In Conversation: Antonin Scalia

English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

I found some fascinating comments in an interview with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

On original intent:

…What I do wish is that we [the Supreme Court justices] were in agreement on the basic question of what we think we’re doing when we interpret the Constitution. I mean, that’s sort of rudimentary. It’s sort of an embarrassment, really, that we’re not. But some people think our job is to keep it up to date, give new meaning to whatever phrases it has. And others think it’s to give it the meaning the people ratified when they adopted it. Those are quite different views….

On racial vs sexual discrimination:

…there are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently. I don’t think anybody would deny that. And there really is no, virtually no, intelligent reason to treat people differently on the basis of their skin….

In response to a question about his favorite radio show:

…You know who my favorite is? My good friend Bill Bennett. He’s off the air by the time I’m driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I’m shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It’s very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people….

On the coarsening of our culture:

…One of the things that upsets me about modern society is the coarseness of manners. You can’t go to a movie—or watch a television show for that matter—without hearing the constant use of the F-word—including, you know, ladies using it. People that I know don’t talk like that! But if you portray it a lot, the society’s going to become that way. It’s very sad.

And you can’t have a movie or a television show without a nude sex scene, very often having no relation to the plot. I don’t mind it when it is essential to the plot, as it sometimes is. But, my goodness! The society that watches that becomes a coarse society….

Regarding homosexuality and the recent DOMA case:

… [Interviewer] In Lawrence v. Texas, you said Americans were within their rights in “protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
I would write that again. But that’s not saying that I personally think it’s destructive. Americans have a right to feel that way. They have a democratic right to do that, and if it is to change, it should change democratically, and not at the ukase [decree] of a Supreme Court….

It was quite a lengthy and interesting article. Here’s a link to it: In Conversation: Antonin Scalia.

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