Clarence Darrow famously said, “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”
This is one of those times.
I won’t pretend to be saddened by the news that Antonin Scalia has died. I will not mourn someone who actively used the power of his position to deprive me of my civil rights, who equated me to a murderer and animal abuser and who reduced my loving relationships to nothing but sex.
I am sorry for those who will mourn him and feel for his family in their time of loss. However, I believe our highest court and our nation is better off without him.
I could fill this blog with nasty quotes (or these) from him on all manner of issues beyond those of homosexuality and marriage equality. Remember, this is the justice who wanted to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision on women’s rights to privacy and he dissented on the decision that it was unconstitutional to execute mentally disabled or teenage prisoners, among many others.
Instead, I want to remind folks that Justice Scalia’s approach to reaching his decisions was an originalist. This is the view that says there is an identifiable original intent or original meaning, commonly known at the time of passage or ratification, which governs all subsequent interpretation of the law.
However, before even 24 hours had passed after the news broke of his death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, “This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
This, of course, the same guy in 2005 who defended the absolute right of Presidents to nominate judges and even went so far as to say, “For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.'”
From the New York Times:
“The question now is whether the Senate will honor Justice Scalia’s originalist view of the Constitution by allowing President Obama to appoint a successor, and providing its advice and consent in good faith. Or will the Republicans be willing to create a constitutional crisis and usurp the authority of the president to ensure that the Supreme Court functions as one branch of this government?”
As Hilliary Clinton said, “The Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail who are calling for Justice Scalia’s seat to remain vacant dishonor our Constitution. The Senate has a constitutional responsibility here that it cannot abdicate for partisan political reasons.”
I think that Scalia would be forced to agree.