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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Traditional Marriage weakened by SCOTUS ruling

English: Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, Californi...

English: Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, California Español: Manifestación por Prop 8 en Fresno, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m disappointed that the Supreme Court partially ruled against traditional marriage in their decision today. Thankfully they didn’t make a wholesale ruling in favor of so-called same-sex marriage. They still allowed for states to define marriage for themselves.

As far as California’s Prop 8 is concerned, the Court dismissed the appeal. This seems somewhat ambiguous. Prop 8 was a majority vote for an amendment to the California state constitution in favor of traditional marriage between only one man and one woman. A federal judge declared the amendment unconstitutional. The governor refused to appeal this ruling essentially thumbing their noses at the majority popular vote. Conservative groups appealed the federal lower court ruling to the Supreme Court. This appeal was dismissed.

The basis for appealing the dismissal was lack of precedent. Apparently SCOTUS hasn’t before entertained appeals of state laws that were not being defended by the state itself.

So on one hand, SCOTUS has affirmed states to determine a definition of marriage as the state sees fit. On the other hand, the Court didn’t slap down a lower federal court for dictating to California what sort of definition of marriage would be considered constitutional… Ambivalence? I would say somewhat biased toward the redefinition of marriage side.

Hopefully this decision will galvanize further action to strengthen traditional marriage. One way to do this is to sign the Manhattan Declaration.

 

Tipping Points

Supreme Court Ruling on ObamaCare

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

English: The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2010. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether the Supreme Court rules favor of keeping Obamacare or strikes it down, we need to take action on a couple of important issues.

First, we must carefully examine and plan health care policies in light of scriptural principles. One of those bedrock principles must be the sanctity of human life. Recent examples of pro-choice advocates refusing to condemn sex selective abortion highlight the need to draw a clear line of demarcation for life. Religious liberty is another necessary anchor. Forcing people to violate their consciences because of a healthcare plan is unconscionable.
Second, no matter how the justices rule on ObamaCare we need to begin to push back the amount of power that has been given over to our Supreme Court and the federal judicial system. We should put forth an amendment to the Constitution limiting the term of Supreme Court justices to 12 years. The practice that Supreme Court justices be appointed (not elected!) and then serve for 30 or 40 years completely molding the face of America in their image has allowed some to push a radical leftist agenda. This is not what our founding fathers intended. If you look at the abuses listed in the Declaration of Independence you can see that the rulings of one person or one small untouchable group of people was not the plan for our country. Our court system has become an opportunity for tyranny or as some would call it an oligarchy. We need to take back our country and set our course again by the biblical principles under which we started.
What do you think? Has Supreme Court power overgrown its intended boundaries? Would you prefer term limits, or reaffirmation votes?

2700 Pages?

Washington DC: United States Supreme Court

Washington DC: United States Supreme Court (Photo credit: wallyg)

Justice Scalia retorted “…You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages? And do you really expect the Court to do that? Or do you expect us to give this function to our law clerks? Is this not totally unrealistic? That we’re going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?” I am thankful Justice Scalia was not ready to take the Obama camp’s arguments hook, line, and sinker. In fact, he showed indignation at being asked to review the 2700 pages of law presumably to consider each point for approval. Even Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat leadership was unwilling to read the prodigious bill before it was passed. Here is a video clip of her stating “But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it…”

It’s ironic on many levels but the best walk away from this is that Congress has no place passing any kind of legislation with 2000+ pages. Unscrupulous lawmakers can hide any number of provisions in there that now have to be weeded out. The Supreme Court has no responsible choice but to strike down the whole omnibus bill. If liberals want to push their socialist agenda on America they need to attempt to do it in reasonable steps. So people can actually look at things and make intelligent decisions. Perhaps this is the reason why the burgeoning ObamaCare bill was passed in this way to begin with. Read the transcripts of the Supreme Court oral arguments yourself here.

We have to repeal ObamaCare and preserve the limited government laid out in our founding documents.

Reining in the Judiciary

I recently completed a DVD series entitled “Citizen’s Guide to America’s Founding Documents“. I am encouraging my colleagues to watch and discuss the series as well.

One of the points which I have found most interesting about this course is the discussion of the federal judiciary. The judiciary is actually the smallest and least significant part of the federal government. If you look at the actual text of the Constitution there are something like 53 clauses which describe the function of the legislative branch. There are about 18 clauses that describe the function of the executive branch, but only about 6 clauses that discuss the function and form of the judicial branch. So even the weighting of attention given in the Constitution demonstrates the relative size, strength, and importance of the three branches.

The judicial branch would like us to believe that they are an equal and equally powerful part of the federal government but if you read the Federalist Papers you can see that the founding fathers saw that the legislative branch should be the dominant branch and the judicial branch would pose no threat to the freedom of the people. Unfortunately starting with Marbury versus Madison, then the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court has attempted to assert its will over both the executive and the legislative branches. The Constitution calls only for a Supreme Court, not for all the lower federal courts. The fact is that Congress has the power to decide how long the Supreme Court can meet, how many members should be on the Supreme Court, and can eliminate all the federal appellate courts, circuit courts, etc., except for the actual Supreme Court.

I for one see that the current low state of our nation has been hastened by a tyranny of unelected “lifetime” appointment judges. It is time for us to put them in their place by either having the legislature exercise its true authority over the judicial branch, or by amending the constitution to require judges to undergo affirming and reaffirming votes by the people or by Congress once ever ten years. As far as I’ve heard, Newt Gingrich is the only 2012 candidate that has brought up this topic. He was soundly attacked in the media notwithstanding the fact that he was citing Constitution chapter and verse. Click this link for his white paper on the subject.

Getting the Bible Back into the Classroom

KJV BibleThe WallBuilders Live! broadcast this Thursday, 1/19/2012 highlighted the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS)program. This is a curriculum that teaches the Bible as a historical and literary text. The program draws connections with the Constitution, presidential inaugural addresses, the conflict in the Middle East, and a host of literary allusions and idioms that originate from the Bible. There is an electronic version which provides wider access to students. The classes already are in place in nearly 600 school districts, over 2,000 schools, and over 500,000 students have been through the class in the last 15 years. NCBCPS has a package for presenting to your local school board to get this for credit class into your high school or junior high. You can request a package on their website.

Some people might wonder if this is illegal in light of the wrong-headed Supreme Court opinion of 1963. NCBCPS deals with the legal question on the website. The fact is that within that opinion Supreme Court Justice Clark supported the use of the Bible as a literary and historical source:

“It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literacy and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”

School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203,225 (1963)