Last Friday evening or early Saturday morning,supreme court justice Antonin Scalia died.Indisputably the foremost adherent to and definer of strict constructionist thought Scalia turned the supreme court away from constitutional “progressivism”(a living document)and the interpretation of legislation as an expression of the will of the legislators, to the strict meaning of the words when written.He was not popular within the court because he was combative and acerbic but his was a soaring intellect that shone both in writing majority decisions and in dissent.
We have spoken of him in this blog.(Yale Law School honoring 4 justices and his defense of limiting minority aspiration to less arduous channels.)Despite being a graduate of Harvard law he admitted being intimidated by the WASP power elite who denied him Princeton undergraduate access.The son of ambitious and successful immigrants he needed to be constantly on the alert and prepared to deal with challenge.He shaped the rhetoric and strategy of conservative republican thought,in my view,more than any other.
Now the nonsense begins.”no nomination should be made…it is a dishonor…” the presidency is not a three year responsibility and the president has the obligation to propose a nominee to the court.It is unlikely that the nominee will be approved by this senate but they are obliged to consider the nomination.
The likelihood is that the politicized court will stand four to four for sometime and that some five to four decisions that are unannounced will have Scalia’s vote voided and be returned to the ruling of the referring court.The big problem for the political parties is that the political nature of the court is now exposed and the next election will produce a referendum response from the voters!(particularly since the next president will probably appoint two or three justices.)
Nino Scalia was a good friend, a brilliant man with an incomparable sense of humor, and as articulate as any Justice who ever served on the court. He has had a major impact on the development of the law, and earned the respect of all his colleagues. We will all miss him.
Reblogged this on daedal2207's Blog.
This is a highly personal event, affecting a family with unmeasurable sadness. This dictates respect for privacy whenever possible. Unfortunately, the very nature of the public persona of Justice Scalia will invite the accolades along with the criticisms. In other words, he’ll be exposed … the good with the bad.
daedal2207: “… he was combative and acerbic but his was a soaring intellect that shone both in writing majority decisions and in dissent.”
How to understand ‘a soaring intellect’ that is self-defeating? The words below are from
Scott Horton, human rights attorney and contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine. He is also a lecturer at Columbia Law School:
“… he came up with a formula that would sustain that, which was to try and freeze the country in time constitutionally at 1789, which was a framework that gave him more ballast for his arguments, but certainly didn’t help him win every case.”
“… he undermined himself with his own zeal over and over again, you know, especially in the last few years. He would attack the majority on case after case, saying X, Y, Z is consequence of their opinion, and you’ll see—and, of course, that comment was then used by district courts to sustain a more radical interpretation of the majority’s opinion, and that hastened things along, like marriage equality.”
There’s willful blindness of human condition/progress when someone, with such power, imposes 18th century mindset on a society unable to dissent. Did he read by candlelight?
daedal2207: “… he admitted being intimidated by the WASP power elite who denied him Princeton undergraduate access.”
As a result, did Scalia set out to out-WASP the WASPs? For he who lives without scars of disappointment, let him cast the first stone. In this, I’d like to quote ThomasS once again: “… those [minorities] who pull the ladder up behind them possess an exceptionally evil kind of ignorance, the kind that actually convinces them that ‘minority’ is merely pejorative, not in fact reality.” Couldn’t agree with that incisive statement more! While listening to NPR, I heard a Princeton law professor state that Scalia argued with one of his students that not standing against homosexuality had the same moral equivalency of not being against murder. Scalia’s pursuit of “purity” denied many, many others the opportunity to overcome the intimidation he felt/experienced. Eloquence, without the hint of an evolving mind for the mere wallowing in self-admired words, is shallow, insensitive and damaging.
As to the manipulation of the Constitution … well, it continues to provide plenty of fertile ground for late night comedians … our modern-day court jesters who spoke/speak the truth cloaked in … jest. Of course, now the truth is not cloaked … the emperor wears no clothes. Of “honorable mention” is HBO’s John Oliver’s 2/14/16 Last Week Tonight show (salty) opening statement. Not that the Democrats didn’t try the same thing. Bush’s Press Secretary Dana Perino argued that Schumer’s attempt to equally block her boss showed “a tremendous disrespect for the Constitution” and amounted to “blind obstructionism.” (The words sound like a Rubio loop.) Yes, Dana … and your argument now is? How about your turning to … Scalia … strict constitutionalist.
daedal2207: “… the presidency is not a three year responsibility …”
Oh, Professor Thomas, where is the shame or integrity of the opposing party, which you are exposing, in promulgating the illegal interpretation of the contract they flaunt so freely? Scalia, the letter of the law advocate. No question whatsoever about Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.
daedal2207: “The likelihood is that the politicized court will stand four to four for sometime and that some five to four decisions that are unannounced will have Scalia’s vote voided and be returned to the ruling of the referring court.”
A double-edged sword. Just ask convicted Virginia Governor McDonnell. The old adage … “Be careful what you wish for.”
daedal2207: “… the political nature of the court is now exposed …”
And, Mitch McConnell might have made a fatal error in moving his chess piece prematurely. YES! And a 24-hour cycle is an eternity! ISIL must be thrilled … the focus is not on them. What round are we in this … bloodsport? I much rather be drinking tea … no, wine!