Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Misses the Point

Posted In: Politics, National, Opinion,   From Issue 661   By: Review Magazine

22nd May, 2008     0

Dear Editor;

USA. TODAY ran an interview with Judge Antonin Scalia, a Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Subsequent to the article, Justice Scalia has been doing interviews on national news programs. This appears to be as a result of him promoting his latest book.   

Judge Scalia has been touting his theory that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document, but that Judges should interpret the Constitution based on the intention of when it was written in the 18th Century.    

This, in my opinion, is utter nonsense. For if we are to interpret the Constitution as it was written in the 18th Century, then only white men who own property would have the right to vote; women would not be able to vote or run for office; Blacks would not be able to be citizens; local authorities could shackle prisoners and put them in stockades and parade them in front of the public, just to name a few.      

The U.S. Constitution is a living & breathing document. It was written with enough ambiguity so that it would flow with society as norms & morals change. It is not a stagnant piece of paper to be interpreted literally as it was written in the 18th Century. That is the beauty of the Constitution, since it can be interpreted in today's society, not as it was back in the 18th Century.       

For example, back in the 18th Century, the notion that 'All men are created equal' meant white males. That is not the case today as it pertains to mankind, which would include women, blacks and Hispanics. Thus, Justice Scalia's interpretation is out of date, as well as his ideas.       

He claims to be the son of a Sicilian father who came to the U.S. as a teenager, knowing little English. My father came from Italy when he was 16-years old without any knowledge of English and he became a boxing promoter as well as owner of a restaurant. He was able to help other individuals who were not as fortunate by providing them jobs & opportunities. My father would be aghast at another Italian speaking the way Justice Scalia is speaking.       

Scalia also indicates that torture of a detainee could be justified. In no uncertain terms can torture be justified as it has constantly been found to be true that torture does not result in getting accurate information, as well as the fact that it brings us down to the level of our enemies. The United States has lost its moral high ground due to attitudes such as Justice Scalia regarding to detainees and human rights. 

In the article, it quotes another fellow conservative U.S. Appellate Judge Alex Kozinksi saying that times are changing and people are listening to Scalia and that more individuals are following his ideology. Heaven help us if this is so, for if it were there would be no civil rights movement, no women's rights movement, no gay rights movement, and all the advances we have made as a society would be turned back 200 years. Such cannot be allowed to happen.    

The U.S. Constitution has survived over 200 years with limited amount of amendments because of its restriction on the Government, on what it can do to the People. It is not being interpreted by some such as Scalia as it should be interpreted.     

In point of fact, some Justices like Scalia allow the Executive Branch, to wit; the Presidency, to trample on the Constitution by allowing the present Administration to run amok without any checks & balances as our founding fathers demanded there should be.      

With Justices like Scalia on the side of the Administration and with their conservative attitudes, the American individual should be afraid, should be very afraid of their own liberty & rights, because they are being trampled upon by the likes of Justice Scalia and the present Bush Administration.

James F. Piazza
Attorney at Law
Saginaw

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