recent interview with California Lawyer, where he restates his position that women do not enjoy protection under the 14th amendment to the Constitution.
Q: In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?
SCALIA:Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. ... But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don't like the death penalty anymore, that's fine. You want a right to abortion? There's nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn't mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.
Scalia's comments, to be fair, have to be taken inside his frame, which is that the Constitution is an original document and not a living document. Therefore, if it was not an issue at the time of its writing, the fact that it is an issue now does not mean the 14th amendment applies. If the 14th amendment were to be interpreted in the frame of a living Constitution, then it would surely apply to gender and sexual orientation.
Still, what he's saying here is that women do not enjoy protections under the 14th amendment. He's also quite clearly signalling which way he would rule on the Proposition 8 case and other rulings with regard to same-sex marriage, since they've been declared unconstitutional under the equal protection clause.
I have major difficulties with his interpretation. Exactly who would be considered a "person" under the 14th amendment? If his remarks are to be taken literally, then what he's saying is that women are not to be considered persons or citizens (the two words used in that clause). Who does that leave? Men and corporations, evidently. Does that mean that gay men can marry but lesbians can't? What if someone married a corporation? Would they have spinoffs as children?
Okay, those questions are ridiculous but then, so is Scalia. This man is one vote of NINE deciding whether our democracy lives or dies, and he routinely rules for its death, while bragging that he doesn't even need to read the briefs because the issues are so clear. Yes, really.
That clip at the top was from a forum conducted on March 23, 2010. It will give you a sense of his arrogance and his flippant attitude toward those who dare to challenge his interpretation of the Constitution's meaning, particularly with regard to the 14th amendment.
I know having an opinion isn't grounds for impeachment, but is utter disrespect for the country and over half the population grounds? If so, let's do it.
A postscript directly to Justice Scalia: Thanks for not showing up for the State of the Union address. It's good that you're skipping it, because it proves just how deep your disrespect for the voters of this country really is. Stay away. Far away.
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