Where Have I Heard That Before

Lead wingnut on the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia compared homosexuality and murder on Monday as he argued at a Princeton seminar that elected bodies should be allowed to regulate actions they see as immoral.

“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?” Scalia said, according to The Associated Press.

***

Scalia said that while he did not believe such hyperbole was “necessary,” he did think it was “effective” in forwarding his argument that legislatures should be allowed to ban acts they believe to be immoral.

“It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,’ ” Scalia said.

First of all, homosexuality doesn’t even belong on the same continuum as murder- one is a sexual orientation, the other IS FUCKING KILLING SOMEONE. Regardless, it seems like I’ve heard some other bloated old white guy using the same excuse to say obnoxious, offensive, and simplistic things:

Knew that sounded familiar.






210 replies
  1. 1
    Legalize says:

    Yeah, reduction to the absurd is a form of argument – a fallacious form of argument.

  2. 2
    shortstop says:

    Related: Jesus, it’s unseemly for a sitting Supreme Court justice to be out shilling a book.

  3. 3
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    Why is a fucking Supreme Court justice banging on about what people are allowed to “feel”? That shithead knows full well that he and everyone else is allowed to feel whatever they like. Yes, even though it’s ridiculous and offensive, you’re allowed to feel that murderers and homosexshuls are equivalent, and Tony knows that very well.

    What you’re not allowed to do is dictate law based on your idiotic feelings. Unless, of course, you’re a Supreme Court justice.

    Oh, right. Well shit…

    ETA: Can we impeach this asshole yet? I mean, he just equated murder and being gay. If nothing else that should prove his incompetence to judge America’s Got Talent, much less the supreme law of the land.

  4. 4
    TG Chicago says:

    Why should we be able to outlaw things that some folks think are “immoral”, but cause no harm to society?

    These people revere the Founders so much, but seem to overlook the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” thing (yeah, that’s DoI, not Constitution, but still) Since gay rights clearly are part of a pursuit of some folks’ happiness and don’t infringe on anybody else’s life or liberty, there’s no reason to outlaw it — even if you find it personally “immoral”.

  5. 5
    Keith G says:

    What a hateful little man – in many ways.

  6. 6

    My favorite part of this is that when the student didn’t swallow his justification whole, Scalia said, “I’m surprised you’re not persuaded.” Fucking hell.

  7. 7
    Rafer Janders says:

    Scalia said that while he did not believe such hyperbole was “necessary,” he did think it was “effective” in forwarding his argument that legislatures should be allowed to ban acts they believe to be immoral.

    OK, fine then — let’s ban Republicanism.

  8. 8
    Sly says:

    First of all, homosexuality doesn’t even belong on the same continuum as murder- one is a sexual orientation, the other IS FUCKING KILLING SOMEONE.

    It makes sense once you fully extract morality from the realm of social consensus on the appropriateness of actions that impact the purely temporal well-being of sentient beings. And that’s practically Scalia’s specialty.

  9. 9

    …moral feelings…

    What. The fuck. Does this phrase even mean?

    Yes, clearly the Founders designed the Constitution as an instrument to amplify the peculiar biases and prejudices of an octogenarian Italian Catholic in the early 21st century.

  10. 10
    piratedan says:

    how about how we feel about judicial malpractice, like taking money from a political action group, and then not recuesing oneself from weighing in on judgement about whether that group is allowed the same rights as individuals when it comes to free speech or libel laws?

  11. 11
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Republicans have become a radical party.

    Mann and Ornstein were trying to explain this on Chuck Todd’s shitty show this afternoon, but he, and the rest of the media, refuse to accept it. Toad kept saying Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling once, completely ignoring the topic.

  12. 12
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Note to the other SCOTUS justices: if somebody finds the word xesyag written in lipstick on the bathroom door, get the hell out while you still can, before Scalia shows up with a maniacal grin on his face brandishing an axe.

    “HERE’S TONNNYYYYYY!”

  13. 13
    shortstop says:

    @ranchandsyrup: That was what passes for wit in the Scalia household.

  14. 14
    Felinious Wench says:

    If this were the case, the South would still have slavery.

  15. 15
    PeakVT says:

    Who cares what Fat Tony thinks? Any decision on the matter will be made by Kennedy and/or Roberts.

  16. 16
    Zam says:

    @TG Chicago: I think you are forgetting hating on the gays is some peoples version of pursuit of happiness, and these people just happen to be the right type of people, so their pursuit of happiness gets preference over those gross homos.

  17. 17

    @shortstop: Doesn’t that student know who Nino is? How dare he not be persuaded? Appeal to authority much?

  18. 18
    sinned34 says:

    What’s the difference between murderers and homosexuals? They allow murderers to get married in the United States.

  19. 19
    cathyx says:

    People used to think that interracial marriage was immoral.

  20. 20
    bemused says:

    Sure it’s reasonable for Scalia to equate murder and homosexuality, acts between consenting adults…oh wait.

  21. 21
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    He was saying this TO a gay freshman brave enough to challenge him. What a repulsive toadman.

  22. 22
    shortstop says:

    No, but he really is getting worse. Anecdote that is not the singular of data: I heard him speak twice, 10 years apart, the last time a year ago. He didn’t even begin to conceal his open contempt for his entire audience the second time.

  23. 23
    Rathskeller says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: Septuagenarian — he’s 76. He looks healthy to me, too, other than being overweight.

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    @cathyx: Some people still do.
    Someone should ask Scalia what the difference is.

  25. 25
    shortstop says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Dude, listen, he thought he was making a joke. I don’t know which is worse.

  26. 26
    piratedan says:

    @Hill Dweller: well he’s a good little toady and we all know who’s water Toad carries, so no surprise there. At least they (M & O) were given a forum to say what needs sayin. Not a surprise that a villager would keep his eyes closed so he could still believe that its dark outside.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    To be fair to Limbaugh (cough), I’m assuming that headline was his usual tit-for-tat “reasoning,” i.e. that if liberals were going to blame conservative babblers for Gabrielle Giffords and a dozen others being wounded and 6 people being killed by a crazy guy with a gun, then by gum Limbaugh was going to make sure that liberals were blamed for a guy killing his boss.

  28. 28

    @Rathskeller:
    My bad. For some reason I thought he had passed 80 already.

    Wishing thinking on my part, clearly.

  29. 29
    piratedan says:

    and almost as if by divine prophecy…. here’s that asteroid we’ve all been hankering for….

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50.....MeSTOS5NUg

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    Scalia should resign and enter the priesthood. There isn’t anything he says that the Pope would disagree with.

  31. 31

    @shortstop: I hear you but it blows either way. I’ve seen how Tony rolls (like you, seen him speak a couple of times and attended a dinner in his honor). He was only half joking at best.

  32. 32
    AnotherBruce says:

    “Knew that sounded familiar”

    You probably heard it in the original German.

  33. 33
    Ash Can says:

    I saw it argued elsewhere, by someone who evidently understands legal principles far better than Scalia does, that murder isn’t legislated against because of moral feelings, but because it unjustly deprives someone of something, in this case on the most fundamental basis of all. Then again, whoever said that Scalia was all that concerned about actual legal principles?

  34. 34
    shortstop says:

    @Ash Can: Shut up! Next you’ll be forcing us to buy broccoli!

