Antonin Scalia

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History will reduce him to a punchline.
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, [1]

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (born 1936) is 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."[2] He was inflicted on the country appointed to the Supreme Court by (who else?) Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1986.

Scalia's intense Roman Catholicism is reflected in an apparent belief that the state's authority is derived from a deity rather than the consent of the governed.[3]

An early supporter of the Federalist Society, Scalia is 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.


[edit] Judicial philosophy

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[4]

Scalia considers himself a textualist and a Constitutional originalist, a rather meaningless term. "Textualism" means he interprets laws by their plain meaning. For example, if there was a law on sex crimes and it mentions "forcible rope," he would view this obvious error as referring to tying people up, not nonconsensual sex.[5] His originalist view is that he, and only he, knows exactly what James Madison meant (though Scalia was proven to not know what Antonin Scalia meant[2]). 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 believes that the Fourteenth Amendment only applies to... recounts in Florida, that axes shouldn't be carried in public but rocket launchers might be permissible,[6] and the Eighth Amendment prevents forcing him to read a 2700-page health care bill, but not torture.

In reality though, he is just a cultural warrior dressed in a robe, and he is willing to abandon his supposed originalism so long as it serves his ideological agenda.[7]

[edit] Humor

  • Scalia works for the Supreme Court as a part-time clothes-dryer and full-time wingnut scold.
  • As mentioned, Scalia is 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 picks the most right-wing fringe option he can think of and then constructs 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. Today, however, Thomas has been seen staking out his own positions more, often even loonier than Scalia's (though not always).
  • Oddly enough, Scalia is also the only prominent conservative in U.S. politics today 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.
  • In one of those moments of "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis," he and Ruth Ginsburg are 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[9]

[edit] Less than humorous

  • On 9 March 2012, Scalia attempted to assert that the outcome of Bush v. Gore was 7-2 and not 5-4.[10]
  • 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?”[11] 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.[12]
  • 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.[13]
  • His son Paul is a Catholic priest involved in Courage International, a reparative therapy lay ministry.[14]
  • Scalia came under fire for suggesting black students would succeed in "slower-track schools" rather than more competitive colleges.[15]

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

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