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‘I would hide my head in a bag’: Justice Scalia pens furious dissent against same-sex marriage

Nick Duffy June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Justice Scalia penned a scathing attack on his fellow justices, as they ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

The US Supreme Court has today ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right – paving the way for weddings in all 50 states.

The highest court in the US made the 5-4 decision after hearing ‘mega-case’ Obergefell v. Hodges.

However, the court’s four most conservative justices penned dissents – with the ultra-conservative Justice Scalia penning the most venomous.

Slamming his fellow justices in a rambling dissent, he labelled the ruling a “judicial Putsch”, adding: “The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so.”

In another section, he claimed he would rather “hide my head in a bag” than support the opinion.

He said: “If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity’, I would hide my head in a bag.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie. ”

He added: “The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me.It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best.”

“But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law.

“Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its ‘reasoned judgment,’ thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect.”

He continued: “When it comes to determining the meaning of a vague constitutional provision—such as ‘due process of law’ or ‘equal protection of the laws’ — it is unquestionable that the People who ratified that provision did not understand it to prohibit a practice that remained both universal and uncontroversial in the years after ratification.

“We have no basis for striking down a practice that is not expressly prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, and that bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use dating back to the Amendment’s ratification.

“Since there is no doubt whatever that the People never decided to prohibit the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the public debate over same-sex marriage must be allowed to continue.”

More: civil partnership, civil union, equal marriage, Gay, gay weddings, lesbian, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, same sex weddings, Union, US, wedding

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