  35. 35
    GregB says:

    Supreme Court Justice and America’s premier douche-bagger, Antonin Scalia has chimed in on the icky gays.

    What a lump of cynical lard.

  36. 36
    Zifnab25 says:

    Scalia said that while he did not believe such hyperbole was “necessary,” he did think it was “effective” in forwarding his argument that legislatures should be allowed to ban acts they believe to be immoral.

    Just out of curiosity, if Scalia’s rhetoric is so “effective”, why is the PPACA still law? :-p

    I’m going to call DOMA dead on a 6-3 decision. Scalia and Alito agree that butt-sexing is murder. Thomas meander on about how none of the Founding Fathers were gay married, and therefore it should be illegal.

    Meanwhile, it will occur to Kennedy that he’s really a Libertarian and doesn’t like any kind of law. John Roberts will quietly back away from the whole mess because he doesn’t want to be remembered as “One of those crazy Republican Judges”. And the Dem appointees will uniformly agree DOMA is dumb and can be abolished, then pile into the cloak room for the weekly SCOTUS Lesbian Orgy. Stephen Bryer will go down as “The man that got the most Supreme Court tail in history”, and we’ll all be married to box turtles by 2014.

  37. 37
    Chris says:

    First of all, homosexuality doesn’t even belong on the same continuum as murder- one is a sexual orientation, the other IS FUCKING KILLING SOMEONE.

    It is somewhat logical, from their point of view. If you assume that crimes are not committed against human beings but against God, and that the only real crime is to disobey your God, then disobeying him on the issue of “thou shalt not kill” isn’t really worse than disobeying him on the issue of “thou shalt not fuck a member of your gender.”

    It’s an extremely authoritarian mindset in which “morality” equals only “God’s will,” but that’s what they like.

  38. 38
    Rick Massimo says:

    Scalia said that while he did not believe such hyperbole was “necessary,” he did think it was “effective” …

    Just fking perfect.

  39. 39
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:

    As a Catholic Mr Scalia care to opine about institutionally enabled child rape. Perhaps encouraging a mild sexually deviant behavior, celibacy, it encourages a truly awful one, old men raping young children. Would that be a better example of his slippery slope argument?

  40. 40
    Hill Dweller says:

    @piratedan: It was a cursory invitation for a five minute segment. Mann and Ornstein were allowed to say a couple of things, but Todd essentially ignored everything they said. The entire thing was forgettable, because Toad just wanted them on to say he had them on.

  41. 41
    SatanicPanic says:

    This dude is so stupid it would be easy confuse him with a Republican House member.

  42. 42
    jibeaux says:

    I think it’s immoral for corporations to give unlimited amounts of money to a political figure in order to buy influence in what is supposed to be a democracy. I think it’s immoral for people to own a private residence with 10,000 square feet or more. Can we legislate that, since I think it’s immoral? Huh, that’s odd.

  43. 43

    I can’t wait for Scalia to leave the court. What a buffoon.

  44. 44
    peorgietirebiter says:

    it’s a 14th amendment issue isn’t it? Murdering a gay man isn’t any more, or less moral (in theory) than murdering a straight catholic judge is it?

  45. 45
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Scalia is a whore who wants us all to pay for his sexual hangups.

  46. 46

    @Chris:

    “thou shalt not fuck a member of your gender.”

    That must be the 11th Commandment cuz I don’t remember that being in the Bible.

    And if he’s going to use Leviticus as his argument, then Thou Shalt Not Eat Shrimp should be right up in there, too. Ban it!

  47. 47
    piratedan says:

    @Hill Dweller: still, better than nothing. Granted, you could replace Chuck Todd with a toaster and it would invite more intelligent commentary.

  48. 48
    shortstop says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: You owe us big for inspiring that imagery.

  49. 49
    Cacti says:

    So the leading intellectual light of wingnuttia admits that his reasoning is based on the fallacy of argumentum ad absurdum.

    Good thing we don’t give these yahoos lifetime appointments or anything.

  50. 50
    JWL says:

    It’s cold comfort, but Scalia will be considered a latter day Judge Taney by future generations. His tenure on the Court has already been rendered infamous, and remarks such as this merely serve to illustrate the depth of the judicial wasteland he has consistently sought to impose on the American people.

  51. 51
    jibeaux says:

    Legislators can definitely legislate on the basis of morality, provided that the laws they pass are not unconstitutional. For example, they might feel that it’s immoral to swear in front of anyone under 16 and for funsies let’s say most Americans agree with that. Oh, but wait, the first amendment doesn’t really allow that, so that would be an unconstitutional law.

    Am I seriously teaching a Supreme Court justice that a majority feeling about morality does not equal constitutionality? Please tell me I’m not.

  52. 52
    Redshift says:

    @Ash Can:

    Then again, whoever said that Scalia was all that concerned about actual legal principles?

    What, you think “originalism,” i.e. “I’m channeling the Founding Fathers, and they all agree with me” isn’t a legal principle?

  53. 53
    MTiffany71 says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    Can we impeach this asshole yet?

    Not just yet. Give his closeted clerks a couple more years of spitting in his coffee.

  54. 54
    Bruuuuce says:

    “It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known always use, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,

    FTFY

  55. 55
    lucas says:

    Ironically, Scalia was in the majority in the 1987 decision Turner v. Shafley, which found it unconstitutional to deny prison inmates the right to marry. So, according to Scalia, even the moral disapproval of murder doesn’t mean that murderers can be denied their marriage rights.

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Well, I said “from their point of view,” which doesn’t fully coincide with “what’s in the Bible.” As with the Constitution, the groupthink interpretation promoted by their gurus of “what God/the Founding Fathers REALLY WANTED” matters more than the actual text. (Abortion is an even better example, as there’s nothing at all in the Bible saying that it’s the destruction of a human life).

    You’re right, by the way. No one has ever coherently explained to me how you’re supposed to decide which laws are still applicable and which ones aren’t. I doubt anyone ever will.

  57. 57
    Ash Can says:

    Moreover, Scalia can take his “moral feelings” and shove them straight up his ample ass. Everybody and his sister-in-law has moral feelings — THAT’S WHY WE HAVE LAWS, Scalia, you fuckwit. The moral feelings of any given group of people are going to be all over the map. Laws are devised to foster the communal good that some of those feelings do and to keep the negative ramifications of others the hell in check. What would St. Ayn of the Holy Individual say if she heard Tony advocating for legislating morality like this?

  58. 58
    Cacti says:

    @jibeaux:

    Am I seriously teaching a Supreme Court justice that a majority feeling about morality does not equal constitutionality? Please tell me I’m not.

    During the Obamacare hearing, Alito didn’t understand the concept of risk pooling as the basis of insurance. Ginsberg had to explain it to him during oral argument.

  59. 59
    kc says:

    What a repugnant bastard Scalia is.

  60. 60
    Heliopause says:

    Attention, Justice Scalia…14th Amendment on line one…

  61. 61
    kc says:

    @JPL:

    Isn’t the Pope against capital punishment?

  62. 62
    PaulW says:

    The moral difference between homosexuality and murder is pretty simple: the Ten Commandments issued to us by THE LORD says nothing about homosexuality and says a lot about “Thou shalt not murder”. There’s your moral difference, boss.

  63. 63
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    legislatures should be allowed to ban acts they believe to be immoral.

