Scalia started off telling how he was watching a television commentary on a Court decision:
And it struck me how irrelevant it was, how much the point had been missed. The question wasn’t whether the call was right or wrong. The important question was who should make the call.
That's it.... Who should make the call.
Scalia thinks that many issues argued before judges today should be argued in the legislatures instead. Think: all of the contentious social issues. Legislature.
The battles over judicial nominations would not be so serious, if the court(s)hadn't usurped powers they shouldn't have.
You should watch the speech here. (Search is in orange letters at the top, Search "Scalia" )Prestopundit (3/15) has summarized several key points:
If we're picking people to draw out of their own conscience and experience a 'new' Constitution, we should not look principally for good lawyers. We should look to people who agree with us .. When we are in that mode, you realize we have rendered the Constitution useless.
Scalia on Republican politician Earl Warren:
You have a chief justice who was a governor, a policy-maker, who approached the law with that frame of mind. Once you have a leader with that mentality, it's hard not to follow.
Scalia on the "flexibility" of a Constitution in shreds:
If you think aficionados of a "living Constitution" want to bring you flexibility, think again. You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That's flexibility. Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?
(More Scalia) Quotable:
So it is literally true -- and I don't think this is an exaggeration -- that the court has essentially liberated itself from the text of the constitution. From the text and even from the traditions of the American people.
In addition to being passionate about the subject, Scalia was also rather funny ..... something not expected from judges... I know the feeling as a CPA....
Deriding the "Living Constitution", Scalia jokingly said
The Living Constitution judge is a happy fellow. He comes home at night and his wife says, "Dear, did you have a good day on the bench?" "Oh, yes. We had a constitutional case today. And you know what? The Constitution meant exactly what I thought it ought to mean!"
Well of course it does, because that’s your only criterion. That’s a very seductive philosophy. So it’s no surprise that it should take the society by storm. And it is the same thing for the man or woman in the street: to know that everything you care passionately about, whether it’s abortion or suicide, or whatever you care passionately about, it’s there in the Constitution. What a happy feeling. That’s what causes it. And that’s what makes it hard to call the society back from it. It’s tough medicine.
Brickbat to slow readers: Scalia is not big on the "Living constitution".
The Constitution's a document. It says what it says. And it still means what it meant when they wrote it...
Another funny moment: During the speech (remember now, the subject is "Constitutional Interpretation") Scalia said the doctrine of "Substantive Due Process" was a step on the way to the Living Constitution.... He's not big on finding rights that were never there before. (Legislate them the old fashioned way)
Later, Well, during the question and answers, an audience member (perhaps a lawyer or law student) asked his prepared question that would sucker the Justice right to the desired Living-Constitution conclusion....
Doesn’t substantive due process [lead to my desired conclusion]?Scalia didn't fall for it. He looked at the guy, smiled that he hadn't listend to the speech carefully enough and gave him both barrels:
Oh, substantive due process does. I thought I made it clear I don’t believe in substantive due process.
And then, a final laugh, buried in the speech somewhere... why should the Supreme Court have to hear a case that merely involves the ... get this.... the paint job on a BMW...... a paint job is Supreme Court material....!!
Scalia and Thomas. My favorite team.
Either one for Chief Justice.