Tuesday, September 30, 2008



America’s liberty depends upon the United States Supreme Court. It is the highest judicial institution in the land. Some say it is the most powerful Court in the world. While we here at Reason, Commerce, Justice & Free Beer withhold our judgment as to the Supreme Court’s international influence, we proudly recognize the Supreme Court for its vital role in protecting liberty for all Americans. Our Supreme Court desegregated our schools, required police to advise arrested people that they may remain silent and asserted power over Congress by invalidating laws that violate core constitutional principles. In short, our Supreme Court is daring. Justices stand for principle, not just the political party that put them in power. Our Framers were very wise in creating a branch of government dedicated solely to defending the spirit of our basic charter.

Today, Supreme Court justices carry on that principled tradition. They approach constitutional issues with reason, courage and calm, rational detachment. They never allow their emotions, politics or religious beliefs to interfere with their judgment. By avoiding conflict on the bench, the Court projects a unified front that transcends petty Washington infighting. After all, the Constitution endures through the centuries; Congressional majorities and Presidencies do not. Because justices put their trust in enduring principle, they avoid the divisive, mean-spirited partisanism that so poisons contemporary political dialogue. The Supreme Court has dignity. It does not descend into shouting matches between Republicans and Democrats.

In today’s edition, we are proud to present a piece written by eminent Supreme Court associate justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia is world renowned for his cogent opinions and historical approach to constitutional interpretation. He takes inspiration from our Nation’s founders and often cites sources from their generation in order to understand what our Constitution means. Justice Scalia understands that it is his responsibility to tell us what the words in the Constitution mean. He is the justice. We are just observers. We may think we understand the principles embodied in the Constitution—they are in English, after all—but Justice Scalia looks beyond the language to give us the full story. We are grateful for his insights.

Justice Scalia also understands the value of professional collegiality. For better or worse, Justice Scalia shares decisionmaking power on the Supreme Court with eight other justices. In order to maintain the Court’s unified image, it is essential for each justice to maintain good relationships with his colleagues. Rapport, respect and constructive dialogue all play a role in the Court’s unique interpretive role. Justice Scalia knows this, and he cares deeply about his work in shaping our Nation’s liberty through constitutional interpretation. He knows that he cannot produce lasting judicial contributions without closely working with his fellow justices. We applaud him for his selfless approach to our constitutional tradition. In an era of increasing disrespect in America, Justice Scalia’s concern for professional cooperation should command our praise.

Justice Scalia does not shy away from publicity. He is a man of principle, and he is not ashamed to voice his opinions. He puts his faith in the American people to make decisions, not courts. He does not believe he should decide policy questions. But he is not afraid to decide policy questions when he feels that constitutional principle compels him to do so. Similarly, he believes the Court should stand by its previous decisions, unless he disagrees with those decisions.

As in any interpretive discipline, jurists on the United States Supreme Court will occasionally disagree. There is always more than one way to interpret a principle. But when Justice Scalia disagrees with a colleague over a constitutional issue, he is always certain to maintain the Court’s dignity. We salute Justice Scalia not only for his intellectual powers, but also for his commitment to dignity on the bench. In an increasingly acrimonious political climate, Justice Scalia rises above the din with principle and honor. We hope that you—our readers—take heart in his wise words about the value of professional collegiality in our Nation’s most significant constitutional institution.

Introducing : The Justice Antonin Scalia Doctrine for Insulting, Degrading, Denigrating and Humiliating Your Professional Colleagues

By : Antonin G. Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Seat 10 (1986-present); Law Professor, University of Chicago School of Law (1977-1982)

Many people have said many things about the United States Constitution. But no one really knows the men who wrote it in 1787. We can only look at the documents and the language they left behind. We can try to understand what they thought and felt about the words they used, but it is an imperfect enterprise. And one thing is certain: The Framers had very different values than those we hold today.

Yet all too often in modern American life, people call for us—the United States Supreme Court—to rewrite the Constitution. That is not our job. Our job is simply to say what the Framers wrote in 1787. If the people want to change the Constitution, all they have to do is follow the rules in Article V. I’m not going to get into the technical requirements, but let me tell you: It can be done. We’ve already done it 27 times since 1787.

I believe in the American people. I will not strike down laws enacted by democratic majorities unless two things are true: (1) the law clearly violates exact words in the Constitution; and (2) I strongly disagree with the law. Obviously requirement (2) is more important. This is what my “colleagues” on the bench will never understand.

Between the 1950s and early 1970s, the Supreme Court made some truly shocking decisions. Ignoring Congress and the States, several landmark decisions desegregated public schools, granted free lawyers to indigent defendants in criminal cases at taxpayer expense, required States to suppress evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment, imposed burdensome obligations on arresting officers to recite slogans about remaining silent after apprehending suspects, permitted child murder, banned State funding for religion, and required States to adopt a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard before convicting criminal defendants. Nothing in the Constitution mandates any of these things. Yet the Court stepped in and “created law.” And don’t forget: No one elects Supreme Court justices. These judicial rogues essentially rewrote the Constitution without approval from the people.