    On the surface, this isn’t that controversial a statement. After all, state legislatures do ban acts considered to be immoral: murder, larceny, rape, etc.

    But there are different metrics of immorality. Murder, larceny, rape, etc. are considered immoral because they all involve inflicting harm on another person, either physical, emotional, or financial.

    Homosexuality, OTOH, merely runs counter to some part of Holy Scripture. Two guys making out in public doesn’t harm anything except some folks’ sense of decency (and depending on the guys, taste). But that’s it. Nobody gets hurt (until somebody cheats, but why should heteros get all the fun in that respect).

  64. 64
    Cacti says:

    @Chris:

    (Abortion is an even better example, as there’s nothing at all in the Bible saying that it’s the destruction of a human life).

    The Old Testament, which right wing christianists are so fond of, places a lesser value on a fetus than a life in being.

    Exodus 21 describes the punishment for causing a miscarriage as financial compensation to the father (of course). If the mother dies, the penalty is death.

    Yahweh regarded the fetus as even a lower form of life than living persons with icky girl parts.

  65. 65
    Culture of Truth says:

    He’s talking about judicial restraint, leaving power to the legislatures and the people to enact even offensive laws. Except he’s a total hypocrite, so feel free to ignore him completely.

  66. 66
    Walker says:

    @Legalize:

    It is not a fallacious argument in general. However, the problem is that his argument is not a reductio ad absurdum argument. His argument is an example of equivocation, which is a fallacy.

  67. 67

    @sinned34:

    They also get free healthcare.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Yes, but Leviticus says that eating shrimp is an abomination, while men laying with men is an abom–

    Hey, look over there, is that something shiny?

  69. 69
    slippy says:

    Scalia is a cunt. I’m so sick of him.

  70. 70
    Brachiator says:

    @Zifnab25:

    RE: Just out of curiosity, if Scalia’s rhetoric is so “effective”, why is the PPACA still law? :-p

    Fat Tony is just practicing his loser dissent in the upcoming gay marriage cases.

    I’m going to call DOMA dead on a 6-3 decision. Scalia and Alito agree that butt-sexing is murder. Thomas meander on about how none of the Founding Fathers were gay married, and therefore it should be illegal.

    You might be right. A recent LA Times article included the following nuggets:

    But Kennedy, the libertarian, and Scalia, the social conservative, clash fiercely over the court’s role in deciding moral controversies.
    __
    The two split 20 years ago when the court’s conservative bloc was poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion. Though personally opposed to abortion, Kennedy switched sides in spring 1992 and cast a crucial vote to uphold a woman’s right to choose. “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code,” Kennedy wrote.
    __
    In the past, Scalia has accused Kennedy of having “signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.” Scalia is likely to have the votes of fellow conservatives Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and probably Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to uphold state and federal laws that exclude gays from marriage.
    __
    But Kennedy has the much stronger hand. He ranks third in seniority after the chief justice and Scalia, and he has four liberal justices on his left. Because the senior member of the majority decides who writes the opinion, Kennedy could decide who writes the opinions if he votes with the liberals. And he could take the assignment for himself….
    __
    If Kennedy and the court strike down the federal benefits provision of the marriage act, it would be a major victory for gay rights, but it would not affect the 41 states where same-sex marriage is forbidden.
    __
    The California case on Proposition 8 could be far more significant because it involves the right to marry. Ted Olson and David Boies, the attorneys who led the challenge, plan to argue broadly that marriage is a fundamental right and that excluding gay couples from marriage denies them the equal protection of the law.
    __
    A Kennedy-Scalia clash from a decade ago gives a preview. When two gay men challenged a Texas anti-sodomy law, Kennedy wrote a glowing opinion taking their side. “They are entitled to respect for their private lives,” he said, and “the state cannot demean” them by treating them as second-class citizens.
    __
    In a moment of high drama, Kennedy gave a professorial reading of his opinion on the last day of the court term in 2003. When he finished, Scalia’s voice cut through the room as he delivered an angry dissent.
    __
    Kennedy’s opinion left the laws against same-sex marriage “on pretty shaky grounds,” Scalia said at the time. “If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is ‘no legitimate state interest’ … what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples?”
    __
    That’s the question now before the court in the California case.

  71. 71
    Keith says:

    I’d argue that murder goes (way) beyond a simple question of morality.

  72. 72
    JPL says:

    @kc: He’d forgive that one sin by Scalia.

  73. 73
    Cacti says:

    @Zifnab25:

    I’m going to call DOMA dead on a 6-3 decision. Scalia and Alito agree that butt-sexing is murder.

    I predict a Scalia dissent along the lines of homosexuals…

    “having no rights which the white straight man was bound to respect.”

  74. 74
    Elizabelle says:

    The antidote to Scalia-scat:

    TPM pictorial on gay couples marrying in Seattle, WA.

    Full of genuine love and dignity, and the best of human emotions.

    Link is to those 2 ZZ Topp looking dudes (who’ve been together for years), in their wedding finery.

    This whole series made me tear up.

  75. 75
    ACS says:

    Oh God, Scalia is a mendacious dick and I hate to defend him on any grounds whatsoever, but reductio ad absurdum is NOT a logical fallacy. He’s also not “comparing” murder and gay marriage (though I wouldn’t put it past him to do so in other contexts), he’s making an analogy. An analogy is not the same thing as a comparison.

    The point he’s making is the general point that morality often figures in public policy debates, which is obviously true as a descriptive matter, and as a normative matter, it’s debatable but isn’t THAT crazy, as others have pointed out.

    The problem is that he’s deploying that basically legitimate point in order to justify gay marriage bans, which are obviously immoral. His reasoning isn’t fallacious per se, it’s his implied but unstated point that gay marriage bans have some legitimate moral justification that’s the problem, not that he’s using a reductio argument, which is perfectly legitimate as a general matter.

  76. 76
    Culture of Truth says:

    Am I seriously teaching a Supreme Court justice that a majority feeling about morality does not equal constitutionality?

    I don’t that’s his position, but it’s unclear.

    the problem is that his argument is not a reductio ad absurdum argument. His argument is an example of equivocation

    Good point

  77. 77
    Anoniminous says:

    Scalia was nominated to SCOTUS by Little Ronnie RayGuns in 1986. The fucker is likely to still be on the bench in 2022.

    On reason elections are important.

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes, but Leviticus says that eating shrimp is an abomination

    No, it doesn’t. It says that eating shrimp (or a range of other unclean foods) makes you unclean, and you are required to go through a cleansing ritual before participating in religious ceremonies. None of the food related rules in Leviticus specify death as a punishment. The worst food related punishment is for eating blood, meat with blood still in it, or any of the parts of an animal that are considered God’s share, for which the punishment is to be cut off from your people. Most of the things described as abominations are in the part that talks about sexual relations.

  80. 80
    Allan says:

    You can have moral feelings against homosexuality from now until the cows come home, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re American citizens entitled to equal protection under the law.

    But then, some people need society to disapprove of homosexuality in order to stop them from acting on their desires to chow down on Clarence Thomas’ smoky link. I’m just saying.

  81. 81
    Cacti says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Scalia was nominated to SCOTUS by Little Ronnie RayGuns in 1986. The fucker is likely to still be on the bench in 2022.

    He’s 76, fat, and a smoker. The clock is ticking.

  82. 82
    Ted & Hellen says:

    The GAY = MURDER thing has been around forever.

