People Who Need to Retire: Antonin Scalia

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Supreme Court

I had heard that Scalia wants to strike down the Voting Rights Act, but I didn’t know how off the wall he had gotten until I read Dana Milbank this morning

The acerbic Scalia, the court’s longest-serving justice, got his latest comeuppance Wednesday morning, as he tried to make the absurd argument that Congress’s renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006 by votes of 98 to 0 in the Senate and 390 to 33 in the House did not mean that Congress actually supported the act. Scalia, assuming powers of clairvoyance, argued that the lawmakers were secretly afraid to vote against this “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

Kagan wasn’t about to let him get away with that. In a breach of decorum, she interrupted his questioning of counsel to argue with him directly. “Well, that sounds like a good argument to me, Justice Scalia,” she said. “It was clear to 98 senators, including every senator from a covered state, who decided that there was a continuing need for this piece of legislation.”

Scalia replied to Kagan, “Or decided that perhaps they’d better not vote against it, that there’s nothing, that there’s no — none of their interests in voting against it.”

You may need to read that two or three times to get the full impact of what Scalia is saying here. Joan Walsh quotes him some more:

I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution …They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?

In other words, he seems to think he would be doing Congress a favor by striking down the Voting Rights Act, because then they wouldn’t have to keep voting for this law they secretly don’t like but lack the courage to say so.

Scalia has said several things lately that are not just right-wing but even lack internal cohesion. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Constitution provides for forcing justices to retire because of dementia.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Paraquat  •  Feb 28, 2013 @11:55 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the founding fathers screwed up big time when they decided that Supreme Court justices could serve for life. I’d support making 10 years maximum, but introducing term limits will require a Constitutional amendment, and good luck with that.

    With the awful appointments that Republican presidents have made, maybe we should just have a lottery to choose justices. Couldn’t be any more disastrous than the system that is in place now. I mean just look at the collection of losers who currently occupy the bench! If you grabbed nine people from a homeless shelter and put them on the Court, it would still be an improvement.

  2. Swami  •  Mar 1, 2013 @12:49 am

    It was a shame what they did to Anita Hill. ” Are you a women scorned?”

    I’ve got zero respect for Clarence. I respect him like he respects integrity.

  3. paradoctor  •  Mar 1, 2013 @1:47 am

    Impeachment is a political act, and can use any justification. Dementia would do fine. So is usurpation of Congressional power.

  4. Joseph Nobles  •  Mar 1, 2013 @6:11 am

    As No More Mister Nice Blog pointed out, you know what else passed the Senate with a 98-0 vote? Antonin Scalia’s SCOTUS confirmation. Oops.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 1, 2013 @7:01 am

    “…argued that the lawmakers were secretly afraid to vote against this ‘perpetuation of racial entitlement.’”

    Well, Justice Scalia, here are the people who were openly FOR the “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” in 1965 (from Wikipedia) – they were the ones who voted, “No” on the “Voting Rights Act:”

    Senate: 77–19
    -Democrats: 47–17 (73%-27%)
    -Republicans: 30–2 (94%-6%)

    House: 333–85
    -Democrats: 221–61 (78%-22%)
    -Republicans: 112–24 (82%-18%)

    Conference Report:

    Senate: 79–18
    -Democrats: 49–17 (four Southern Democrats voted in favor: Albert Gore, Sr., Ross Bass, George Smathers and Ralph Yarborough).
    -Republicans: 30–1 (the lone nay was Strom Thurmond; John Tower who did not vote was paired as a nay vote with Eugene McCarthy who would have voted in favor.)

    House: 328–74
    -Democrats: 217–54
    -Republicans: 111–20

    And Justice Scalia, please remember that when you speak from the bench, that you’re a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, and not some guy at ‘Open-mic Night at The Yuck-Yucks Comedy Club.’

    And Tony – may I call you “Tony?”
    ‘Tony, fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through a lifetime appointment on the SCOTUS, Son…’

  6. Bill Bush  •  Mar 1, 2013 @8:55 am

    That little foray into politics ought to get him a censure from the other justices. He sounded like he’d been prompted by Frank Luntz.

  7. joanr16  •  Mar 1, 2013 @9:50 am

    you know what else passed the Senate with a 98-0 vote? Antonin Scalia’s SCOTUS confirmation

    “Or decided that perhaps they’d better not vote against it, that there’s nothing, that there’s no — none of their interests in voting against it.”

    Yeah… oops, U.S. Senate of 1986.

  8. Stephen Stralka  •  Mar 1, 2013 @12:47 pm

    I hope all the conservatives who are always whining about “judicial activism” are taking note here. It’s unlikely that there will ever be a better example of what legislating from the bench really looks like.

