Scalia Contradicts Himself?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by citizenzen, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #1
    In his dissent to the decision to strike down DOMA, Justice Scalia writes ...

    Yet he was just part of the majority that voted to invalidate a key part of the Voting Rights Act, another piece of "democratically adopted legislation".

    Is Scalia contradicting himself?

    Or am I missing something that helps to explain why his previous ruling wasn't likewise a Court error from the same diseased root?
     
  2. macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #2
    Prop 8 was directly voted on by the voters, the vote rights act wasn't. According to the decision, congress/president passed an unconstitutional law.

    Now I disagree with him that SCOTUS doesn't have the power to overturn a law voted on by the voters. That is what the court system is there for. Protects the minority from laws passed by the majority.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    #3
    Quick correction - this is about DOMA, not Prop 8. DOMA, like VRA, was passed by Congress and a President. Scalia apparently says the SCOTUS has no authority to rule on DOMA, but does have authority to rule on VRA, and it's not yet clear why he makes that distinction.
     
  4. macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #4
    Oops. My bad. Then yes, Scalia is 100% contradicting himself.
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #5
    You know how you said something in error, had the facts pointed out to you, corrected yourself and apologized?

    Any chance you could teach Scalia how you did that?
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #6
    But even if you weren't wrong, I don't see how it would make a difference.

    It isn't as if there is special consideration (as least IMO) given to laws passed by voter initiative versus that passed through a legislative body.

    Each is just a different avenue through which laws can be created.

    But neither is immune from court review.
     
  7. macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #7
    I don't think there is a difference. As I stated in my first post, I think the SCOTUS does have the power to overturn the voters( in Prop 8 case).

    But, if I wasn't wrong that could be the logic of Scalia( no matter how wrong he is). He thinks SCOTUS can only overturn laws the government passed, not the voters.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #8
    ... government of the people, by the people, for the people ...
     
  9. macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    #10
    Are you really arguing Scalia doesn't believe the Supreme Court has the power to rule legislation unconstitutional?

    That paragraph is a far cry from "the court doesn't have the power to invalidate democratically adopted legislation" as you imply. I'm no constitutional scholar, but the bolded parts seem to be where the explanation is needed.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #11
    No. I'm not arguing that point at all.

    My question is how does Scalia justify calling this decision an error, "spring[ing] forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.”

    Scalia is damning the institution and the role it plays in our political system. Yet this decision appears to me to be virtually the same as his own overturning of the Voter Rights Act.

    I'm not arguing that the Court doesn't have the right to overturn laws. I'm asking how Scalia can call one ruling a symptom of disease while not seeing his own ruling in the same way.
     
  12. macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #12
    Isn't overturning laws which are deemed unconstitutional one of the ultimate functions of the Supreme Court?
     
  13. macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #13
    The day after he struck down a law that was passed unanimously in the Senate, and nearly unanimously in the House, Scalia opined that the Court had no right to subvert the democratic will of the people by overturning the hotly-contested Defense Of Marriage Act.

    If this isn't hypocrisy, what is?
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #14
    I'd love to hear him explain it.

    I'm sure he has his reasons.
     
  15. macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #15
    Of course he knows the court can invalidate democratically adopted legislation. He's saying the court had no power to do so in this particular case. Hypocrisy is the wrong word. He just thinks the court had the power to act in one case but not the other. But yes, it was silly to point out that DOMA was democratically adopted, since that's true of all laws.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    #16
    This article has some choice quotes regarding Scalia's rationale, made before today's decision:
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/sc...ay-marriage-have-no-business-being-decided-by
     
  17. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    #18
    Someone help me understand - is he saying the only rights we have are ones that are specifically granted to us by the Constitution? That anything and everything can be regulated by law so long as the regulation doesn't directly contradict something in the Constitution? Okay, I suppose - for example, a municipality can ban cigarettes in public places even though they aren't mentioned at all in the Constitution as not being a right. Anybody know what his feelings are on the equal protection clause of the 14th?
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    The Evildrome Boozerama
    #19
  20. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #20
    The two political shows I was listening to this morning touched on this.

    Yes, Scalia contradicted himself. There is no consistency with a person like him. What he said yesterday and today is him trying to have his cake and eating it as well.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Among the starlings
    #21
    The Bill of Rights directly contradicts this interpretation, and if you read the Federalist Papers, that was a major concern of those who drafted it and the Constitution.

     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    shinji

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    #23
    Yeah, that was what I was thinking - I don't quite understand his justification. :confused:
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    robanga

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    #24
    I don't get his statement. One of the reasons the court exists is to protect us against unconstitutional legislation. Whether the law was created by elected officials based on their intentions or the voters referendum, does not really make a difference.

    Can someone in the profession suggest what he was getting at here?
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #25
    Scalia is a textualist who is saying that the original meaning of the Constitution defined a very limited role for the courts, and, all other things being equal, the original meaning prevails. Except when something contradicts Scalia's conservative social views, in which case an activist court is called for. :rolleyes:

    In all seriousness, I'm not sure "hypocrisy" is precisely the correct word. Scalia is an entertaining raconteur who is good at rationalizing his personal feelings. Most justices will claim to be textualists or originalists, yet, given a specific case, they come to very different conclusions, depending perhaps on their temperaments among other things. David Souter was my idea of a justice with "judicial temperament".
     

Share This Page