Recently, during the Q&A period following his talk at Princeton, Justice Scalia asked the following…
“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?”
So, I thought I’d take a moment to answer his questions.
First of all, you can have moral feelings against homosexuality. You’re entitled to your feelings. I’d expect a Supreme Court justice to understand, though, that we’re simply not entitled to violate the rights of others based merely upon your feelings.
You see, Justice Scalia, your moral assessment of homosexuality might be correct, or incorrect. How do we tell? Which moral opinions win out, and why? It might also be the case that homosexuality is not a moral consideration and your question might be the rough equivalent of “If we cannot have moral feelings against people preferring and eating chocolate ice cream, can we have it against murder?”.
I happen to think that’s the case. Clearly, you don’t. And so, I’ll try to suggest some other questions that you might also consider, in your reducto-ad-scaliam world…
“If we cannot have moral feelings about divorce…”
“If we cannot have moral feelings about interracial marriages…”
“If we cannot have moral feelings about abortion…”
“If we cannot have moral feelings about lying…”
“If we cannot have moral feelings about using animals for food…”
I’ve specifically picked a list of things that many people are morally opposed to in order to demonstrate the absurdity of your implication. We simply don’t restrict rights based on moral opinions – even the a majority consensus on moral opinions – we restrict rights based on reasonable demonstrations of harm. We err on the side of freedom and we make use of this concept known as “due process”. Perhaps you’ve heard of it…
Here’s a thought…. why don’t you stop with the slippery slope arguments (“Oh noes, if we can’t stop teh gay sex, we have to allow murder!”) and the hyperbolic exaggerations that you’d like to falsely classify as reducto ad absurdum arguments and actually come up with a justification that isn’t just a smoke screen for your continued attempts to inject your antiquated religious opinions into the body of law that effects us all? Failing that, I’d like you to actually do your job.
Curiously, you seem to be the only Supreme Court Justice that continually gives the appearance of lobbying to a base – as if you’re wanting to win an election…or an award from the Pope.