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Justice Antonin Scalia Says Ruling On Death Penalty, Sodomy Laws Is “Easy”

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.


    • Ogre Magi

      He is a typical @hole christian!

      Oct 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      The right wing is DESPERATELY doing what they can to try to cover for this guy. If you watch FOX they will say multiple times a week some variation on the following phrase.

      Anton Scalia, one of the most intelligent legal scholars…

      This guy has made his bigotry so clear, as well as boldly attending ultra conservative events funded by outside groups that they are desperate to do anything they can to try to assign him qualities he doesn’t have.

      Stating that because sodomy was illegal is a reason to keep it illegal is something a 4th grader could out argue him on.

      By that logic, women shouldn’t own property, children could be beated or forced to work with no penalty if they died while working.

      Blacks could still be slaves.

      The sad thing is, that he lives in such an echo chamber that he seems almost not to realize what an intellectual lightweight he sounds like.

      Oct 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniel-Reader

      It was legal to forcibly sterilize Americans against their will for more than a half century and the “justice” of the Supreme Court did nothing to stop it for all those decades. Being a supreme court justice does not mean Anthony Scalia is a moral person.

      Oct 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DuMaurier

      I don’t necessarily share Scalia’s judicial philosophy, but saying “wasn’t slavery legal at one point?” doesn’t refute his point. Slavery was legal until a constitutional amendment specifically said otherwise. That’s a fairly explicit illustration of his principle of “apply[ing] the words as intended.” Like it or not, slavery was both legal and constitutional until the “words” were changed.

      Oct 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • zaneymcbanes

      Scalia is a ridiculously intelligent man, but he has some crackpot views. As for abortion, it WAS legal in the US in early 19th century, and Scalia knows it.

      Oct 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DuMaurier

      @zaneymcbanes: That’s true, I forgot about that. Scalia’s rebuttal, though, would probably be that it was a prerogative of the states to make it legal or illegal in the 19th century, and up until Roe v. Wade, and I think that’s what he wants to go back to.

      Oct 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cody j

      gee, he looks jus’ like the “late” actor Vito Scoti…who was always on the recieving end of “froggy the gremiln”s antics on the old ‘Andys Gang’ tv show.HIYAH KIDS,HIYAH,lol..(andy devine) ‘cept I think froggy has more sense,lol…

      Oct 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • streeteditions

      Prefrontal lobotomies were legal, too. Just saying.

      Oct 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin B

      I think we’ll get a clear picture of whether or not Scalia is willing to enforce his own standards when the court finally gets around to ruling on DOMA and/or state laws prohibiting the recognition of gay marriages conducted in another state, since marriages most certainly WERE understood, at the time of ratification of the Constitution, to be one of the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings” which other states would be required to recognize under . If he’s true to his words, the unconstitutionality of those laws will also be an “easy” decision. If he decides, instead, to go down the rabbit hole of the public policy exception then we’ll know where his real values lie.

      Oct 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dumdum

      Who gives a rats ass? If he wasn’t so fat and ugly, I would chop him up and bake him in a pie. Along with all the other neo-nazi knuckle dragging mouth breathing idiots.

      Oct 6, 2012 at 8:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charli Girl

      I know I will strike a nerve among my brothers and sisters here in LGBT community BUT, I myself don’t believe heteros should be killing babies either. That’s one thing I suppose I lean toward the right. And I’ve NEVER heard of a gay person killing any unborn child. I believe that there should be an invention by now to PREVENT a pregnancy before there IS a human.
      That’s the JOB I would focus on, is to try and find a new avenue of ” prevention”.
      As far as Scalia goes, isn’t he as old as dirt? His beliefs are antiquated. Shouldn’t these judges be exposed to different cultures in order to broaden their views? How can they argue and debate if they are in a bubble, so to speak?
      My 2 cents

      Oct 6, 2012 at 8:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alexoloughlin

      Scalia is an Opus Dei member. Quite frightening to think someone like that can sit on the bench.

      Oct 6, 2012 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      @DuMaurier: said… “I don’t necessarily share Scalia’s judicial philosophy, but saying “wasn’t slavery legal at one point?” doesn’t refute his point.

      Actually it does. Because Scalia wasn’t saying how a law should be changed. He was stating flatly that the fact that something has been illegal for a long period of time is a reason it should stay illegal or vice-versa.

      i.e. women not owning property, slavery, child labor etc…

      Oct 6, 2012 at 11:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg

      I wonder what he thinks of the theory that the Second Amendment protects only the right to own colonial-era muskets! After all, the Founding Fathers did not anticipate the innovations of Samuel Colt, the advent of semi-automatic weapons, and so on.

      Oct 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin B

      @Cam: Actually, it doesn’t, because Scalia understands there to be a difference between the statement “X should be illegal” and “X is unconstitutional.” He’s not saying one thing about keeping abortion, sodomy, etc etc illegal, only that in his consideration laws preventing them are constitutional. He’d suggest that those who would want those things to be legal should vote their consciences and trust in the democratic system rather than expecting the Supreme Court to make what he considers political decisions.

      Oct 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      @Kevin B: said…

      “@Cam: Actually, it doesn’t, because Scalia understands there to be a difference between the statement “X should be illegal” and “X is unconstitutional.” He’s not saying one thing about keeping abortion, sodomy, etc etc illegal, only that in his consideration laws preventing them are constitutional.”

      Actually you are inventing a statement that wasn’t made. But it’s nice to know you seem to think you can read people’s mind.

      He said a very straight forward statement. But it’s always nice to see the Log Cabiners inventing conversations that never happened to try to defend their favorite justice.

      Oct 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike07042

      If he really wants to freeze the interpretation of the constitution based on what he believes the intent of the original framers was, he should definitely strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. It has always the right of the states, not the federal government, to define what marriage is, and that was all the more true in 1789. States rights, Mr. Justice Scalia.

      Oct 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charli Girl

      No surprise here scalian…You’ve lost your credibility !! Walmart needs a host!
      Sad to see someone that is in that position think they had it all,then expose their ignorance and lose it all!
      Stepping down now still would not regain your dignity,so just keep trying to fake it,is ALL you have left.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 6:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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