Current Affairs

Supreme Court justice Scalia slams ‘extreme’ verdict on same-sex marriage

Nick Duffy September 23, 2015
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Ultra-conservative US Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia has once again poured scorn on his fellow justices, for ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

In June this year, the highest court in the US found in favour of a number of same-sex couples in Obergefell v Hodges.

In a 5-4 verdict, the justices ruled that all 50 states must allow same-sex marriage under the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which states citizens must be treated equality .

However, four justices dissented from the ruling, with ultra-conservative Justice Scalia penning a scathing dissent attacking the decision and his colleagues.

Months later, he has brought the issue up again – telling students at Rhodes College, Tennessee that the decision was “extreme”.

He said: “[It’s] the furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants.

“Saying that the Constitution requires that practice, which is contrary to the religious beliefs of many of our citizens, I don’t know how you can get more extreme than that.

“I worry about a Court that’s headed in that direction.”

Of his fellow justices’ interpretations of the Constitution, he remarked:  “I don’t know why you think it’s always good, unless you’re an anarchist… do you really want your judges to rewrite the Constitution?”

In his formal dissent from the ruling in June, Scalia wrote that 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. ”

Labelling the ruling a “judicial Putsch”, he wrote: “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.”

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.”

Related topics: Antonin Scalia, civil partnership, civil union, equal marriage, Gay, gay weddings, Law, lesbian, lesbian wedding, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, Politics, same sex weddings, supreme court, Union, US, wedding

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