I was as dumbfounded as everybody to get the news about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dying in Texas. In fact, I was so befuddled, maybe perplexed, about what the news meant, that I chose to forgo the debate. I spent the evening watching the news on CNN. I used commercial breaks to Google items of interest on Scalia. I figured that there had to be more to the man than my own lowly opinion of him. I figured if I was going to write about him, I should at least try to bring up his good features. You know, like he didn’t kick dogs, stuff like that.
I’m sure that all of the smart money was on Justice Ginsberg being the first to go. Justice Ginsberg is 82 and is barely able to keep herself awake during the first few minutes of the State of The Union address. I know that’s true of a lot of people, particularly if the President is from the opposition. It’s just that Justice Ginsberg looks so weak it looked like she shouldn’t even attend. Her frailty underscores the proposition that appointing people to life time positions is a bad idea. People are not like wine, we don’t improve with age. We get cranky, close minded, uncompromising and generally just hard to deal with.
It appears that Justice Scalia was born old. He was the first Italian-American Justice, appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986. He was part of the Reagan Revolution, in which Reagan elevated Justices to the court that were far more conservative than his own views. Scalia cloaked his bigotry and misogyny under the guise of Federalism. By turning back every challenge brought to the court that impinged on human liberties as being a matter for the individual states to decide, Scalia reinforced his distain for the Declaration of Independence. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are just words to be determined by the state where you reside, unless you are a corporation. Corporations are given special powers in a Scalia court, like unlimited campaign spending and ignoring provision of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Scalia was exactly what every Republican talks about when they use the phrase “legislating from the bench”. The Republicans never complained about Scalia’s legislating, though. Scalia made law or struck down laws, without benefit of Congress or the President. He was the “decider” and he bullied all of the other Justices to support his view. In fact, Justice Clarence Thomas gave up long ago having an opinion. Now, he just points at Scalia and says, “what he said”. So, I guess in effect, we lost two Justices today. It will be interesting to see if Thomas aligns with the other right wing Catholic on the court, Justice Alito. Since we know “birds of a feather, flock together”, maybe it’s time to stop nominating Catholics to the court. Prior to Scalia’s death, they were a 6 to 3 majority. Not that all of Scalia’s bad decision’s were based on morality issues. Just the ones involving, race, sexual orientation and women’s rights.
Scalia could also wreck havoc in areas other than human rights. He was instrumental in the Supreme Court forcing George Bush in as President, over Al Gore. Scalia didn’t even have enough of a conscience to recuse himself from the Bush suit, which was brought by the law firm where Scalia’s son worked. Scalia was convinced that his “moral majority” on the court had the right to decide who was going to be President, over the millions of us ignorant voters.
Scalia also refused to recuse himself from a Supreme Court case involving Dick Cheney, even though he and Cheney were hunting buddies. It was Scalia’s belief that the Constitution was not a living growing document, but could only be interpreted through the eyes of someone like Scalia who saw the world as how it was in 1776. To that end, Scalia could make determinations favorable to friends, political parties, corporations or others that were based on his insight to the founding fathers minds, not any sort of legal precedence.
Scalia believed in the devil, and I’m sure Scalia is with him today. While Scalia is arranging the chairs in Hell to his liking, I’m sure he’ll be looking in on how we mere mortals will handle his departure. Battle lines are being drawn, and it looks like it’s Scalia’s favorite battle, good versus evil.
Meantime, apparently I missed a heck of a Republican debate. I guess I’ll have to see if I can Youtube it.