Gone but not forgotten, his ideological decisions destined to keep the “right” people feeling safe in their homes and on Rodeo Drive, we just celebrated the 6th year of Antonin Scalia’s passing a couple of weeks ago. I remember when I heard the news that he had died in Marfa, Texas I wondered if he was another victim of Dick Cheney’s friendly fire. Being reminded of his passing, 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. In fairness, 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.
At the time of his passing, I’m sure that all of the smart money was on his best friend on the court Justice Ginsberg being the first to go. Justice Ginsberg was 83 and barely able to keep herself awake during the first few minutes of the State of The Union address that year. Not that being put to sleep by a State of the Union address is any indicator of vitality, it’s just that Justice Ginsberg looked so weak at the time that it was a shock that Scalia preceded her. Her frailty and Scalia’s passing 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.
Justice Scalia 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 even 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 disdain for the Declaration of Independence. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” were 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. Uncle Clarence would just point at Scalia and say, “what he said”.
Thomas has since aligned with the other really 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, they are now a 7-2 advantage. 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.
Sadly, my research didn’t uncover whether Scalia kicked puppies or not, so the jury is still out on that one.