Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Day Justice Was Released from Captivity...

Let us dispense with the myth that Supreme Court Justice Scalia was some champion of the Constitution that didn't play politics, some defender of freedom and some constitutional purist.


First, Scalia was as political as any of these justices can be, with the possible exception of Justice Thomas who is, quite frankly, possibly the MOST politically motivated justice on the bench. He was the darling of the right wing and will forever be linked to the right wing politics he unapologetically embraced and that clearly influenced his decisions.

Second, the only freedoms he defended were of the religious right, the gun nuts and his rich buddies. The constitution was clearly written by rich white religious God fearing and gun toting men... And it was their freedoms with which he concerned himself and everybody else be damned. Women, the poor, the unjustly convicted, the LGBT, minorities... Well... Basically anybody that was not a rich white religious God fearing and gun toting male... Could go to hell. Freedom was never a part of this man's idea of justice and it is delusional to argue otherwise.

Finally, let us dispense with the myth that he was a constitutional purist. 

There are, of course, two schools of thought here. The first says the Constitution was written 250+ years ago and they said what they said and meant what they meant and we are to interpret the literal letter of the Constitution rather than the spirit of the Constitution. For these people we have a right to own ANY weapon but not a right to healthcare and an unborn fetus has more rights than a tax paying gay man. Try explaining that "arms" to George Washington was a single load musket that was tedious to load and often misfired and not an automatic assault rifle and they will argue it doesn't matter because it says it therefore it us and then argue that we do not have a constitutionally protected right to be sure our children are educated, fed, housed and healthy.

The second school of thought says that men that thought slavery was permissible, women were property and couldn't vote and died from tooth infections shouldn't have the final word on moral and social issues in an ever changing world that they could never foresee. The world changes and the Constitution, like our nation, is a living organism that changes and adapts. There are outside influences that affect the Constitution and they cannot be discounted.

Now the myth goes that Justice Scalia was a straight shooter and a constitutional purist and he interpreted the Constitution literally. Old school, that one. Nothing outside of the Constitution affected his decisions, no Siree!

Here's the problem... It's Bullshit.

Scalia allowed his politics, his personal antiquated views and most importantly his religion to affect his decisions. Americans fear Sharia Law without understanding what it is. Sharia Law is when religion (specifically Islam) affects and decides law. America, thanks to justices like Scalia, has its own form of of sharia law. Make no mistake, Scalia was a Catholic first and foremost and if the Constitution and his Catholicism disagreed he would go to world class gymnastic reaches and twists of logic and reason in order to make the Constitution agree with his religious views. Scalia was no constitutional purist it was just that what he used as outside forces to affect his decisions was ok with the right wing because it matched their views.

An unquestionably influential justice died this week. In that regard he was a great justice merely from an historical sense, not in whether he was right or wrong. History will determine where he stands in the grand story of the highest court of the land. Chances are, however, that our grand children will look back and see just another radical on the wrong side of history.



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