Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Words of Antonin Scalia

This was the guy who was actually weighing in on some of the most important issues of the day . . . .

On the death penalty:  "Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached."

In deciding that private businesses can be exempted from certain laws on religious grounds:  “Well, religious beliefs aren’t reasonable. I mean, religious beliefs are categorical. You know, it’s God [that] tells you. It’s not a matter of being reasonable."

On the right of Americans to arm themselves with anything that can be hand-carried:  "I suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.”

Responding to critics who say his religion impairs his fairness in rulings: “To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo." (Italian slang meaning "fuck you")

“If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.” He then used a 19th-century law restricting the movement of freed slaves to bolster his argument:  "[Back in the day], “State laws not only provided for the removal of unwanted immigrants but also imposed penalties on unlawfully present aliens and those who aided their immigration.”

“Nobody thought it (the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection) was directed against sex discrimination.  Although [gender bias]  shouldn’t exist-- [the idea that it is] constitutionally forbidden is a modern invention.”

Upon being corrected during oral arguments for mistakenly using the term stratosphere:  “Troposphere, whatever. I told you before I’m not a scientist. That’s why I don’t want to have to deal with global warming, to tell you the truth.”

On why he believed that comments from legislators were irrelevant in figuring out what statutes meant: “Once Congress floats that text out there, it has its own life. It means what it means. It means what it says.”

"Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality (whatever that means) were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie. Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say."

On his belief that racism no longer exists and that the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed:  "[There is a] phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement.  It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes."

On his tendency to equate homosexuality with murder and bestiality:  “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?"

“[The Texas anti-sodomy statute] undoubtedly imposes constraints on liberty ... So do laws prohibiting prostitution, recreational use of heroin, and, for that matter, working more than 60 hours per week in a bakery.”

Explaining why an unopposed vote on a piece of legislation actually undermines the law:  “The Israeli supreme court, the Sanhedrin, used to have a rule that if the death penalty was pronounced unanimously, it was invalid, because there must be something wrong there.”

The Daily Dude notes that in 1986, the Senate approved Justice Scalia’s nomination to the Supreme Court by a vote of 98 to 0 . . . by Scalia's standards, there must be something wrong there.

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