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Posted by on Mar 2, 2013 in Featured, Law, Politics, Society | 13 comments

Scalia Prefers Any Century to This One

John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune

The nation’s life today is being shaped less by elected politicians in the headlines than a 76-year-old man who prefers any other century to this one.

Antonin Gregory Scalia is the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court and, without doubt, the most aggressively backward-looking ever.

After turning the history of the Second Amendment on its head five years ago to restore a gun-crazy America of the old Wild West, he is now embarked on dismantling a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act as a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

If last November’s presidential election had gone the other way, Scalia would now be one obituary away from overturning legalized abortion as well as weakening the rights of anyone other than old white men.

In 2000, the Reagan appointee was joined by his Bush I echo Clarence Thomas in handing the White House to Bush II.

In 2008, Scalia’s deciding vote turned the Second Amendment on its head, reversing almost a century of legal interpretation that the “right to bear arms” was not meant for individuals.

His arrogance shines through again in this week’s assertion that Congress’ almost unanimous re-approval of minority voting rights in Southern states is more an entitlement than a protection against exclusion.


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  • ShannonLeee

    Antonin Gregory Scalia = Archibald “Archie” Bunker

  • zephyr

    Some people really, really need to be put out to pasture. Scalia is high on the list.

  • KP

    Would Scalia’s positions be more or less tolerable if he were 52 years old and female, like Kagan? I wonder, because his age and sex are mentioned.

  • brcarthey

    @KP, I think his age is mentioned as a subtle way to excuse some of his statements by implying he came of age in another time when many of his statements would have caused few people to think twice.

    However, more to the point of the article I’m not sure he’d have preferred any time before WWI. When Italians started coming to America in huge numbers in the late 19th century, they were somewhere on the bottom rungs of society alongside the Irish. Many even came here “illegally” (*gasp*) to Ellis Island. One derogatory term used to describe many of those immigrants was actually an acronym of the phrase, “With Out Papers” that stuck for a very long time along with a few others. So, I think the time Scalia truly misses is a very narrow time in our recent past when the troops were coming home from Germany and Japan through to Elvis just coming on the scene, Hank Williams, Sr. was the king of country music, and “I Love Lucy” was one of the top-rated shows. Come to think of it, that seems to be a common trend among more fringed conservatives lately. It’s like there’s some massive group-think among them wishing for a time when most movies were still shot in black and white.

    Based on Scalia’s temperament and penchant for saying controversial things, it honestly would not shock me if he were to say that be believes the SCOTUS should think about re-examining Brown v. Board of Education (as it pertains to states’ rights) or that black people should be thankful they were ever allowed out of from the back of the bus. I may not agree with conservatives politically or socially, but I can at least respect their views and have reasoned debates. Bigots give me pause as to whether I should offer them any such quarter.

  • Ageism aside, doesn’t it seem odd that written into federal law is a permanent punishment of certain geographic regions because of crimes committed over 50 yrs ago? That’ what that portion of the Voting Rights Act is, and it certainly seems unfair. How many other laws specify that “Party X must continue to be punished in this fashion.” Basically its using the legislature to ascertain guilt & punishment which should be a court’s responsibility. It’s adjudicating from the Congress (as compared to legislating from the Bench).

    Seems to me that’s not right. Instead the law should have voting rights protections across the entire country, and it’s up to the court system to determine compliance. That would be better and fairer. In the last cycle, for example, it was northern states who tried to monkey with voting rights under the guise of “fraud”, yet they don’t have the same oversight these other areas do.

    That part of the VRA. No matter how well-intentioned, just doesn’t pass the fairness test IMO.

  • The_Ohioan

    It’s more a permanent oversight by the DOJ to preclear any changes the affected civil entities wish to make in changing their laws. All voting districts are subject to the Voting Rights Act no matter where they exist. The original legislation requirements for preclearance only affected those areas that had used a “device” to limit voting rights (read literacy tests, which have been permanently banned everywhere) and had a less than 50% voter registration in the 1960 and 1964 elections (as a result of such devices). Those entities that can prove they no longer limit voters can “bail out” of the preclearance provisions by a declaratory judgment from the District Court for the District of Columbia.

    The Brennan Center for Justice has certainly produced enough information recently to indicate that the DOJ should be looking closely at many states’ laws which deny qualified voters the right to vote.

  • The_Ohioan

    Off Topic (but seemed to fit this thread best) – Today is the 100th anniversary of the March 3, 1913 Women’s Suffrage March.