  9. Bill Bush  •  Mar 1, 2013 @2:54 pm

    Stralka: +1

  10. uncledad  •  Mar 1, 2013 @3:37 pm

    Isn’t it time for him to go hunting with Dead-eye Dick again?

  11. justme277  •  Mar 1, 2013 @4:08 pm

    Boy howdy, he is the poster boy for WHAT NOT TO DO when picking a justice. Perhaps after all the years of hunting with cheney he might have taken some lead to the head we were never told about? His comments during the heller case are even more disturbing. He demonstrates the total in ability to read a fairly simple sentence and understand it. Or the ability to twist a sentence to suit his own ends.

    The danger we face , frankly on both sides is getting a life time soldier for the cause of either party. I don’t want a judge, especially at that level who is always ready to take one for a political team..I want a judge to be concerned with the LAW..call me silly! Scalia – well lets just say the right has got their $$ worth out of this one.

    I think it is either that he is a lap dog who craves the attention and approval of those who put him there( the “right” in his mind?). He will do what he has to for just one more pat on the head . Perhaps he has immature social skills. So he sees himself as the one all the “cool ” kids use to do their bidding- and after he puts the “kick me ” sign on the kid on crutches he runs back to the “cool” kids to lap up their approval.(if you think behavior like this stops with adulthood you have not met a rightie) or perhaps he goes at his job in this way: What is my position on this from the radical right where I am and how do I twist the law to fit that view? Either way= yikes!

    And look, you wanna talk about a impeachable offense? That hat he wore to Obams’s
    inauguration was just a damn crime. He could have wore justin beibers studded yellow hard hat and looked more sane. Whats next? Red Prada Loafers? Underwear on the OUTSIDE of the robe?

    Can’t wait to hear how he justifies his view on same sex marriage..it ought to be a twisted classic! Somehow I get the feeling the only rights Gays have to equal protection would be how it applys to the second..gay couples can own all the guns they want! There! Problem solve the scalia way!

  12. Riverflow  •  Mar 1, 2013 @7:40 pm

    So now voting is an “entitlement” too? What is not an “entitlement” to Republicans?

    …oh, but perhaps for white voters it isn’t an entitlement–is that what Scalia means? He does after all say “racial entitlement.”

    It just occurred to me–bear with this twisted logic–if Scalia is an “originalist” (a “Constitutional fundamentalist”), then from his POV, blacks being allowed is an entitlement because when the Constitution was written, the framers had no intention of allowing blacks to vote. Blacks voting is therefore a novelty–and so blacks having the right to vote is an “entitlement” that the government offers, but doesn’t HAVE to. Of course, by that same logic, the 19th Amendment is an “entitlement” too. Apparently Scalia believes only white landowners should be able to vote…

  13. Doug  •  Mar 1, 2013 @10:00 pm

    I hear a lot of stupidity in the comments critical of lifetime appointments to the USSC. The idea was and is to immunize the High Court from political pressure from outside the court. And term limits!!! Ummm guess what – those term limits would apply to a brilliant justice capable of persuading the swing vote on the Court to see it his way. You think it would be a good idea if you cut 14 years of service from the term of Thurgood Marsahall? Some of the best Justices on the court were appointed by conservatives – and free of political pressure, they started handing down liberal verdicts – not because they were liberal verdicts but because the US Constitution is a fairly liberal document.

    Yeah, we got some real idiots on the Court now. That’s no reason t change the formula (FDR tried – and the public didn’t approve. In the end it wasn’t necessary.) We have some real good appointments to the Bench. Young ones who will be around over the next few decades to undo the bad decisions we have seen recently. We only need ONE good replacement for one idiot and sanity returns. Don’t talk silly about radical changes worse then the problem. Be patient.

  14. biggerbox  •  Mar 1, 2013 @10:48 pm

    Is it fair to call Scalia an egotistical vindictive toad, or is that an insult to egotistical vindictive toads?

    Listening to the audio released today of Scalia speaking the lines we’d only read before was deeply depressing. He’s oozing with contempt for the VRA, and clearly implies that, for black people, being allowed to vote is some kind of gift, not a fundamental right.

    He really is, as they used to say, “a piece of work.”

  15. Swami  •  Mar 1, 2013 @11:57 pm

    We only need ONE good replacement for one idiot and sanity returns.

    If you replace that idiot— than Clarence will be lost. I guess he can attach himself to Roberts or Alito to help tell him his opinions, but unless a case comes before the court that involves issues of big breasted women than Clarence won’t have enough knowledge to make an informed vote.

