Scalia says Constitution silent on abortion, race in school

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #1
    AP

    and the october wedge issue is... abortion!

    dear god i hope this doesn't turn into another pro-choice vs. pro-life thread. what's interesting to me here is the timing of scalia's statements, and whether they were coordinated with rove.
     
  2. Queso macrumors G4

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    #2
    That's quite a valid approach, seeing as the world hasn't changed at all since 1787 :rolleyes:

    Conservative isn't the word. Backward would be more appropriate.
     
  3. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    I wonder where this guy has been while Bush and the republicans have been attacking the Constitution,Bill of rights and Geneva Convention? A Political appointee that the democrats Ok'd by the way.
     
  4. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

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    Most debate surrounding how the US Constitution should be interpreted is a lot of poppycock which serves to mask the justices own value judgements on issue at hand.

    I'd be quite interested to know how Justice Scalia is so sure that he knows what the fathers of the American constitution meant when they ratified it in 1787. Most of the people who ratified it didn't even know what it meant themselves, and if they did, you can sure as hell guarantee that each person who wrote and ratified it had their own idea as to what exactly each provision meant.. A lot of it is so vague; what the hell is "due process of law" supposed to mean anyway?! I've read many of his books and articles. He's a complete eegit. According to him, the Brown case which effectively ended segregation in schools was not what the Constitution required and could not be justified by it. If you have a constitution which is so weak and outdated that it can't even be used to outlaw racial segregation, yet supports the right of Americans to carry guns in case the British invade again, then I'd rather live under Sharia Law :( .

    That's not to say some of the more liberal justices have not got rather excited and carried away themselves. A 'living constitution' anyone?
     
  5. Lyle macrumors 68000

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    The things that Scalia said are pretty consistent with how he's always ruled, aren't they? I don't know why he would have felt the need to coordinate them with Rove, much less anyone else in the administration.

    As for the timing: The story says that his comments took place in the context of a televised debate with the president of the ACLU; it also says that NBC's Pete Williams was the moderator of the debate. But I don't see anything in there that indicates who it was that sponsored the debate in the first place. Do you have some evidence or reason to suspect that Rove is the one who coordinated the debate?
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Following Scalia's reasoning, the Supreme Court is hardly even necessary, because the text of the Constitution is perfectly clear doesn't really require interpreting. I wonder if that's what he really means? Speaking of "regretting an approach," I wonder about the political impact of the court overturning Roe. I think such a move would serve as a wake-up call to a large slice of America that's become complacent.
     
  7. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    Scalia is wrong. His job is to interpret the constitution's application as a living document, not as one frozen in the late 18th century. The founding fathers were considerably more conservative than would be acceptable today; he really comes across as a reactionary thinker here.
     
  8. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    i think it's rather the opposite, those nutty FF were philosophers and -- i heard the other day -- visitors to opium dens. (no link, sorry, just hearsay)
     
  9. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    Many current Republican Congressmen/women are/were drug users, but that doesn't make them any less conservative when it comes to politics.

    The FF weren't necessarily all that radical in their own time. Many of the rich and powerful colonials who led the Revolution already had immense power and wealth in the colonies...the Revolution could be termed conservative in that it was led and financed by America's wealthy elite for America's wealthy elite - I would argue that most tenant farmers and laborers' lives did not change radically as the result of the Revolution. The American Revolution was about America's elite casting off the colonial yoke to become the "first citizens" of a new nation, preserving the de facto class system even while philosophising against it. Not Thomas Paine's idea of the way things should be, but reality sucks sometimes.
     
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    I read another article about this debate in my newspaper this morning. Scalia justified voting against striking down a sodomy law because when the Constitution was framed, sodomy was illegal.

    Ah, strict constructionism -- isn't it grand!
     
  11. Queso macrumors G4

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    Makes you wonder how much he pays his "home helps" :rolleyes:
     
  12. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    yes.

    i do not. but the next couple weeks will prove me right or wrong. if the abortion thing does become a talking point along the lines of scalia's statements, then i'll assert that there was coordination. at this stage, though, it's just me wondering aloud.
     
