Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia

While the death of anyone is a sad occasion, the death of some help to bring about change.  This is the case with the death, from natural causes, of Antonin Scalia.  He was confirmed by the US Senate on August 5, 1982, and was sworn in on August 17, 1982.

Justice Scalia opposed Row v Wade, saying that it was wrongly decided & should be overturned.  On June 29, 1992, Justice Scalia joined the Court’s decision on PLANNED PARENTHOOD v. CASEY.  At issue were five provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982:  requiring a 24-hour “informed consent” waiting period before the abortion is performed; mandating the consent of one parent for a minor to obtain an abortion, with a judicial bypass procedure; requiring notification of the husband; defining a “medical emergency” that will excuse compliance with the foregoing requirements; imposing reporting requirements on facilities providing abortion services.

Justice Scalia was opposed to gay marriage, saying, “everyone in history, until 15 years ago, understood marriage.”  Justice Scalia also said of the landmark 6-3 ruling on Lawrence v. Texas on Jun 26, 2003, that “legal sodomy leads to legal incest, adultery, & bestiality.”  The court had previously addressed the same issue in 1986 in Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute, not finding a constitutional protection of sexual privacy.

Justice Scalia was a supporter of the disastrous Citizens United case.  During the initial oral argument of the case in 2008, Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Roberts asked questions that implied something far more expansive, and declaratory, than statutory interpretation.  They wanted to hear arguments about whether the law banning corporate election spending could be justified at all.  With the nature of the case changing, the Court requested that the parties write new briefs and reargue the case, explaining the constitutional legitimacy of independent corporate spending limits.  However, there was no chance to research the underlying factual issues.  No record was created to address these new foundational constitutional questions.  The case came back to the Supreme Court in 2009. Ted Olson, the lawyer for Citizens United, argued that there was no justification for the law because there is “no quid pro quo there [when corporations spend money in campaigns], and if there is it would be punishable as a crime.”

Justice Scalia, during oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, said that the Court had to rescue Congress from the trap of being afraid to vote against a “racial entitlement”, the “entitlement” in question being the Voting Rights Act.  A few weeks later on Monday, April 15, 2013, Justice Scalia told a group of students that the provision is an “embedded” form of “racial preferment.” He believes the provision is a racial entitlement because the federal government does not take a similar interest in protecting the voting rights of whites.

My condolences go out to the family and friends of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.  But, I am not sad to see him go.  With Justice Scalia’s ultra conservative views on women’s rights, LGBT rights, Citizens United and voting rights, I see hope for the future with him being replaced, either by President Barack Obama (provided the Republican Congress doesn’t obstruct it) or by Bernie Sanders appointing Barack Obama as a Supreme Court Justice.

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