  16. Dan  •  Mar 2, 2013 @12:04 am

    Unfortunately, that “one good replacement” may not happen in our lifetimes unless and until we start a campaign of recall elections the country over. THAT is the message Obama should have given in his post-apocalyptic speech today. Until the Senate is safe from the Republican Party, there will not be any change in the SCOTUS. The rational picks by Republican Presidents were quite a while ago, before the RP found it could flex its bully muscles and run the show as a minority.

    Until sanity is returned to both the Senate and House, there will be no economy, to speak of.

  17. Kyle  •  Mar 2, 2013 @2:08 am

    Fat Tony stopped giving a crap about the pretence of “law” years ago. He’s basically Grandpa Simpson, using his position to cram on the country whatever angry, bigoted rant is careening through his skull that day.

  18. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 2, 2013 @7:19 am

    WAY OT.
    And very sad – Bonnie Franklin has passed away:
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/01/showbiz/obit-bonnie-franklin/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

    She was the mother on “One Day At A Time,” a 70′s gritty comedy-drama about a single-mom trying to raise two daughters – Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli (who, as the show went along, matured into a true beauty).
    It was a great show – sad, funny, angry, frustrating, and poignant.

    I don’t know of any comparable network shows, today.

    Maybe it’s because I don’t watch much TV, except for Stewart and Colbert.
    Maybe it’s because there’s little on TV worth watching.
    Maybe it’s because I’m getting old – I’d go yell at some kidz for being on my lawn right now, but the sun hasn’t come up yet, and the little bastards are all still tucked in their beds.

  19. maha  •  Mar 2, 2013 @8:55 am

    What is not an “entitlement” to Republicans?

    Stuff they want.

  20. Swami  •  Mar 2, 2013 @1:38 pm

    Getting rid of a Supreme Court justice is more difficult than getting rid of a toe nail fungus.

  21. Swami  •  Mar 2, 2013 @3:08 pm

    Here’s something worth watching.. It connects on so many levels..

    http://www.ted.com/talks/bryan_stevenson_we_need_to_talk_about_an_injustice.html

  22. AJAY JAIN  •  Mar 8, 2013 @1:56 pm

    The Voting Rights Act (VRA) must be upheld by the supreme court: Discrimination is alive today unfortunately; Liberty and justice for all is openly sabotaged and the Supreme Court is inviting trouble of great magnitudnal proportions if it dares to fail its ultimate mandate: to uphold everyone’s constitutional rights.

    We not only need to keep the protections in the current Voting Rights Act (VRA), it should be expanded. The numerous despicable attempts to restrict voting made during the last election cycle are proof of that. Anyone who truly believes the VRA is obsolete needs to recognize, given last year’s voter suppression efforts, the Jim Crowe era is biding its time, lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to rear its head once again.

    If properly educated and aroused to stand up against Supreme Court activism from the bench the entire nation will speak against it because the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is not about political parties; the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is about individual rights protection. Bank on it! it is time to review; the Supreme Court’s Justice Scalia’s attack on VRA as ” racial entitlements” will not stand the test of time. If the Supreme Court does not uphold the Voting Rights ACT it is no longer acting as an unbiased institution and that, its Justices, can be challenged in public. Supreme Court Justices, get up and do your job or we will make it happen! Count on it!

    Now Even if you are dumb enough to believe that all is OK with the world and there are no reasons to have the voting rights act on the books. Then why are the the parties at opposite end’s on this ? Why are the Republicans in America trying to keep people from the poles ? Well I will tell you what I think. I think there may be a dozen or two, man and women (Billionaires) in America that have the means to buy the power it wants to call all shots in this Country. The only way they can obtain this right now is get the people they want in office. To buy them so to say. But they know they can be stopped at the voting polls as proven in the 2012 election. They know the more that get out and vote there chances are reduced substantially.

    Commentator George Will knows this and should be ashamed of his views on VRA. He says VRA is 47 years old. Is that old ? I don’t think so. Look at the constitution, at that II Amendment a lot older right. SS, Medicare, still very new in the big picture. But look at who wants to change them. Not working men and women, no the big bosses. They do not like to match payments that is what this is all about. They did not like it back in the 1930s and they do not like it now. So Americans do not be fooled by the right wing opposition and all of you older people that now have this little benefit fight like h— to keep it just as it is. It just might be all there is between eating and striving !!

    The argument is that VRA is discriminatory against Southern states to require them but not other states to seek pre-clearance for voting laws; I actually agree. The Voting Rights Act should require *all* states to seek pre-clearance. After what we’ve seen the GOP try to pass in states all across the nation prior to the last 2012 election, I see no reason this safeguard against voter suppression should be limited to just Southern states as suggested by VRA of 1965 but now should be expanded to apply to ALL 50 states.

    It is urgent that whoever can go to the Supreme Court and organize peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience protests in front of the Supreme Court ASAP to do so right away!



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