A week ago on the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the corporate media began spewing the expected epitaphs. “Originalist”, “scholar”, “intellectual” thus once again painting the picture for the American viewer that Scalia was a Justice who was a cut above.
But millions and millions of Americans are not fooled by the Scalia myth. Much like the Reagan myth and the Wizard of Oz myth when the curtain is pulled back the reality really belies the myth. Scalia was not what he pretended nor what the nearly 100% corporate (yes this includes NPR) media claimed he was.
In truth, Scalia was a right winger who had the ability to argue and write well. Through these abilities he was able to construct a cover of being an intellectual. Yet much of his work on the SCOTUS was overturning precedent that was based on sound constitutional principle or inventing so-called constitutional arguments that no one else ever found.
The most obvious is Bush v. Gore. Where or where in our constitution (or any other constitution for that matter) does it say that the SCOTUS has true power to step in and determine (pick) the winner of a national election? Yet the “originalist” was the main cog in a 5 person overthrow of constitutional government. That decision has cost the world millions of lives and our country trillions upon trillions of dollars.
Lets take another Scalia original. Apparently Scalia could not read the second amendment as it was written. Some voice in his head from the past must have informed him that the second amendment started after that clause about maintaining a militia. Most people see it. Even conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger saw it.
In a previous post we briefly discussed how Scalia was part of a cabal that destroyed decades of work to get citizens the very symbol of citizenship: the right to vote in Shelby County V. Holder. But who can forget that “originalist” Scalia was one of the justices that granted certiorari for the infamous Citizens United v. FEC. There is little I can say about Citizen’s United that hasn’t been said already. There is simply nothing about running elections in the constitution. Money does not and never should be a determiner of free speech.
In a real irony of Scalia’s death, while he was involved in a non-constitutional power grab that made George W. Bush president, members of the senate from his party are trying to obstruct the VERY constitutional process for filling his empty seat. Leave it to an “originalist” to have a an argument over what the constitution means when it says:
Article II, Section 2: “[The President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint……Judges of the Supreme Court.”
Presidents pick Supreme Court Justices, not the other way around.
In an interview with Michael Dukakis for Slate, we get these insights into Scalia’s character:
How well did you know Scalia at law school?
Not well. It was an interesting class. Scalia, myself, Paul Sarbanes, Bill Ruckelshaus. But in those days, Isaac, we had a class of 475 that was divided in thirds. So you got to know your section very well. But I didn’t know who Scalia was until the last semester of my last year, when I took a class called Federal Courts and the Federal System, with a great man named Henry Hart. It is 1960. We are in the middle of the civil rights revolution. And there’s this guy in class who begins engaging Professor Hart every day in these long dialogues over whether it was appropriate for federal judges to reach in and take cases away from Southern criminal courts, in cases where, as everyone knew, if you were a black defendant, forget it. And this went on for about three weeks. [Laughs.] I finally turned to the guy next to me and said, “Who the hell is that guy?” He said, “That’s Scalia, he’s on the law review.” And I said, “Does he know what it’s like to be black in the South?” A bright guy—yeah. But he was to the right of Marie Antoinette for Christ’s sake. There was no consistency in his so-called philosophy. Money is corporate speech. This is all preposterous.