Thursday, October 19, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Antonin Scalia


Antonin Scalia has been an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court since 1986.
Antonin Scalia
On judicial arrogance: It is one of the unhappy incidents of the federal system that a self-righteous Supreme Court, acting on its Members' personal view of what would make a 'more perfect Union' (a criterion only slightly more restrictive than a 'more perfect world') can impose its own favored social and economic dispositions nationwide.
Scalia quotes
On the court's lack of authority regarding the right to die: [T]he point at which life becomes 'worthless,' and the point at which the means necessary to preserve it become 'extraordinary' or 'inappropriate,' are neither set forth in the Constitution nor known to the nine Justices of this Court any better than they are known to nine people picked at random from the Kansas City telephone directory...[therefore] even when it is demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that a patient no longer wishes certain measures to be taken to preserve her life, it is up to the citizens of Missouri to decide, through their elected representatives, whether that wish will be honored.
Scalia
The Constitution contains no right to abortion. It is not to be found in the longstanding traditions of our society, nor can it be logically deduced from the text of the Constitution - not, that is, without volunteering a judicial answer to the nonjusticiable question of when human life begins. Leaving this matter to the political process is not only legally correct, it is pragmatically so. That alone - and not lawyerly dissection of federal judicial precedents - can produce compromises satisfying a sufficient mass of the electorate that this deeply felt issue will cease distorting the remainder of our democratic process. The Court should end its disruptive intrusion into this field as soon as possible.




Scalia Antonin quotes
Today's decision is the pinnacle of our Eighth Amendment death-is-different jurisprudence. Not only does it, like all of that jurisprudence, find no support in the text or history of the Eighth Amendment; it does not even have support in current social attitudes regarding the conditions that render an otherwise just death penalty inappropriate. Seldom has an opinion of this Court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members.
Scalia Antonin
On affirmative action: Those who believe that racial preferences can help to 'even the score' display, and reinforce, a manner of thinking about race that was the source of the injustice and that will, if it endures within our society, be the source of more injustice still.
Antonin Scalia quotes
On parental rights: In my view, a right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the 'unalienable Rights' with which the Declaration of Independence proclaims 'all Men . . . are endowed by their Creator.'
Antonin Scalia
Today's extension of the Edwards prohibition is the latest stage of prophylaxis built upon prophylaxis, producing a veritable fairyland castle of imagined constitutional restriction upon law enforcement.
Scalia Antonin quotes
'Abusive' (or 'hostile,' which in this context I take to mean the same thing) does not seem to me a very clear standard - and I do not think clarity is at all increased by adding the adverb objectively or by appealing to a reasonable person's notion of what the vague word means.
Scalia
My difficulty with Roe v. Wade is a legal rather than a moral one. I do not believe – and no one believed for 200 years – that the Constitution contains a right to abortion. And if a state were to permit abortion on demand, I would and could in good conscience vote against an attempt to invalidate that law, for the same reason that I vote against invalidation of laws that contradict Roe v. Wade; namely, simply because the Constitution gives the federal government and, hence, me no power over the matter.
Scalia Antonin
I have been willing, in the case of civil statutes, to acknowledge a doctrine of scrivener's error that permits a court to give an unusual (though not unheard of ) meaning to a word which, if given its normal meaning, would produce an absurd and arguably unconstitutional result.
Antonin Scalia
The Court today finds that the Powers That Be, up in Albany, have conspired to effect an establishment of the Satmar Hasidim. I do not know who would be more surprised at this discovery: the Founders of our Nation or Grand Rebbe Joel Teitelbaum, founder of the Satmar. The Grand Rebbe would be astounded to learn that after escaping brutal persecution and coming to America with the modest hope of religious toleration for their ascetic form of Judaism, the Satmar had become so powerful, so closely allied with Mammon, as to have become an establishment of the Empire State. And the Founding Fathers would be astonished to find that the Establishment Clause — which they designed to insure that no one powerful sect or combination of sects could use political or governmental power to punish dissenters — has been employed to prohibit characteristically and admirably American accommodation of the religious practices (or more precisely, cultural peculiarities) of a tiny minority sect. I, however, am not surprised. Once this Court has abandoned text and history as guides, nothing prevents it from calling religious toleration the establishment of religion.




Antonin Scalia quotes
On Judicial activism: The Court must be living in another world. Day by day, case by case, it is busy designing a Constitution for a country I do not recognize
Antonin Scalia
I define speech as any communicative activity. [Can it be nonverbal?] Yes. [Can it be nonverbal and also not written?] Yes. [Can it encompass physical actions?] Yes. Watt [Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Watt, 703 F.2d 586 (1983)] was a case in which what was at issue was sleeping as communicative activity. What I said was that for purposes of the heightened protections that are accorded, sleeping could not be speech. That is to say, I did not say that one could prohibit sleeping merely for the purpose of eliminating the communicative aspect of sleeping, if there is any . . . [and] I did not say that the Government could seek to prohibit that communication without running afoul of the heightened standards of the first amendment. If they passed a law that allows all other sleeping but only prohibits sleeping where it is intended to communicate, then it would be invalidated. But what I did say was, where you have a general law that just applies to an activity which in itself is normally not communicative, such as sleeping, spitting, whatever you like; clenching your fist, for example; such a law would not be subject to the heightened standards of the first amendment. That is to say, if there is ordinary justification for it, it is fine. It does not have to meet the high need, the no other available alternative requirements of the first amendment. Whereas, when you are dealing with communicative activity, naturally communicative activity—writing, speech, and so forth— any law, even if it is general, across the board, has to meet those higher standards.
Scalia quotes
If you're going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you're not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you're probably doing something wrong.
Scalia Antonin
On legal paternalism: It is hard to consider women a 'discrete and insular minority', unable to employ the 'political processes ordinarily to be relied upon' when they constitute a majority of the electorate. And the suggestion that they are incapable of exerting that political power smacks of the same paternalism that the Court so roundly condemns.
Scalia Antonin quotes
Words do have a limited range of meaning, and no interpretation that goes beyond that range is permissible.
Antonin Scalia
The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation's moral standards—and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures. Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent. Words have no meaning if the views of less than 50 percent of death penalty States can constitute a national consensus. Our previous cases have required overwhelming opposition to a challenged practice, generally over a long period of time.
Antonin Scalia quotes
The definition of high crimes and misdemeanours: Among the questions considered nonjusticiable is the definition of an impeachable offense. Whatever Congress says is an impeachable offense is an impeachable offense.
Antonin Scalia
Frequently an issue of this sort will come before the Court clad, so to speak, in sheep's clothing: the potential of the asserted principle to effect important change in the equilibrium of power is not immediately evident, and must be discerned by a careful and perceptive analysis. But this wolf comes as a wolf.
Scalia Antonin
The main business of a lawyer is to take the romance, the mystery, the irony, the ambiguity out of everything he touches.


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