Monday, February 22, 2016

The New Yorker: Scalia made democracy less admirable, America less tolerant

Editor's note - I am posting later than I usually do this morning because I am also fighting a serious cold. Bear with me.

The death of SCOTUS justice Antonin Scalia has led to a lot of outpouring of wonderful accolades for the man. Certainly, Scalia deserves these accolades. But they don't tell the true story of Scalia's tenure on the Supreme Court. In all honest, he was not a popular or liked figure and for good reason. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal senior analyst, can put it better than I:

Antonin Scalia, who died this month, after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed. Belligerent with his colleagues, dismissive of his critics, nostalgic for a world where outsiders knew their place and stayed there, Scalia represents a perfect model for everything that President Obama should avoid in a successor.

 . . .  His revulsion toward homosexuality, a touchstone of his world view, appeared straight out of his sheltered, nineteen-forties boyhood. When, in 2003, the Court ruled that gay people could no longer be thrown in prison for having consensual sex, Scalia dissented, and wrote, “Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.” He went on, “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a life style that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

Check out Toobin's entire piece here in The New Yorker.

1 comment:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I am not signing on with the accolades. The man deserves none. That his angry dissents weren't boring legalese hardly recommends them, certainly not for compassion or even consistency. Scalia built his judicial philosophy around his prejudices and hid that behind a self-righteous ism.