    Scalia is not an original thinker, in that regard or any other.

  83. 83
    PurpleGirl says:

    @cathyx:
    People used to think that interracial marriage was immoral.

    Scalia probably still thinks so.

  84. 84
    aimai says:

    @Chris:

    Not at all–Scalia is specifically arguing that moral disgust creates legislation–for instance the disgust that people feel about eating spoiled milk…I mean cheese…means that we should legislatively ban cheese eating and cheese making. Thou shalt not kill is a commandment but thou shalt not have sex with someone of your own gender is not one of the commandments. Its sort of in leviticus but most of those rules have been discarded as the scope of “morality” has been limited by modern christians to “things I can abuse other people with like sexuality, drunkenness, addiction and helping people without humiliating them.” In point of fact there are many ways to kill someone which don’t raise disgust and/or raise disgust but do not result in a murder charge. The entire argument is absurd. You can kill someone in self defence and under Florida law you won’t be charged with murder. You can accidentally kill someone and be charged with various forms of manslaughter and homicide. You can cause the deaths of millions of people by selling them tobacco and the Scalias of this world will applaud you and take your campaign donations and your expensive hunting trips.

    aimai

  85. 85
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @shortstop:

    Jesus, it’s unseemly for a sitting Supreme Court justice to be out shilling a book.

    Of course it is.

    It’s also unseemly for them, or other government officials, to be out giving speeches and pushing other peoples’ books. But many of them do it, and it is also considered unseemly within the village to criticize such a thing because, my darlings, one may need the same type of helping hand NEXT year.

    Besides which, when do they have the time to be writing books and giving speeches when they are supposed to be doing one of the most important jobs in the world?

    But no one bats an eye.

  86. 86
    Richard says:

    Someone should ask him if he is in favor of the “kill the gays” law that they are working on passing in Uganda.

  87. 87
    gbear says:

    You know, officiating on a judicial branch is a lot like jumping off a bridge. A guy could get then confused, especially an old guy with a weak grip on reality. Just sayin’…

  88. 88
    gbear says:

    argh. edit not working. BENCH, not branch.

    edit: But of course edit is working for this comment

  89. 89
    👽 Martin says:

    @Zifnab25:

    Just out of curiosity, if Scalia’s rhetoric is so “effective”, why is the PPACA still law? :-p

    Apparently, because Roberts realized that he’d forever be labeled as the cause for why the US cannot enact healthcare reform. If PPACA went down as Scalia demanded, we’d only ever have the political courage to try this again after the Borg attack of 2063.

    Voters are much more resilient to defeat than Congress is. SCOTUS can do pretty much whatever they want here and voters will keep chipping away at the problem – voters have nothing to lose from failure. With PPACA, Congress would have deemed the topic impossible and radioactive and never touched it ever again, they wouldn’t risk getting voted out for attempting it again with such a low perceived chance of success.

  90. 90
    RaflW says:

    You get the sense that Scalia is still living in the early 90s when some conservatives felt that sexually active gay men should be put in internment camps – or even tried for murder – because, y’know, we all had the AIDS and were purposely infecting each other in a bizarre death-wish homo-cult.

    It sounds obscenely stupid and cruel…but then, this is Antonin were talking about.

  91. 91
    Ash Can says:

    @aimai: Moreover, the Ten Commandments equate killing someone with not going to church on Sunday. Conveniently, however, people don’t get the chair for blowing off services (although maybe Scalia wishes they would).

  92. 92
    MikeBoyScout says:

    It’s sadistic, I know, but that fat SCOTUS bastard will leave this earth before me, and I will piss on his grave.

  93. 93
    Brachiator says:

    @aimai:

    Not at all—Scalia is specifically arguing that moral disgust creates legislation—for instance the disgust that people feel about eating spoiled milk…I mean cheese…means that we should legislatively ban cheese eating and cheese making.

    You mean, Thou shalt not cut the cheese?

    Oh, the buttermilk!

    More seriously, good points on Scalia’s stupidity.

  94. 94
    redshirt says:

    @JPL: He got one of his sons to do that in his stead. I partied with this guy a couple of times – typical rich college party kid. Met him again after seminary – BRAINWASHED JESUS FREAK.

  95. 95
    Rathskeller says:

    @Southern Beale: No, there’s a bit in the New Testament, where Jesus is talking about marriage, see Matthew 19:4-6. People have argued against it, but it’s there in some sense. More importantly, it’s not lumped in with the “no mixed fibers”, “no shrimp”, “rape’s ok if you pay a fee” rules in the Old Testament. There are other passages, such as Romans 1:26-27 and a couple of even more ambiguous sections.

    The only problem is that it’s mostly ambiguous, while Jesus’s prescription against divorce IN THE SAME FUCKING PARAGRAPH in Matthew is crystal clear, totally inarguable. But you don’t hear about that one quite as much.

  96. 96
    Punchy says:

    legislatures should be allowed to ban acts they believe to be immoral.

    So Tennessee can ban interracial marriages? So belief in something is the de facto standard for legality?

    Jesus fucking christ.

  97. 97
    TG Chicago says:

    @kc: Actually, you bring up a good point. I was trying to think of something I think should be illegal solely because it’s immoral. Torture and capital punishment are in that neighborhood.

    However, I feel those are a bit different since those are things that the state is inflicting upon prisoners/detainees rather than something going on between private citizens.

    But it’s something I’ll have to think about more. Anybody have thoughts on this?

  98. 98
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Is there any chance this turd can stroke out? Are we really struck with his fear-mongering and rage for another 20 years?

  99. 99
    scav says:

    @Rathskeller: Sacrements and the very Bible bow before the
    mighty Tony’s moral disgust as abjectly as the Law and Constitution. No surprise there.

  100. 100
    RSA says:

    [Scalia] argued at a Princeton seminar that elected bodies should be allowed to regulate actions they see as immoral. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

    What do you mean by “we”, Scalia-man? First, elected bodies don’t have views of morality and immorality; only the people who comprise those bodies do. Second, those people may disagree with each other about what’s moral; Scalia seems to be arguing that the majority-rules approach that legislatures take for making laws should be applied to morality as well. That can be argued, but then we come to a third point… A majority of Americans (finally) support gay marriage. If their elected bodies are doing their job as being representative, this shouldn’t be an issue, even for Scalia.

    Scalia isn’t thinking things through very well.

  101. 101
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Somewhere, Justice Taney is hearing footsteps. His place in the pantheon is under attack.

  102. 102
    Cacti says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Are we really struck with his fear-mongering and rage for another 20 years?

    The only way he’s leaving the court is feet first. But considering he’s fat and a smoker, I don’t think he has 20 years left.

  103. 103
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Cacti:

    Exodus 21 describes the punishment for causing a miscarriage as financial compensation to the father (of course). If the mother dies, the penalty is death.

    Even better: The verse implies that the one who causes the miscarriage only has to pay financial compensation if the father demands it. If he has no objection to the death of the fetus, then he is free to demand nothing.

  104. 104
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    “Reduction to the absurd” pretty much sums up Scalia’s Supreme Court career.

  105. 105
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @aimai:

    Not at all—Scalia is specifically arguing that moral disgust creates legislation—for instance the disgust that people feel about eating spoiled milk…I mean cheese…means that we should legislatively ban cheese eating and cheese making.

