Class Warfare Blog

February 17, 2016

But the Legal Bullshit Lives On

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away recently, but unfortunately the form of interpretation of the Constitution he invented did not die with him. Scalia formulated and promoted a view of the Constitution (“originalism”) such that it should be interpreted only as it was understood to mean when it was drafted 227 years ago. Notwithstanding the fact that the drafters of said document said over and over they wanted to have a living document. The framers even included a process by which the Constitution could be amended, and then went ahead and amended the thing ten times within the first couple of years of its existence.

To limit the Constitution to what it meant to the citizens of the time is bizarre. Consider if we interpreted theories of physics or medicine in such a way today. We would be talking about humours, vapors, and “bad air” along with spooky action at a distance and the ether. To have a politically guiding document locked into a time frame is counter to nature and all of reality. The only constant in our existence is change and the Constitution was planned to allow for it. It even created a national supreme court to interpret what it meant and did not limit that court to interpretations of what it meant to the founders. If that was what they wanted, don’t you think they would have said so?

Even Justice Scalia participated in the creation of “new constitutional rights,” something he said should not be possible without a formal amendment. Justice Scalia even re-interpreted 100 years of the high court’s rulings to create the right of individuals to bear arms (Heller). Basically he claimed all of those famous jurists of the past, along with the founders, didn’t mean what they said. To take the late justice’s opinion literally, women should still not be able to vote, Black people should still be in chains, corporations shouldn’t possess freedom of speech, and money shouldn’t be a form of free speech. That those are no longer the case is based upon our ability to change our Constitution’s meaning from what it meant when it was written.

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12 Comments »

  1. To this day I am convinced that Scalia’s creation of original intent was merely his way of saying he wasn’t going to obligate himself to any change that didn’t involve white, wealthy, aristocratic landowners.

    Comment by lbwoodgate — February 17, 2016 @ 10:49 am | Reply

    • I don’t think he thought in such broad terms, but if corporations were limited to what they were back then … (the Plymouth Colony was a corporate effort) then corporations would be people, so clearly his thinking wasn’t limited in the way he advocated others to think. I am always leery of people who suggest how it is we should think, especially those who still believe in the existence of the Devil (Scalia did).

      On Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 10:49 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2016 @ 11:51 am | Reply

    • I’d rather they could spell cognitive.

      PS Your book got delivered, old man, somewhat disappointed in the quality of the printing of the cover. Such a gorgeous image rendered more than a little muddy (one of the drawbacks of on demand publishing). Back to the rule of three: fast, high quality, cheap and you can only have two at best.

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2016 @ 11:54 am | Reply

      • I might be to blame for the cover. I deepened the colours. It looked good on the screen, but a little washed out in real life. Thanks again for that, too.

        Comment by john zande — February 17, 2016 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

        • Screens are back lit and always appear brighter. This is a major problem for people designing “print” materials which is why for fine printing, the designer must be there working with the printer.

          On Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 12:34 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2016 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  2. I’m with you, though I feel changes should be weighed carefully. Not that I’d think you were advocating otherwise…

    Times change, people change. People tend to lag behind the times.

    Comment by shelldigger — February 17, 2016 @ 11:18 am | Reply

    • ‘Struth!

      On Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 11:18 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2016 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  3. At least he was consistent. I theorize that Scalia, a faith-deranged Catholic, felt the “Bible” was also a text on which to practice originalism.

    Comment by drakodoc — February 17, 2016 @ 11:18 am | Reply

    • Well, he is on record saying he believes in the literal Devil, a being in form who moves about the earth.

      Comment by john zande — February 17, 2016 @ 11:48 am | Reply

      • Maybe the Devil made him do it! Or maybe the Devil finally got him?

        On Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 11:48 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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        Comment by Steve Ruis — February 17, 2016 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  4. Notwithstanding the fact that the drafters of said document said over and over they wanted to have a living document. The framers even included a process by which the Constitution could be amended, and then went ahead and amended the thing ten times within the first couple of years of its existence.

    LOL! Can anyone spell DISSONANCE?

    Comment by john zande — February 17, 2016 @ 11:47 am | Reply


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