Sunday, February 14, 2016

Scalia croaks and I get to be glad

"There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well." — Antonin Scalia 

YESTERDAY Paul called me from the checkout line to tell me that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had gone on to present his case to the big judge in the sky. Actually, I don't believe in a big judge in the sky, but nevertheless, Paul was confident the news of his death would brighten my day. 

I immediately posted an alert on Facebook. Many people whooped, but some people scolded me, albeit gently, for "celebrating" his death.

I'm of the opinion that everybody gets to feel how they want about it. 

To those who believe I'm being unkind, ask yourself: Did you think it was a good thing when Osama bin Laden or any other malevolent force in the world bit the dust? 

If so, you don't actually believe that being relieved, perhaps even glad, when someone dies is wrong, as a moral absolute. You just think you should be the one who gets to decide which ones we're better off without.

A pair of comments seem too trenchant not to share. Lynda Blackburn said, "Why do people get so up in arms if others don't weep over someone's death? Death is inevitable; none of us survive it. He had a long life, and other than family and a few close friends, who will miss him? Certainly not the millions of people affected by his decisions. I'd say he's getting more respect than he ever gave anyone else."

And a FB friend of Galen Brooks, Courtnee Fallon Rex said, "Everyone dies, people. Dude kicked it sleeping in his bed after a lifetime of service to hatred and cruelty and abuse of power, and the seat he leaves matters. There is a reason you feel joyous or satisfied or relieved or excited right now, and it has nothing to do with some kinda random unspoken rule that you aren't allowed to continue to feel a way about a person after they're no longer the person they always were." 

And who he was, was an intolerant theocrat who thought that it was perfectly fine to hate people. In reference to gay people he said, "One could consider certain conduct reprehensible . . . and could exhibit even animus toward such conduct." 

Well, there you have it! I thought his conduct was often "reprehensible", so no, I don't feel sad he's dead. I'll even own up to animus. But don't blame me. He's the one who said it's okay. Permission granted by the man himself. 

Below are just some of Scalia's mean-spirited opinions as compiled by Elisha Fieldstadt from NBC News.

On Gay Rights:
From the point that the Supreme Court first ruled in favor of gay rights in 1996, when the majority ruled that states could ban discriminatory acts against gay people, Scalia's opinion on the subject had some cringing.

"Of course, it is our moral heritage that one should not hate any human being or class of human beings. But I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible — murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals — and could exhibit even 'animus' toward such conduct," Scalia wrote in his dissent.

While speaking at Princeton in 2012, Scalia was asked by a student why he would compare laws banning homosexuality with laws against murder.

"It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the 'reduction to the absurd,'" Scalia answered. "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?"

"I'm surprised you aren't persuaded," Scalia told the student, who identifies as gay.

Also in 2012, Scalia said homosexuality should be illegal because it had been a crime for so long. "Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," he said.

On Affirmative Action:
In December 2015, when the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case about race-based admissions, Scalia suggested African-American students might fare better in a "slower-track school" rather than more competitive colleges.

"There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well," Scalia said

The comments were called "racist," "disgusting" and "insulting."

On Immigration:
In 2012, the Supreme Court struck down some provisions of a controversial Arizona immigration law.

Scalia argued in his dissent that states, in the 18th century, were able to decide what to do with "unwanted immigrants," including freed slaves.

"In the first 100 years of the Republic, the States enacted numerous laws restricting the immigration of certain classes of aliens, including convicted criminals, indigents, persons with contagious diseases, and (in Southern States) freed blacks," Scalia wrote.

"State laws not only provided for the removal of unwanted immigrants but also imposed penalties on unlawfully present aliens and those who aided their immigration," Scalia argued.

On Gun Control:
Shortly after 12 people were killed in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, Scalia was asked on Fox News whether the Second Amendment allows for any sort of restrictions on gun rights.

"Obviously, the amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried. It's to keep and bear. So, it doesn't apply to cannons," Scalia said.

"But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes," he said, adding that whether or not Americans could carry such weapons was open to interpretation. "That will have to be — it will have to be decided," he said.

On Gender Discrimination:
While speaking at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in 2010, Scalia said the Constitution didn't specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

"If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, you have legislatures," he said.

On the Death Penalty:
In a dissent to a case when the Supreme Court decided that killers who committed their crimes when they were 16 or 17 years of age could not be executed, Scalia wrote in his dissent: "The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation's moral standards — and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures."


  1. I'd have been happier if he'd just quit or retired but he died - or as I just read, was murdered in 'the same way Obama killed his 2 gay lovers'. (Really, this is a thing.) Whether we're happy about it or not doesn't change the fact that he's dead and a battle has already begun with the GOP trying to block an appointment no matter who it is. Their oath to 'preserve and protect' means nothing. Who cares what WE think when those we are paying, refuse to do their jobs.