    But, but, I thought that “Blessed are the cheesemakers” was a creed to live by and something we could all agree on.

  106. 106
    👽 Martin says:

    @TG Chicago:

    But it’s something I’ll have to think about more. Anybody have thoughts on this?

    You need to keep ahold of the idea of whether there is an identified victim. In torture and capital punishment there clearly is. We may debate whether or not the person ‘deserves it’ but that’s another moral argument.

    In the case of homosexuality, there isn’t an identified victim. At most they’ll argue that ‘society’ is the victim, which could apply to anything. We could be opposed to Taco Bell because it does moral harm to society. That doesn’t cut. But if Taco Bell makes people sick – specific people we can point to – then it rises to the standard.

    A clear victim needs to always be part of the analysis.

  107. 107
    MikeJ says:

    @jibeaux:

    For example, they might feel that it’s immoral to swear in front of anyone under 16 and for funsies let’s say most Americans agree with that. Oh, but wait, the first amendment doesn’t really allow that, so that would be an unconstitutional law.

    But that’s exactly Scalia’s point. There’s no mention of homosexuality in the constitution, therefore it can be legislated. Society writes laws against things it collectively finds immoral, and if those laws don’t violate the constitution, they’re enacted.

    Sane people will say that the issue is that you should not be able to write laws that unfairly burden one group in society. That’s what the court said in Carolene Products. Then the question is, are gay people a “group” that cannot be legislated against? Scalia would argue that if you call gay people a group, you could call car thieves a group and say it’s unconstitutional to legislate against them. Obviously this is stupid for many, many reasons (part of who you are v simply an action you take, harm to others, etc), but that’s really the argument the court will be having.

  108. 108
    Lojasmo says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I cried like a baby. School chum now living in Seattle knows four of the couples.

  109. 109
    Jay C says:

    @Brachiator:

    Scalia said at the time. “If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is ‘no legitimate state interest’ … what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples?”

    But the problem is that Don Nino is articulating this principle AS IF IT IS A BAD THING – that that “moral disapprobation” is the only thing that should count in interpreting the Law (as long as Mr. Justice Scalia agrees with it, of course)

    Putz.

  110. 110
    evinfuilt says:

    It is somewhat logical, from their point of view. If you assume that crimes are not committed against human beings but against God, and that the only real crime is to disobey your God, then disobeying him on the issue of “thou shalt not kill” isn’t really worse than disobeying him on the issue of “thou shalt not fuck a member of your gender.”

    @Chris:

    and don’t forget that God always says and thinks what they think and say. What a coincidence.

  111. 111
    Culture of Truth says:

    To paraphrase John Roberts:
    “The way to discrimination on the basis of gender is to stop discriminating on the basis of gender”

  112. 112
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @evinfuilt: God always says and thinks what they think and say. What a coincidence.

    Xenophanes the pre-Socratic said that if perchance horses and cattle had hands, and could make images of their gods, those images would have hooves and horns.

  113. 113
    MikeJ says:

    @👽 Martin:

    In the case of homosexuality, there isn’t an identified victim. At most they’ll argue that ‘society’ is the victim, which could apply to anything.

    “Society” is a perfectly acceptable victim. Littering causes no direct harm to an individual but it does harm society. There’s nothing inherently wrong with legislating against things that harm society instead of individuals.

  114. 114
    Michael says:

    God, that’s not even a good reductio argument, setting aside the validity of the reductio ad absurdum formulation.

    The point is to posit two situations that logically indistinguishable. I mean, this isn’t even close, its so lazy as to be insulting. Either his clerks are doing a lot of heavy lifting on the opinions, or, more likely unfortunately, he’s just trolling.

  115. 115
    MikeJ says:

    @Lojasmo:

    I cried like a baby. School chum now living in Seattle knows four of the couples.

    Local news assholes were trying to say that having the courts open on Sunday night cost $[bignum] even though the heat was never turned on and the judges worked for free. Perhaps if gay people had been able to get married all along they could have just gone Monday-Friday. And from now on that’s exactly what they’ll do, just like everyone else.

  116. 116
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    Equivocation such as Nino has displayed is the hallmark of disingenuous, intellectually deficient poseurs such as Scalia. His reputation has been that of a legal intellectual, but since I heard his querelous, argumentative questioning of Gore’s lawyer in Bush v. Gore, I realized he is a bitter crank, who has let his prejudice and reactionary political allegiances destroy his acumen, if ever he had it. It’s why he can disregard the precedents he himself created.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Face says:

    Jesus fucking christ.

    Scalia finds that to be endorsing teh ghey.

  119. 119
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @TG Chicago: Exactly. The problem with murder isn’t that it’s immoral; it’s because it’s unjust. If so-called intellectual Nino Scalia can’t make that distinction, he has no business umpiring a T-ball game, much less being on the highest court in the land.

  120. 120
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @MikeJ: Actually, littering would be harming the environment. Porn would be a better argument.

    ETA: I think this will probably boil down to the fact that since this does no direct harm to society, the laws have to justify excluding the rights of people to be considered equals under the law. I don’t think DOMA or Prop. 8 clear these hurdles at all.

  121. 121
    Anonymous says:

    @scav:

    I remember a Wapo article explaining how Scalia tries to justify his views (e.g., on the death penalty) that are at odds with Catholic teaching. The short of it: anytime the church doesn’t say “believe this or you will go to hell” he will favor his prejudices over Catholic teaching.

    Two things to say: first, of all of the ways to follow a religion, this is among the worst. What kind of Catholic wants a guy like this on their side? Second, funny how Catholic teaching says that if you disagree with them on homosexuality or abortion, you’re going to hell, but if you disagree with us on the death penalty or the imperative to fight poverty, that’s cool — do whatever thou wilt.

  122. 122
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MikeJ:

    There’s no mention of homosexuality in the constitution, therefore it can be legislated. Society writes laws against things it collectively finds immoral, and if those laws don’t violate the constitution, they’re enacted.

    IIRC, isn’t this where the question of changing morality comes in? If we thought something was immoral in 1890, but society at large no longer thinks of it that way, isn’t the law supposed to follow society rather than remaining stuck in 1890 and claiming that the law is demonstrating some kind of eternal moral truth?

  123. 123
    MikeJ says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IIRC, isn’t this where the question of changing morality comes in? If we thought something was immoral in 1890, but society at large no longer thinks of it that way, isn’t the law supposed to follow society rather than remaining stuck in 1890 and claiming that the law is demonstrating some kind of eternal moral truth?

    Sure, and if you think morality has swung your way on an issue you elect representatives who will strike down the law. Just because a law against immorality is itself now immoral doesn’t make it unconstitutional.

  124. 124
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, but only if you’re a stinkin’ liberal, who wants equality for minorities, women, and anyone who is not a white male Christian.

  125. 125
    Mike Dixon says:

    I suppose one could have the same moral feelings against someone being a faggot as one could against a person who was a nigger or a person who was a fucking greasy dago.

  126. 126
    Tonal Crow says:

    It all comes down to Republicans’ tender fee-fees.

  127. 127
    Thomas F says:

    This is such a tiresome debate. Justice Scalia’s point is more than valid as a logical matter against those who condemn “legislating one’s morals.” This complaint has always been (and is now) one of the more trite complaints against anti-homosexuality laws. These laws are heinous for a host of more trenchant reasons, all of which the BJ community is familiar.