    Women marching in the Washington parade were physically assaulted, spit on, hit, and heckled by spectators. Accounts detailed police ignoring edicts from Major Richard Sylvester, D.C.’s Chief of Police, who gave orders to protect those marching. Men who supported the movement were targeted as well. A report from Major General Anson Mills, who marched with some of his men, said in a New York Times article, “Crowds of hoodlums sneered at my division in the parade and made insulting remarks. The police made no effort to rebuke them. They were ruffians whom I had never seen before and who seemed to be strangers. I think they were Baltimore hoodlums. They charged us with being henpecked. They indicated their determination to send us home by breaking up the parade. The crowd was lolous [sic] and made vicious attempts to break up the ranks of the marchers, with practically no interference from the police.”

    Women who were arrested then were abused while in jails and denigrated in the streets. They were the precursors tof the civil rights non-violence marchers. Just sayin’.

  • ShannonLeee

    50 years ago is only a couple of generations. Ignorance takes a little more time to die off.

  • dduck

    Not so subtle mention of age by the writer, although if he is also over 75 then we could ignore his opinions.

    Perhaps Scalia could resign and start an Italian restaurant called Judge Tony’s serving only old white guys. Buona notte.

  • petew

    The specific and contested section of the voting rights act is still pertinent today—considering that several southern states (as well as those in other locations)did try to change many of the laws involving fair voting in those States. Without the quick legal challenges provided by this provision, it may have taken much more time to sort out and resolve various breaches in the law in contested political contests. Similarly, any future conflicts may take up the limited time of the Courts, and many decisions may have to be delayed for a long time—all of this (in the meantime)potentially affecting the voting process in many States.

    If anything, judging from all the voter suppression drives attempted in the South as well as the North, it would be much more practical to have this provision in place to produce quick decisions and timely results.

    Sorry if still in the dark about the brazen attempts at voter suppression that had to be quelled legally in many of our states. It is not a false issue. Voting rights are completely guaranteed as Constitutional rights in several amendments of the Constitution. This means that ANY monetary charges involved in securing photo IDs (including paying to fix or provide any prerequisite documents)is unconstitutional. It also means that any unusual impediments to ANY American voter are not constitutional either.

    To think that State provisions intended to eliminate early voting—thus creating waiting lines that take hours to traverse on voting day—or using bogus methods to remove people from voting rolls unjustly, or partaking in transparent attempts to gerrymander districts in ways that alter voting outcomes (either by Democrats or Republicans) might be allowed, is unconscionable! It would be much better to enable the courts to quickly resolve such matter by continuing use of the provision in question.

    Despite the fact that Republican have attempted to justify their transgressions against American voters by creating a virtually non-existing problem of voter impersonation violations,in this last election cycle, the GOP attempted to blame it all on picky Democrats. This matter is not anywhere near being equivalent to the mere requirement to get a fishing licenses or a library cards. Only the right to vote has a direct effect on the composition of who fills our local State and Federal offices in the government, and therefore which laws are created to influence ANY part of our lives! Fraud has always existed, but, it has never involved heavy use of voter impersonation, and that is the self-perceived assumption of Republicans, in States strongly controlled by Republican legislatures and run by Republican Governors, which they insist justifies their meddling with the voting process. In this case it is really Republicans who attempted to commit massive fraud by creating a problem which they attributed to Democrats.

    I think it is much better to leave provision 5 of the law intact, instead of tying up the Courts with long lived decisions in transparent cases of real voting fraud!

    The most anyone can say about Scalia, is that he acts with a large amount of eccentricity, however, that is a quality which is doubtful to help in the establishment of real and appropriate justice!

  • petew

    I should have referred to Barky, not brcarthey. I also think all states should have to clear changes in voting procedures with the government, because plenty of Northern States (some of which I believe were not required an OK from the government) were involved in voter suppression efforts last November. and because this would streamline the process.

  • KP

    I imagine the antipasto salad would be great at “Tony’s”. I wonder if Tony runs with any my people, the Irish, so we could get a pint of black and tan?!

    Crap, those old, white euros know nothing. How are we going to be rid of them?! Woodward is 69 and Hilarey is 69! That makes Hilary and Tony dumb and dumber. We got a problem. Here is how confusing it can get with these old eruos descendants.

  • The_Ohioan

    Yeah, if we can keep Scalia alive long enough, and get another Republican president to replace Ginsberg and Breyer with another Thomas, maybe the entire “New Deal” can be dismantled.

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