I saw Justice Antonin Scalia for the first time while I was watching an excellent documentary called ETHICS IN AMERICA. I highly recommend that everyone take the time to watch this incredible series. It will, without a doubt, make you think long and hard about what you consider right and wrong. During the intro to each of the ten 1-hour videos, Justice Scalia says, "We do not all start on an even playing field... but we are all expected to play by the rules of honesty and ethics." He gave me the distinct impression that he put a great deal of thought into his answers and responses, and I have considered him honest and ethical ever since.
Almost everyone knows that I have very little respect for the Supreme Court in general, however Justice Scalia has always been my favorite. He is well known for his clearly stated, sometimes harshly worded, opinions. He didn't hesitate to say exactly what he thought. I didn't always agree with him, but there was never any doubt where he stood on any issue.
Naturally, as a strong Second Amendment supporter, I admire his politically incorrect decision in Heller v Washington DC, which is supposed to be the first Second Amendment argument before the Supreme Court since 1968. Scalia says, "Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right." He also says, "Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct."
Needless to say, I would have hugged this man enthusiastically if I had ever met him face to face. I must confess that there were still an issue or two that I would have felt obligated to debate him on. In 2003, in Lawrence v Texas, the Supreme Court Struck down an anti-sodomy law in Texas. In his dissent, Scalia said that the decision was the "product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda." Then, he went on to say that the decision essentially ended a practice of passing "moral legislation." How many times have I heard (or said) "You can't legislate morality"? The LAST thing I want government doing is passing laws because a subset of the population is trying to legally enforce their interpretation of morality.
However, in spite of the few disagreements I might have had with him, Justice Scalia was always professional, courteous, and personable. I am genuinely saddened to learn of his unexpected death. I extend my sympathy to his family, friends, and associates.
Now I am concerned about who will take his seat on the bench. I certainly don't want our sitting president making appointments to the highest court in the United States. I'm fairly sure that a Republican Senate will veto anyone proposed before the next election. However, I am still mildly traumatized by the appointment of Justice Sotomayor to the federal bench. While watching her confirmation hearing she was asked for her position on private property rights. Her response (as I remember it) was, "You don't have any." If the next person elevated to the Supreme Court holds the same ideology, this country is in serious, serious, trouble.
Anyone with an opinion is invited to include it at the end of this newsletter.