    The fact of the matter is that all political participants legislate their morals, at one point or another. Progressive liberals tend to devalue legislating moral codes that are putatively “personal” and don’t have an immediate effect on other members of society.

    When Scalia uses the example of murder, he is not “equating” homosexuality with murder. Anyone remotely familiar with logic (and intellectually honest) will concede that. He is instead attacking the rationale undergirding the stated argument against anti-sodomy and anti-gay marriage laws. He is indeed reducing it to absurdity — and doing so effectively — by showing how those who oppose these laws assume the rationale they mean to attack in a whole host of other scenarios. This is because ethical disputes and contests over morality are necessary for the functioning of a democratic society. Having it any other way would be…wait for it..absurd.

    Necessary disclaimer (because it is a comments section): I still find Justice Scalia’s jurisprudential methodology flawed and his views on homosexuality repugnant. But Cole is being foolish, and Scalia makes more sense in this instance.

  128. 128
    gene108 says:

    @eemom:

    The Onion piece misses the mark regarding Thomas. His wife’s white.

    If it wasn’t for Loving v Virginia (his wife’s name and I believe his state of residence…how ironic), his marriage may not be legally recognized and wouldn’t have been recognized in his current state of residence prior to the 1967 ruling, i.e. within his lifetime.

    The man’s benefiting personally from the SCOTUS of a couple of generations ago deciding that laws banning interracial marriage, which many state legislatures and many Americans at the time felt was(is) immoral and thus made illegal, were unconstitutional.

    I bet he doesn’t have that level of self-awareness to realize how much he’s benefited from an “activist” Supreme Court.

  129. 129
    jibeaux says:

    @MikeJ: I understand your point, but saying something isn’t specifically mentioned in the constitution means you can constitutionally legislate it is crazy. Health insurance isn’t mentioned in the constitution and that didn’t make him side with the PPACA. It’s whether you identify constitutional issues with the law — with gay marriage is equal protection of the laws, fourteenth amendment, and I’m sure the petitioners have cited others. Scalia seems to be making a straw man argument to me; where’s his rebuttal to the constitutional issues raised, just saying “there are none”?

  130. 130
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Thomas F: methodoly

    Methinks you mean methodology

    ETA: I see you already fixed it.

  131. 131
    Thomas F says:

    @PurpleGirl: Yes, I thought I edited that correction. Thank you.

  132. 132
    Ted & Hellen says:

    So to speak.

  133. 133
    Raven says:

    @Thomas F: Aw motherfucker you’re no fun!

  134. 134
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: And you. . . oy!

  135. 135

    @Thomas F: also, you forgot the “riedman” after the F in your nym.

  136. 136
    MikeJ says:

    @jibeaux:

    Health insurance isn’t mentioned in the constitution and that didn’t make him side with the PPACA

    No, that would be a reason (to him) to vote against it. There are two issuesof “mentioned in the constitution” here.

    1) Specifically enumerated freedoms which the government cannot legislate against.
    2) Powers explicitly given to the government to legislate and regulate.

    Scalia would argue that there is no constitutional protection for gay people under my #1. He might also argue that the government was never given the power to legislate about insurance under #2. Those are not contradictory positions. They’re both stupid positions, but they’re logically consistent.

  137. 137

    @Thomas F: also, you forgot the “riedman” after the F in your nym.

  138. 138
    MikeJ says:

    @jibeaux:

    Health insurance isn’t mentioned in the constitution and that didn’t make him side with the PPACA

    No, that would be a reason (to him) to vote against it. There are two issuesof “mentioned in the constitution” here.

    1) Specifically enumerated freedoms which the government cannot legislate against.
    2) Powers explicitly given to the government to legislate and regulate.

    Scalia would argue that there is no constitutional protection for gay people under my #1. He might also argue that the government was never given the power to legislate about insurance under #2. Those are not contradictory positions. They’re both stupid positions, but they’re logically consistent.

  139. 139
    Raven says:

    Well, if the world’s an oyster in your stew You know you’ve got a hungry friend Your favorite horse has turned to glue Don’t kid yourself about the end
    Well now, if life ain’t worth living and time ain’t no fun You better jump out the window and run

  140. 140
    Thomas F says:

    @ranchandsyrup: I realize there is a strong tendency on this blog to disregard any argument that doesn’t immediately hew to the party line with some reference to the Balloon Juice glossary. But I’m afraid my comment doesn’t fall into the whole “both sides do it”/Bobo/Aspen Institute/totebagger schema that many employ here as a default. I think I made a simple point which was easy to follow. We’ll all move on soon enough, somehow.

  141. 141
    gex says:

    Scalia: If we can’t disapprove of homosexuality can we even disapprove of murder?

    Me: Yes. I do both of those things daily. I find it really, really, really easy. I’m more worried that you don’t see qualitative difference between being gay and being a murderer.

  142. 142
    Raven says:

    @Thomas F:

    Well now, if Christmas comes and Santa’s dead
    A stocking covers up your head

  143. 143

    @Thomas F: I agreed with your post. It is as true in Beirut as it is in Jerusalem. Plus my cab driver agreed.
    Also, my joke stemmed from your nym and not the content of your post. I see how you got to where you did but….I wonder why someone who understands the trenchant and jokey nature of this place is seemingly offended.

  144. 144
    JPL says:

    @gex: Can we disapprove of anything? Scalia’s slippery slope argument sounds closer to Santorums thinking on matters pertaining to white men. That would be quite the ticket..Scalia/Santorum.

  145. 145
    WereBear says:

    I don’t understand why right wingers love to act like moral decisions have been be spelled out in an ancient, multiply-translated, confusing and mixed-metaphorical work, when one philosophical question, “Who is harmed?” is so much more simple and sensible.

    Is it because they only care about themselves? Why have laws at all, then?

  146. 146
    MattR says:

    @Thomas F: Just because the Christian Right uses morality as its rationale for opposing murder does not mean that morality is the only rationale for those laws. It can easily be justified as protecting the rights of the victim. At best, Scalia’s is a strawman argument because there are very few liberals opposing anti-gay laws who don’t differentiate between immoral acts that cause harm (murder) and those that do not (gay sex).

  147. 147
    Raven says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Plus it gave me time to google Hot Tuna lyrics while I stirred this enormous pot of Chicken Cattitore!

  148. 148

    @Raven: I will take the lexus to get some olives from the olive tree.

  149. 149
    AA+ Bonds says:

    rush limbaugh says you need lifelock

  150. 150
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Thomas F:

    Progressive liberals

    Saints preserve us . . .

  151. 151
    Raven says:

    @ranchandsyrup: That would top it off nicely! How bout a little Searchin for a Heart?

  152. 152
    Tehanu says:

    @bemused:
    They really don’t understand the meaning of “consent,” do they?

  153. 153

    @Raven: That’s some good stuff (and good advice–if you ain’t got no heart, search for one).
    It’s getting to hot, flat, crowded and around here. I’m ragequitting this bitch for the day. Plus, too many obots and sheeple, from what I gather.

  154. 154
    Raven says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Watch yer topknot. . .

  155. 155
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Well, you did call him just about the worst name imaginable.

  156. 156
    Michael says:

    Pretty sure Scalia believes there are unenumerated rights in the Constitution, he just doesn’t think privacy is one of them and/or he thinks lots of state interests in regulating it are pretty compelling.