  13. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    It certainly reduces the need for analytical thought...:rolleyes:
     
  14. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

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    Scalia is a very reactionary thinker, both politically and legally.

    However, a 'living constitution' is a term so frought with contradictions and inadequacies it leaves itself with almost no real value. To what extent is the constitution to live? Surely if the constitution 'lives' too much, it simply takes on the predominant values of the time. In which case, what's the point of having a constiutiton? The whole point of the constitution is to enshrine rights against the government which will, on the whole, reflect such majoritarian values. So where does that leave us? Protecting rights informed by the majority's values from a government informed by the majority's values. Rendering the whole notion of a constiution impotent.

    The problem with the US Constitution is that there is far too much scope for value-led judgements by the Supreme Court - either as a result of granting certain rights which merely reflect substantive values, or because of the vague phrases used in some of its Articles. In my opinion, the Supreme Court should just commit a violence to legal reasoning and declare that the Constiuttion is only concerned with procedural rights such as the right to vote or stand for election, as opposed to substantative rights such as gun ownership or abortion. This doesn't mean that substantative rights will never be protected by the Constitution, but it will mean that substantive rights will only be protected if they can be reformulated so as reflect a democractic procedural right: For example, protecting freedom of speech because it is an essential procedure of a democratic society. In such a reformulation, the adjudication on the right in question will take on a much more analytical and empirical nature, rather than the value-laden judgement which dominate the Supreme Court at the moment (whether they like to admit it or not).

    What the nature of the democracy to which Constitutional rights will secure the procedure of is, on the other hand, a whole different kettle of fish :eek:
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    #15
    Well the Constitution doesn't say anything about prayer in schools either, so are we safe in assuming Scalia would never vote to uphold any law that permits, or strike down any law that prevents, prayer in school?
     
  16. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    The Constitution as a living document is hardly something that is simple to define - if I had to boil it down I'd say it should be a delicate balance which we can only maintain by constantly re-evaluating the document's meaning - but not so comprehensively as to put it at the mercy of the latest political wind. An imperfect definition, but it contains the essence of what I want to say. In that sense a certain amount of conservativism (with a little "c") makes sense. But Scalia is beyond conservative - he hides his prejudice behind his apparent literalist interpretation of the Constitution.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    The counterweight to a court acting willy-nilly in its interpretations of the Constitution is the principle of stare decisis, AKA precedent or decided law. The right to privacy on which Roe was built was not created out of whole cloth by the court to support the decision in Roe, but is a carefully constructed concept developed over decades of Supreme Court decisions. Scalia apparently cannot believe in such a thing because it isn't in the text of the Constitution, but I assume he also can't make any sense out of Amendment IX either.
     
  18. Lyle macrumors 68000

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    #18
    So the president of the ACLU who participated in the debate -- she's in on the conspiracy too, right? Or is she just an unwitting pawn in Rove's scheme?
     
  19. mdntcallr macrumors 65816

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    #19
    This is actually very depressing. Looks like the Supreme court could potentially allow states to outlaw abortion.

    that and set back affirmative action
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    As it happens, she and Anton Scalia are good friends. Oddly enough.
     
  21. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    not sure why you're on my case. either scalia timed this deliberately, or it just happened. not sure why anyone in the ACLU has to be in cahoots.
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    I'm pretty sure the constitution doesn't contain any right to torture people either. Wonder how that will figure into any rulings Scalia makes...
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #23
    Yes, but does it contain a right not to be tortured? The prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, you might say. Ah, but where does it say that cutting off a thief's hand is cruel, or the least bit unusual, for example? It's not up to judges to decide the meaning of cruelty. And usual, what does that mean in a legal context? Nothing.

    See how easy it is to be strict constructionist?
     
  24. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    Scalia is a partisan hack and his court opinions have consistently consisted of thinly disguised deflections for anyone who might question his hackiness.

    Might as well have the (R) after his name.
     
  25. mactastic macrumors 68040

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