Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Antonin Scalia

I confess that when I heard the news of Antonin Scalia’s death I said “Thank God!” fervently, sincerely, earnestly. I have nothing against the man.  He was a good man who did what he thought was right, and now he is happily in the spiritual realm.

It’s his family and friends who deserve our sympathy.  That’s always the case when someone dies. I don’t feel sorry for the deceased—they are happier on the other side than in this time/space realm on earth. I believe that to be the case no matter what kind of life they led.

I understand Scalia was a colorful, jolly, opera-loving, friendly man, but he led others to wreak terrific havoc on our political system. With his passing we have a chance of overturning the most destructive decisions coming out of the court in the past 30 years.

We can’t undo one disatrous decision of his—putting George W. Bush in the presidency in spite of the popular vote going to Al Gore. Scalia’s claim that he based decisions on originalism—following  the original intent of the text—does not wash with this decision. It’s a glaring inconsistency that he brushed off when confronted about it. By installing his choice in the presidency, Scalia and the justices he led violated the original intent of the Constitution.

Had Gore been president, the U.S. would not have started the disastrous Iraq War that expanded Sunni/Shia rivalry that eventually created ISIS. I hold Scalia partially responsible for the mess in the Middle East that the Obama administration has been trying to manage for 8 years.

Scalia led the ultra-conservative pack in the Supreme Court to unreasonable advocacy of corporation “rights” and gun “rights.” His decision, the inappropriately named Citizens United, is allowing Big Money to corrupt our democracy. It would more aptly be called Citizens Divided or Citizens Corrupted.

Antonin Scalia is eulogized as a giant in American jurisprudence. I don’t deny his outsized influence; I decry it. I hope the country can soon get past the shadow he threw over our political system.

2 comments:

Don Conroyoriginalism is said...

Originalism is the search for certitude. Scalia denies the written Constitution is a living document. Imagine his personal view of the Bible.
Vatican II follows Newman's development of doctrine, and since 1964 we have been experiencing the struggle between the two; the need for certitude and the living Word. Catholics in the context of Scalia have had the upper hand, so much so that hierarchy and clerics and Catholic Theologians are not free to make public their alternate views. They play it safe and live for another day, with the exception of Francis. Then there are those like Roger Haight who take chances and publish creative works. And yet we are one people, and those like you and me do not exclude the Originalists.Scalia seems to have done those things asked of Catholics, especially when he was a child. That has been one way to do it. It is not the only way, as so many of them really believe. The reasos for their views are not clear. I think it is a function of their overall personality, but that is simply an attempt to respond to the question, not a complete answer.
I did not rejoice at Scalia's death even though I look forward to his replacement on the court.
May he rest in peace.

Malcolm N said...

When I got news of the passing of Scalia, I spontaneously wrote on my FB page, "Good riddance of bad American rubbish." Weeks later, I stand by what I wrote. I constantly puzzle over this: In the greatest mockeracy in the world, how does trash float its way up to the top?