    Even enumerated rights can be limited in the name of compelling state interests when the law is sufficiently narrowly tailored

  157. 157
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @MattR:

    Just because the Christian Right uses morality as its rationale for opposing murder does not mean that morality is the only rationale for those laws. It can easily be justified as protecting the rights of the victim.

    That’s still a position of morality. There’s no natural law that says that the victim should be protected.

  158. 158
    Keith G says:

    Have all the front pagers ran away?

  159. 159
    Chris says:

    @evinfuilt:

    “You know you’ve created God in your own image when he hates all the same people you do.”

  160. 160
    Walker says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    So life is not actually an unalienable right after all?

  161. 161
    bemused says:

    @Tehanu:

    Among countless other things! Very odd creatures.

    Dana Milbank just said on Hardball that the Republican party is like the Lord of the Flies, ha.

  162. 162
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Walker: I firmly believe that it is, but that is a statement of morality. So, perhaps I misspoke when I said that it isn’t a natural law. However, it isn’t objective. It’s based upon untestable assumptions that are statements of value. It’s impossible to remove morality from lawmaking.

  163. 163
    MikeJ says:

    BTW, mass shooting in a mall in suburban Portland.

  164. 164
    Josie says:

    I am looking at Scalia’s argument and I fail to see the merit of it. Legislatures should not be able to make laws pertaining to morality, only laws which protect citizens from harm. Using morality as a basis for laws implies church and state connection. It is my understanding that the founders were in favor of separation of church and state. The only basis for banning an act should be the protection of citizen, not morality. Your religion and mine might not be the same, just as your moral act and mine might not be the same. Protecting citizens from harm, however, would be the same for all of us.

  165. 165
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Yes, made me tear up but also made me smile broadly. The happiness on the faces of the couples (and guests and onlookers and JPs and everyone) was magic.

  166. 166
    MikeJ says:

    @Josie:

    Legislatures should not be able to make laws pertaining to morality, only laws which protect citizens from harm.

    So animal cruelty laws are out then? They don’t protect a citizen. In farming communities they’re treated as crimes against property, i.e. do what you want with your property, a fine for harming someone else’s.

    Animal cruelty laws are legislation of morality, and I’m all for them.

  167. 167
    Kyle says:

    The arguments against gay marriage sound a lot like the arguments against interracial marriage 50-100 years ago — “My invisible sky daddy who coincidentally agrees with me in every respect, says it’s WRONG.”

    And it’s the same authoritarian god-bothering bigoted assholes and their political descendants who object to both.

    To which I say, “It’s not mandatory, it’s not your marriage, so leave them the fuck alone to do what they want.”

  168. 168
    scav says:

    @MikeJ: well, there went our window of opportunity again. . . sigh.

  169. 169
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Walker:

    So life is not actually an unalienable right after all?

    No. Life is actually a glorious cycle of song. Also, too, a medley of extemporanea.

  170. 170
    Josie says:

    @MikeJ: You’re right. I should have said protect sentient beings from harm, but then you get into the killing of animals for food. It is a sticky wicket. I just don’t like the laws made because of religious beliefs, since they vary so widely.

  171. 171
    redshirt says:

    Court chat: What’s the reasonable number of SC posts to expect Obama to get in the 2nd term? Also, what are the rules for confirmation AKA how will the Repukes attempt to stop Obama’s nomination(s)?

  172. 172
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Let us not confuse morality with religion. All legislation is moral in some form or fashion. The question really is which morality will be enforced.

  173. 173
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Josie: Your statement includes a lot of embedded assumptions, including what constitutes “harm.” And as a whole, both the idea that the law should protect citizens and the idea that the law should be limited to only protecting citizens are both moral claims.

    The Founders did believe in the separation of church and state. However, that had *zero* to do with what they considered proper bases for why people would believe that certain sorts of laws should be enacted.[fn] They were also liberal pluralists and understood that they were building a state for a nation that could not agree as to what the proper bases were. Whether your morality comes from church teachings or whether you really believe that it comes from nothing but pure logic is irrelevant as to its validity as a basis of law as the Founders intended things to work. It was a group of people that spanned Congregationalists like Sam Adams, Baptists like John Leland, Anglicans like John Jay, deists like Jefferson and Madison and outright atheists like Ben Franklin. The idea that the law should be separate from their religious beliefs would have been entirely alien to them.

    [fn] As always when discussing the Founders, you can probably find a Jefferson quote that stands in direct opposition to this. That’s because Jefferson was one of the least disciplined thinkers ever and had an almost Mitt Romney like ability to take a stand on every side of an issue. Anyone can find a Jefferson quote to support their view, no matter what it is, on any issue.

  174. 174
    MikeJ says:

    @Josie: I came up with that example with zero thought. Given a copy of the US code and a few hours I could probably come up with a hundred laws based on morality that you and I would agree are absolutely needed. I think it’s too simplistic to say, “don’t legislate morality”.

  175. 175
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Thomas F:

    The problem with “morals” in this case is that for guys like Scalia, he’s talking more about sexual norms than morality in the broader sense. It makes him (and a lot of other bluenosed assholes) go all squick to imagine that two men (not so much two women) are engaged in some sort of sexual activity with each other.

    Which is why it’s so patently absurd. It’s one thing to kill a guy, it’s another thing to engaged in a 69 with him.

    Also, Scalia’s in that group that doesn’t mind shit like torture as long as those being tortured are sufficiently other. I object to it for ANYONE, except perhaps guys like Yoo, Addison, the Dark Lord, Allan West, and other fans of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, a term coined by the fuckin’ GESTAPO, for the love of Godwin.

  176. 176
    Josie says:

    @MikeJ: I get that, but isn’t there a difference in morality and religious beliefs?

    ETA: It just seems that allowing legislatures to make laws based on religion allows the majority religion to rule over others.

  177. 177

    Another mass shooting in Oregon. What a fucking country.

  178. 178
    handy says:

    @MikeJ:

    Speaking of things we have “heard” before.

  179. 179
    Thomas F says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Fair enough — I took your comment too literally. I appreciate all Internet traditions (snark). Just sometimes comments are too easily dismissed before they are actually read/understood. Maybe I should take my own advice…

    @MattR: Your point is well taken. But you do get into thorny issues when you start separating laws motivated by morality concerning “victims” and laws that don’t. As cited above, animal cruelty would be a good example. But also laws against actions that (at the very least) don’t have immediate victims — smoking in public places, Bloomberg’s soda ban, etc. Don’t feel like actually debating those, but one comes to realize that even we liberals are prone to support laws against “victimless” actions and actions that merely shock our moral sensibilities.

  180. 180
    Michael says:

    @redshirt: Ginsburg is going to be 83 and Breyer 79 by the end of Obama’s term. I can’t imagine either of them staying on and risk the Dem losing in 16, which would then have them stuck on the Court till they’re 87 and 83 respectively.

    So my guess is minimum 2. And we can always hope either Scalia or Kennedy (75 and 76) have to retire for whatever reason.

    If we get another Dem in 2016, a 5 vote majority is nearly a guarantee, 6 is possible.

  181. 181
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    For instance, most atheists would say they have moral standards.

  182. 182
    Elizabelle says:

    @Lojasmo:
    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Seeing how much being legally married means to those gay couples is so touching and real.

    That is the America we voted for.

