Scalia: We Have No Power To Invalidate Legislation Except When I Don’t Like It

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photo of Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Antonin Scalia: Hypocritical Asshat

In his dissent in United States v. Windsor, Justice Antonin Scalia once again showed he lacks any judicial values beyond his selfish ends. His reasoning for dissenting basically came down to his view that the court lacked the power to invalidate a law democratically adopted. Yet he found no such concern in invalidating the Voting Rights Act yesterday. It is obvious that his personal view of the law determines if he thinks the court has the power to give a ruling. In my world that is known as being a hypocritical asshat.

“We have no power to decide this case,” Scalia wrote. “And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.”

“That is jaw-dropping. It is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s Representatives in Congress and the Executive,” he wrote, adding that the framers of the Constitution created a judicial branch with limited power in order to “guard their right to self-rule against the black-robed supremacy that today’s majority finds so attractive.”

Scalia Rages Against Supreme Court’s Gay Rights Ruling

As The Nation noted:

In his dissent in the Defense of Marriage Act case today, Justice Scalia wrote: “We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.”

Justice Roberts wrote in his concurrence: “I agree with Justice Scalia that this Court lacks jurisdiction to review the decisions of the courts below… I also agree with Justice Scalia that Congress acted constitutionally in passing the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Yet that reasoning didn’t stop Justices Roberts and Scalia from striking down the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act yesterday, a hugely important civil rights law that has been passed by Congress five times with overwhelming bipartisan approval. Why didn’t the court defer to Congress on the VRA, which has a far more robust Congressional history/mandate than DOMA? And how did Roberts and Scalia reach such contradictory conclusions in the different cases?

The Supreme Court’s Constitutional Hypocrisy

Someone in the comments of a blog post I read today noted that the reason the decisions are different is because the Corporate Oligarchs don’t care about gay marriage but minority voting threatens their business dealings.

That makes more sense than Scalia’s reasons in this case.


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