|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
“”By law, all Supreme Court dissents must be WITHERING and/or SCATHING, and Scalia's proclamation today was no different. It even includes the phrase "Ask your nearest hippie". I am not joking.
|—Drew Magary, |
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (1936—2016) was one of six Roman Catholics, the sole Sicilian-American on the United States Supreme Court, and, in the world of constitutional law, "nothing this bad" and "embarrassing." He was
inflicted on the country appointed to the Supreme Court by (who else?) Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1986.
Scalia's intense Roman Catholicism was reflected in an apparent belief that the state's authority is derived from a deity rather than the consent of the governed, as stated in the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence.
An early supporter of the Federalist Society, Scalia was thus a charter member of the neoconservative movement to make the United States a more "orderly" society where ordinary people enjoy only those individual liberties that please economically secure moralisers like Scalia. Little "Nino" grew up solidly middle class as the son of a language professor and a public school teacher. Thus, no reason to identify with proletarians.
“”Do you think the American people would ever have ratified the Constitution if they had been told, "The meaning of this document shall be whatever a majority of the Supreme Court says it is?"
|—Scalia speaking before law students at Santa Clara University|
Scalia considered himself a textualist and a Constitutional originalist, a rather meaningless term. "Textualism" means he interpreted laws by their plain meaning. For example, if there was a law on sex crimes and it mentions "forcible rape," he would've viewed this obvious error as referring to tying people up, not nonconsensual sex. His originalist view was that he, and only he, knows exactly what James Madison meant (though Scalia was proven to not know what Antonin Scalia meant). In many instances it is fairly cut-and-dried, such as his support for the constitutionality of the death penalty on the grounds that the Framers would never have thought of it as cruel and unusual. However, given that they all died around 150-200 years before the invention of the Internet, it is unknown exactly how he is able to discern their opinions on matters such as internet security. He was praised for his defense of the Fourth Amendment but he believed that it only protected property and not people from the police, thus, he would usually give unrestricted power to the police and, at times, overturn decades of precedent. He believed that the Fourteenth Amendment only applies to… recounts in Florida, that axes shouldn't be carried in public but rocket launchers might be permissible, and the Eighth Amendment prevented forcing him to read a 2700-page health care bill, but not torture.
- Scalia worked for the Supreme Court as a part-time clothes-dryer and full-time wingnut scold.
- As mentioned, Scalia was considered the foremost advocate of legal originalism, a doctrine that says that all legal decisions should be based on what the "originators" thought, despite the fact that they're all dead and we really can't ask them, and despite the fact that in 2011 he voted to make Corporations "persons." In practice, he just picked the most right-wing fringe option he can think of and then constructed a legal figleaf around it.
- Clarence Thomas was thought to be under the control of Scalia, something akin to the way hardened lifers in prison will take tender young men under their wing as soon as they get off the bus. More recently, however, Thomas has been seen staking out his own positions more, often even loonier than Scalia's (though not always).
- Oddly enough, Scalia was also the only prominent conservative in U.S. politics of his era with a sense of humor: at the White House Press Club party entertained by Stephen Colbert (who was sweating bullets to power), Scalia was not only the only audience member laughing, but he joined in the fun with some "ethnic sign language" directed back at the podium.
- If Scalia was a "real American" like one of the Framers, he would do as many of those original settlers would have argued, change his name to something more sensible, pronounceable, spellable, and pro-American.
- In one of those moments of "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis," he and Ruth Ginsburg were very close friends. We don't know what the attraction is, either.
- "It has been rendered the solemn duty of the Supreme Court of the United States, laid upon it by Congress in pursuance of the Federal Government's power "[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States," to decide, What Is Golf." — Scalia's dissent in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Casey Martin
Less than humorous
“”The body of scientific evidence supporting creation science is as strong as that supporting evolution. In fact, it may be stronger…. The evidence for evolution is far less compelling than we have been led to believe. Evolution is not a scientific “fact,” since it cannot actually be observed in a laboratory. Rather, evolution is merely a scientific theory or “guess.”… It is a very bad guess at that. The scientific problems with evolution are so serious that it could accurately be termed a “myth.”
|—Antonin Scalia in his dissenting opinion in Edwards v. Aguillard|
- On 10 December 2012 during a presentation to Princeton, Scalia was asked about how he could vote in favor of laws banning gay marriage and responded "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?” To make up for it, though, district judges continue to give him a taste of karma by citing his slippery slope dissent against United States v. Windsor when striking down state bans.
- On 8 September 2014, two mentally-handicapped black men were released from prison (after spending 30 years on death row) when DNA evidence confirmed that they were not guilty of raping and killing a child. Why is this relevant to Scalia? Well, the case was the main rationale for his steadfast support of the death penalty for two decades.
- His son Paul is a Catholic priest involved in Courage International, a reparative therapy lay ministry.
- Scalia came under fire for suggesting black students would succeed in "slower-track schools" rather than more competitive colleges.
On February 13, 2016, Scalia died in his sleep on a visit to Texas. This is only the second time that a SCOTUS justice has died in office since 1955. If he is replaced by a liberal, this would be the first time since the 1960s that the Supreme Court has a clearly liberal majority.
Unsurprisingly, right-wing conspiracy nuts immediately claimed that it was a hit by the Luciferian Obama administration, because it is literally impossible for a 79-year old, morbidly obese chain smoker with heart problems, high blood pressure and a very stressful job, to die suddenly.
Shortly after Scalia's death, the George Mason University law school quickly renamed itself as the Antonin Scalia School of Law (ASSoL), but even more quickly the law school made some "slight adjustments" and renamed themselves yet again the Antonin Scalia Law School.
- 60 Minutes interview (27 April 2008) where he says that torture is not cruel and unusual punishment because the suspects haven't been convicted of a crime yet. See also his brilliant invocation of Jack Bauer to justify torture.
- Scalia v. The Evil Activist Judges
- Scalia Smash!: Our Ragiest Supreme Court Justice, GQ
- Antonin Scalia's Blunder Is Unprecedented, Legal Experts Say, TPM
- Nino Scalia, by Grace of God Justice and Lord, Brad DeLong (It is also reflected in his 13 children.)
- At Santa Clara, Scalia says he’s a dissident on a liberal court by Bob Egelko (Updated 6:46 am, Thursday, October 29, 2015) San Francisco Chronicle.
- To be fair, this is a slight exaggeration; he has said that despite the lack of explicit protection for writing in the First Amendment, writing clearly falls under its purview. See here. But it is only a slight exaggeration.
- No, really.
- Is Justice Scalia Abandoning Originalism?, Cato Institute
- Kagan hunts with buddy Scalia, bags deer, CNN
- What is Golf?, PBS
- We Are Not Murders, Mr. Scalia, George Takei
- How Antonin Scalia helped open the door to gay marriage nationwide, The Week
- Antonin Scalia's Favorite Murderer Is Innocent, Slate
- Paul Scalia, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's Son, Doesn't Think That Homosexuality Is A Thing, Huffington Post
- Justice Scalia Under Fire For Comments About Black Students, NBC News
- Rick Wiles: Obama Killed Scalia As A Pagan Human Sacrifice, Right Wing Watch
- Loopy Conspiracist Alex Jones Thinks Justice Scalia Was Murdered (Because His 'Gut' Told Him So), Jezebel
- New Antonin Scalia Law School Runs Into ‘ASSoL’ Acronym Problem by Chris White (2:56 pm, April 5th, 2016) Law Newz.