    Justice Scalia can prattle, as he is wont to do.

    He has lost this cause, and he is a loser. And perhaps he knows it.

  183. 183

    @Elizabelle:

    What you just said, twice, with sprinkles.

  184. 184
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Elizabelle:

    He has lost this cause, and he is a loser. And perhaps he knows it.

    Shortened for more truthiness.

  185. 185
    gwangung says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    For instance, most atheists would say they have moral standards.

    Which aren’t the same as Scalia’s. Isn’t that the rub?

  186. 186
    cmorenc says:

    I guarantee Scalia does not give a shit what any of us, most especially progressives, think of his arrogant, insensitive bloviations or his stone-hearted conservative intellectual mastrubations. He knows he has a sinecure-for-life which is effectively impregnable against assault from progressives claiming bias and conflict of interest.

    About the only way to really, really get to Scalia and turn his life into knots of angry frustration and futility would be for other changes in court personnel to result in an effective progressive-leaning majority that would guarantee the frustration of Scalia’s legal views from becoming realized for decades past his death, and probably forever. Look how poorly he handled his defeat in the Obamacare case when Roberts switched sides to uphold it instead of using the case as the battering ram to effectively undermine and unravel the entire New Deal, as Scalia doubtless hoped for.

  187. 187
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Brachiator: Good read. Hopefully, Kennedy will do the right thing and join the liberal wing of the Supreme Court. He failed on the healthcare case.

  188. 188
    Rhubarb says:

    @ Siubhan Duinne–And of course love is a thing that can never go wrong. But ARE you Marie of Rumania?

  189. 189
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Where are all the front pagers? No new thread in hours, did Tunch eat them all?

  190. 190

    This is the same guy who said surface-to-air missiles might be covered under the 2nd Amendment, under the “if you can lift it you can shoot it” theory.

    As it happens, another guy with body armor and an automatic weapon went to a shopping center near Portland, in Clackamas, and was killing people. Merry Fucking Christmas, Scalia.

  191. 191
    Elizabelle says:

    Alexandra Petri, of the WaPost, wrote something smart about the Scalia remarks.

    That is news.

    Ah, the reductio ad absurdum, which stretches any given argument to its ridiculous limit. It’s a frequent tool of gay-marriage opponents. This is the argument style that has given us such great gifts as the line of thinking that goes, “But if we allow gay marriage, we’ll have to let people marry dogs and robots! Where can you draw the line?”
    __
    …It’s not that we don’t understand what you’re doing philosophically when you make such arguments. It’s just that — well, the only thing reduced to absurdity by your argument is you.

  192. 192

    @Bob In Portland:

    What is wrong with this fucking country? I mean really? There are dead people tonight because someone with a fucking attitude is allowed to buy a gun and kill people. What the fucking fuck.

  193. 193
    PeakVT says:

    @Michael: Ginsburg is going to be 83 and Breyer 79 by the end of Obama’s term.

    And if all the other arguments for filibuster reform weren’t good enough, there are two more really good ones.

  194. 194
    aimai says:

    @Thomas F:

    All snottyness aside this is still incorrect. He is arguing that we legislate against things that disgust us and that because homosexuality disgusts him it therefore should be legislated against. But that is 1) Not the only source of legislative action, 2) does not tell us which legislative actions are appropriate, and 3) does not mean that any legislative action including banning the behavior is a legitimate choice for the legislator. It is both facile and incorrect to argue that we “all [would] legislate our own morality” if we could or that all legislators do so. I have a much stricter moral code than many and still would not impose it on others–in fact the constitutional prohibition against “establishing” religion, if you want to limit morality to the sphere of religion, explicitly forbids legislators from doing that.

    aimai

  195. 195
    Raven says:

    North Korea just lit up a long range missile!

  196. 196
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: That’s right. I would like to hear Scalia’s definition of morality. I bet he limits his definition of morality to mean Catholic dogma that he agrees with.

  197. 197
    PeakVT says:

    @Raven: Kim Jong Un is celebrating his father’s death, apparently.

  198. 198
    Raven says:

    @PeakVT: knuckle heads

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    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @gwangung: Yes. The point being that religion =/= morality. For Scalia, the two are probably a one-circle venn diagram, but they are two separate things that should not be conflated. All legislation is “legislating morality” by choosing what things society rewards as “right” and punishes as “wrong.”

  200. 200
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Josie: Yes, there is a difference between religion and moral beliefs. They aren’t the same thing at all. Religion is about a lot more than morality, and moral beliefs can arise from places other than religion.

    What’s involved here is that a pluralistic society has to be indifferent to the sources of its citizens’ moral beliefs when it comes to making laws. It doesn’t matter that your moral beliefs derive from non-religious sources or that someone else’s arise from a religious text. Neither matters when it comes to legislating. The only thing that matters in terms of constitutional validity is whether the actuality of the law, regardless of the source of its moral underpinnings, fits within the framework of what is allowed by the Constitution. That’s it.

    This does mean that adherents of a religion can, if they compose a majority of the electorate, impose their own morality except where such an imposition exceeds the authority of the Constitution. However, that has nothing to do with the fact that they are members of a religion. It has to do with the fact that a majority of the country has a particular belief as to what the laws should say. It isn’t any different than when we argue that everyone should be taxed in order to pay for medical care to be delivered to poor people.

    Why do we think that the government should do that? Because it would be immoral for it not to. And, since we had the votes, it was entirely proper for us to impose that morality on those citizens that disagreed with us. That’s tough luck for them and it is definitely writing morality into the law.

  201. 201
    Elizabelle says:

    @Zifnab25:

    and we’ll all be married to box turtles by 2014.

    I just love this line.

  202. 202
    candideinnc says:

    Example of oxymoron: Justice Scalia.

  203. 203
    candideinnc says:

    Example of oxymoron: Justice Scalia.

  204. 204
    Josie says:

    @J. Michael Neal: Ok, so then don’t the laws against gay marriage violate the people’s rights to equal protection under the law, since it affects people’s ability to be with partners in all situations, to inherit, to adopt children, etc.? Wouldn’t that be the constitutional test rather than any issue of morality?

  205. 205
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Naturally, local news here in TrackTown is dominated by the shooting up in Clackamas County. Which is only like 90 miles a way, why, it’s right next door! Nothing, nothing of any significance took place in the rest of the world today…the local NBC affiliate has preempted the NBC Nightly News for exciting aerial photos of all the lights around Clackamas Town Center (the Tonya Harding mall, you may recall).

    No word on what motivated this, but if it’s a white guy, it’s got something to do with the near sheriff.

  206. 206
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Josie: Sure, that’s a constitutional test. I even agree with you that it fails that test. But that’s a very different reason for opposing DOMA than because it is an attempt to legislate morality.

  207. 207
    Josie says:

    @J. Michael Neal: I understand. Thanks for the explanations. It seems to me that Scalia’s argument is sort of beside the point constitutionally, but maybe he was arguing in answer to a specific question.

  208. 208
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    Scalia’s Lawrence v Texas dissent says everything you need to know about the man’s character.

  209. 209
    sneezy says:

    @JPL:

    There isn’t anything [Scalia] says that the Pope would disagree with.

    The pope doesn’t support capital punishment.

  210. 210
    brantl says:

    Scalia on the Supreme Court is reducio ad absurdum. Emphasis on the DUM.

Comments are closed.