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Being on the Supreme Court is not supposed to be easy

Justice Scalia offers up some of his usual legal wisdom:

“The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state,” Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute.

Yes, I’m sure deciding on this sort of thing is a breeze when the extent of your reasoning is “it’s illegal, therefore it should be illegal – QED.” The Supreme Court is the end of the line. It’s where cases go when all of the formalized decision processes at the lower levels of the judiciary have failed to resolve them adequately. These questions are not sent to the highest court in the land just so that they can benefit from the previously unknown perspective of “well, the founders would have meant for it to be illegal, problem solved!” – something which obviously no one else could have come up with, without deferring to the brilliant reasoning of Scalia.

The Supreme Court is not there to fire off “easy”, ill-considered, poorly-thought-out conclusions like this. It’s there to reach carefully developed and well-supported conclusions which are not always readily apparent. So don’t pretend that all nine of you could just as easily be replaced by the average gay-bashin’ clinic-protestin’ yokel, when you really only mean yourself.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Like I said to my spouse yesterday on the subject- who cares what the founders intended? The founders are dead. Sure, they had some nice ideas, but they were human, and so are we. We can and should figure things like this out for ourselves. We can take their good ideas and apply them in a way that *we* feel is appropriate, not sit around and try to crystal-ball what they would have thought of the situation. That’s just silly.

  2. julian says

    I understand the need for conservative readings of law in courtrooms. If decisions become the whims of the judge it loses any grounding in objectivity.

    But I think it’s worth pointing out Scalia’s reasoning (as he admits) would have sided with segregation. It would (as many conservatives here in the US are loath to admit) have protected slavery.

    The founders are dead and what many wanted is a terrible compass. Decisions need to be made for the reality of today and the potential issues of tomorrow.

  3. brenda says

    This is a surprise? Scalia has always been like this. The real news is that his opinion is losing ground. The normalization of homosexuality into society is a fait accompli in many areas today and is likely to only grow.

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