Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Originalism

Posted by redsatellite on April 28, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was on 60 Minutes last night. Unfortunately, there is only ONE Justice Scalia. I wish there were 8 more.

At 72, Justice Scalia is still a maverick, championing a philosophy known as “orginalism,” which means interpreting the Constitution based on what it originally meant to the people who ratified it over 200 years ago. Scalia has no patience with so-called activist judges, who create rights not in the Constitution- like a right to abortion -by interpreting the Constitution as a “living document” that adapts to changing values.

He’s on a mission as an evangelist for originalism, at home and around the world. For example, he visited the Oxford Union in England. “Sometimes people come up to me and inquire, ‘Justice Scalia, when did you first become an originalist?’ As though it’s some weird affliction, you know, ‘When did you start eating human flesh?'” Scalia told students, who replied with laughter.

After listening to Scalia….I need to take a fresh approach in my enmity- my animus towards liberals.

“I attack ideas. I don’t attack people. And some very good people have some very bad ideas,” Scalia says. “And if you can’t separate the two, you gotta get another day job. You don’t want to be a judge. At least not a judge on a multi-member panel.”

I’ve got to remember that: there are ‘some very good people’ who have ‘some very bad ideas’. Now, could I apply that pragmatic goodwill to a John Kerry or a Howard Dean or an Al Gore?

Um…..on second thought, Justice Scalia is a better man than me.

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