Right-wing, theocratic, corporatist Justice Antonin Scalia hasn’t been dealing with life very well recently – and it has his buddies and co-workers a little worried.
It seems that Justice Scalia hasn’t been pleased with the fact that his judicial colleagues had the unmitigated temerity to rule against him. Most recently, he has gone on tirades over SCOTUS rulings on marriage equality and the Affordable Care Act.
Bill Blum at TruthDig has posted a couple of reports on the lurid details about Scalia’s tirades over the past few weeks. The fact is, Scalia started losing it years ago. Prior to his ascendency to the SCOTUS, Scalia was best known as a co-founder of the Federalist Society. According to the organization’s website, it is
a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order . . . committed to the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.
Scalia is on record as standing for a “strict” (as in literal, word-for-word) interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. It might be more accurate to describe his stand as “rigid,” or “inflexible.” Dare we say, even “fossilized”? What Scalia fails to understand is the complexity of the law. To him, it’s all black-and-white, its final and unalterable interpretation inscribed in granite by men living some 225 years ago.
The Framers of the Constitution were not prophets. They could not have imagined what the future would bring. However, they were wise enough to realize that there would be changes, many of which nobody could have anticipated. For this reason, they created mechanisms within the Constitution that would allow future generations to adapt the law of the land to current conditions. One of these – which goes to the heart of issues such as the Affordable Care Act – is found in Article I, Section 8. Known as the “Necessary and Proper” Clause, it enables We The People – through our elected representatives in Congress – to create laws fitting the needs and circumstances of the times.
Furthermore, the courts have what is known as the “power of judicial review.” Judges are allowed latitude in interpreting the intentions of the Framers, even when those intentions are not explicitly stated. An example of this is Gideon v. Wainwright where the SCOTUS ruled that if a suspect in a criminal case could not afford a defense attorney, the state is obliged to provide one. That was over half a century ago. Today, Scalia would have thrown a hissy fit about the court’s overreach and screamed about how it was too damned bad that Gideon couldn’t afford an attorney, “he’s poor and stupid, and must be guilty, that’s his lot.”
Scalia needs to get his head out of the 18th Century. Times change, just as the Framers of the Constitution knew they would. You need to change with the times as well.