Thursday, February 16, 2006

Scalia Speaks Frankly

"I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few." ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Several months ago, I posted some quotes from Democratic party chairman Howard Dean to illustrate just exactly how looney he really is. One of the comments left on that post said, among other things:

"he could be saying what the democrats won't say. ..i think he is their attack dog so that they don't look bad, so their message of hate and intolerance gets out."

Later, on another post, another commentator said he thought Dean says what all Democrats think, but are afraid to say aloud for fear of being ostracized.

As if that is something for which the Democrats should be proud.

Yesterday, I found a news item on AOL news, about an interview with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

In a speech Monday sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, Scalia defended his long-held belief in sticking to the plain text of the Constitution "as it was originally written and intended."
"Scalia does have a philosophy, it's called originalism," he said. "That's what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do," he said.
According to his judicial philosophy, he said, there can be no room for personal, political or religious beliefs.
Scalia criticized those who believe in what he called the "living Constitution."
"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break."
"But you would have to be an idiot to believe that," Scalia said. "The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things."
Proponents of the living constitution want matters to be decided "not by the people, but by the justices of the Supreme Court."
"They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it's the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable," he said.

I agree with the two commentators on my previous posts, and I agree with Justice Scalia. And, I'm glad that finally someone in the Government has the guts to say what most of us Conservatives think.

In my opinion, Liberals only insist the Constitution is a living document because they want a government governed by the Judiciary, as long as the Justices rule the way they want them to,. If the Judiciary rules against the Liberal agenda, they want to start impeachment proceedings.

I am proud to be a Conservative and I am proud of Justice Scalia.


Jim said...

It's really interesting to see that a sitting justice believes that hundreds of the brightest legal scholars and judges of the last 200+ years, including some of his bretheren on the court are "idiots."

What a guy! I so glad you are proud of him.

By the way, how exactly does the judiciary "govern"? It's the people through their representatives in the legislatures that are the ones who should "govern", right?

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

You beat me to it. I literally just read an article on this 5 minutes ago and thought it would be great for a post.

Love the post and love Scalia!! I too am proud of Scalia and am proud of being a conservative.

Erudite Redneck said...

Call me an idiot.

Call Scalia a fool.

Erudite Redneck said...

Hey, this story is amazingly saliant to this topic.

I take the Bible seriously, but not all of it literally. And I take the Constitution seriously, but not the way Scalia and other originalists do, for the same reasons.

AP Religion Writer Ž

The U.S. Constitution is “American Scripture” like unto the Bible, says Jaroslav Pelikan, retired history professor and former graduate dean at Yale University (and a Lutheran convert to Eastern Orthodoxy).
In his stimulating “Interpreting the Bible and the Constitution” (Yale University Press), this specialist in Christian intellectual history compares the Old and New Testaments to America’s founding charter. In doing so, he cites 72 Supreme Court rulings, 94 Christian creeds and numerous Bible verses.
Differences between the two works are obvious. The Bible treats God and humanity while the Constitution addresses relations among humans without referring to the deity.
The books of the Bible were composed throughout centuries by many authors, the writing is separated from our own time by millenniums and they carry authority for believers living in numerous cultures. By contrast, the Constitution is a relatively recent group product from one convention that’s “scriptural” for one nation.
But Pelikan asserts that both documents are venerable, venerated and upheld as normative by the communities they define. And, in the main thrust of the book, there are considerable similarities in how these writings are understood and applied.
The U.S. Supreme Court is the Constitution’s ultimate arbiter, much as church hierarchies and councils defined authoritative interpretations of the Bible.
The Constitution’s claim to speak for the populace (“We the people”) is paralleled by the Christian tradition that church leaders’ Bible interpretations need the “consensus fidelium” (Latin for “consensus of the faithful”).
Those who followed the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts may recall the “originalist” theory, which relies on the intentions of the “framers” who wrote the Constitution and the Federalist Papers.
Similar thinking guides especially Protestants who enshrine “sola Scriptura” (“Scripture alone” as the source of teaching), which emphasizes a biblical writer’s original intent and the literal meaning of the text. Pelikan compares the Constitution’s framers to the New Testament apostles who passed eyewitness accounts on to the next generation and the early church fathers.
Thus in the Wittenberg Articles of 1536, Anglicans and Lutherans jointly endorsed the Bible and three ecumenical creeds “in the same meaning which the creeds themselves intend and in which the approved holy fathers use and defend them.”
Radical 19th-century U.S. Protestants leapt past the fathers and creeds to accept strict New Testament words. Thomas Campbell (a forerunner of America’s creedless Christian Churches, Churches of Christ and Disciples of Christ) said believers should “take up things just as the apostles left them ... disentangled from the accruing embarrassment of intervening ages.”
Substitute “framers” for “apostles” and you have the originalist approach to the Constitution, Pelikan notes.
The competing theory sees a flexible, “living Constitution,” typified by Supreme Court Justice William Brennan’s concurring opinion in the 1962 Abington case forbidding school prayers and Bible readings. He opposed “a too literal quest for the advice of the Founding Fathers” for three reasons:
—On the precise problem raised, history is ambiguous and could support either side.
—The “structure of American education has greatly changed” since the republic’s early days.
—And the nation’s religious makeup has become “vastly more diverse.”
Another notable flexibility proponent was Justice William Douglas, for instance in his majority opinion in the 1965 Griswold ruling against birth control bans. The court later used that opinion’s assertion of a right to privacy to abolish states’ abortion restrictions.
Douglas said the First Amendment implies “penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.” But dissenting Justice Hugo Black, a literalist in this case, said he was “unable to stretch the amendment” that far.


rusty shakelford said...

hey Jim some of the scholars and judges from the last 200+ years were idiots(your term not mine). That was Scalia's point. If you think the constatution changes with society then you get things like the supreme court giving a thumbs up to slavery, segragation and abortion.

Francis Lynn said...

The classic example of idiots on the Supreme Court is with the "separation of church & state" argument. These 5 words are found in only statement - that of Thomas Jefferson in an obscure speech he had given - no where else. Their law clerks must have worked overtime to come up with it. The idiots on the court latched onto this phrase & made it bigger than it should have been to advance their opinion. It was not only fautly argument, but intellectual dishonesty on the part of the Justices who voted using this phrase as an argument.

Liberal activists, social engineers & those on the fringe know that their positions are in the minority, to the point of obnoxious sometimes - they can't win them in the polls, can't win them in city councils or state assemblies. So they rely on the champions of liberal idealogy on the Federal courts & the Supreme Court - the "living Constitution" judges & justices in particular - to force their agendas on the rest of the country.

Scalia was only being polite when he called them idiots.

Cabe said...


Jim said...

Is everybody who disagrees with you an idiot?

Hey, nobody has answered my question in paragraph 3 of my first post. Anybody?

Mark said...

Jim, no, everyone that disagrees with me is not an idiot. Only idiots that disagree with me are idiots.

"By the way, how exactly does the judiciary "govern"? It's the people through their representatives in the legislatures that are the ones who should "govern", right?"

Right. But there have been several decisions rendered in the past in which the Supreme Court has governed. Start with the "eminent domain" decision of last year for one, and work back from there.

Goat said...

Actually, we just learned how to play poker, :)

Mark said...

Goat, huh? What the heck are you talking about? That made absolutely no sense at all!

Jim said...

How has the Court governed exactly? They don't write legislation. So how do they make the law? How do they govern?

Goat said...

Analogy, Mark, you know, sarcasm. The conservative movement finally learned how to play poker.

Jim said...

No one will answer my question. Why not?