At a recent signing for his new book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that deciding on some of the most pressing judicial matters of the day is hardly rocket science.
The conservative jurist told an audience at the Washington, DC-based American Enterprise Institute that it’s “easy” to render a verdict when you apply the words in the Constitution as they were intended by its framers: “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy,” he said. “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.”
We’re not legal scholars, but wasn’t slavery legal at one point?
Looking at Scalia’s track record, it’s pretty clear he didn’t wrestle with gay rights: In 1995 he gave the dissenting opinion in Romer v. Evans, which overturned a ban on anti-discrimination laws being extended to sexual orientation. “The Supreme Court said, ‘Yes, it is unconstitutional.’ On the basis of—I don’t know, the Sexual Preference Clause of the Bill of Rights, presumably,” he said of the Romer ruling.
The Supreme Court is expected to put at least one marriage-equality case on its docket this term, though not until after the November election.