This is not what Supreme Court justices do. We are here to say what the Constitution means, not to invent liberal nonsense from the bench. We are here to recite the words as they were understood in 1787, not to “guess” what they “probably” mean “today.” The Constitution is not “organic;” it is archaic, and that is just the way it is supposed to be. But all too many justices—even today—staunchly defend the judicial piracy practiced between the 50s and early 70s, labeling decisions from that era “advances in liberty.” They are all a bunch of ill-informed, stupid idiots who don’t know a goddamned thing about this Constitution or the men who wrote it.

I am talking especially about Justice Stevens, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Souter, Justice Breyer and sometimes Justice Kennedy. You guys have made some pretty dumb-ass decisions over the years, let me tell you. Collegiality is essential on the Court, but when you are as dumb as these cretins, different rules apply. Let me give a few examples.

I am collegial with Chief Justice Roberts because he agrees with me, but Justice Stevens—yeah, right. This wheezy son-of-a-bitch has his 88-year-old head up his ass. Just last term, he wrote that “State-sanctioned killing is becoming more and more anachronistic” in a case involving lethal injection. What the hell are you talking about, you shriveled-up piece of shit? You think “State-sanctioned killing” is “anachronistic?” States executed hundreds of people last year. That’s last year, not 500 years ago. You call last year “anachronistic?” What are you, stupid? In my dissent, I told Justice Stevens that he “blatantly disregarded,” “totally ignored” and “grossly mischaracterized” every single case bearing on the issue. Of course, that is the kind of language I use in formal opinions, but what I really meant was: “Are you really as stupid as you look? Yo’ mama so old she went shopping at the Roman Circus.”

What gets me is that dumbasses like Justice Stevens really think they are right. In some cases, he gets four of my “colleagues” to go along with his bullshit. Normally I am very collegial, but when four of my “colleagues” actually believe what Justice Stevens has to say, I make some exceptions. I will call them “freakin’ morons” in special footnotes—and I am not afraid to name names. When it comes to the Constitution, I do not tolerate stupidity. Sure, it is important to have a disagreement once in a while, but anybody who agrees with Justice Stevens must be mentally ill. And I’ve said that in conference before, too.

Sometimes I will call Justice Stevens an idiot even in cases I win. Last year, I got to write the opinion that gave Americans the right to carry pistols to defend themselves. In my opinion, I basically told Justice Stevens that he was imagining things again when he suggested the Second Amendment presupposes that the American people only have the right to “bear arms” in connection with service in a State militia. Huh? What dictionary are you reading from, you senile old bastard? This is the thing I really hate about these so-called Supreme Court justices: They read words and tell you what they “think” they mean. That is not our job. Unlike Justice Stevens, I actually know what the Framers meant when they wrote the words. And when they wrote: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” it is perfectly obvious what they were talking about. It’s not brain surgery; I just recited what the words mean: “The State can’t make it illegal to carry a pistol, militia or no militia.” Of course, I also said you need to have a “self-defense reason” to carry the pistol, but how difficult is it to say you’re defending yourself?

In essence, we currently have at least four justices on the Court who don’t have the slightest idea what they are doing. Justice Kennedy is a butthead. My dog is smarter than Justice Souter. It’s a wonder Justice Ginsburg graduated from high school. Justice Breyer is about as smart as my left ass-cheek. And Justice Stevens is in a class by himself for pure imbecility. These morons are disrespecting the American people by “inventing” rights that appear nowhere in the Constitution and that no legislature ever considered. Rather than reversing the constitutional errors committed in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, these idiots actually defend them. Ironically, they think they are protecting liberty when they do this. In fact, they are perpetuating judicial piracy and hoodwinking the American people. We don’t make policy. We only invalidate policy when we don’t like it. There is a big difference there.

Our Supreme Court is an extremely important institution in the American social order. We are a voice of wisdom, restraint, tradition and principle. We work well together, provided we can exclude Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer. I am always collegial with Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas and Justice Alito. These great jurists understand that the Court does not stand for piracy, but sober judicial interpretation. Obviously I accord maximal collegiality to these men. Their intellectual powers and rhetorical flair—especially Justice Thomas’—make them centerpieces in the fight for constitutional liberty.

In a time gone by, our Founding Fathers believed in liberty. Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas, Justice Alito and I understand that, and we took an oath to protect the Framers’ dreams. They envisioned a land where every man could participate in commerce without undue interference. And they envisioned a land where States could govern with minimal restraint, consistent with time-honored traditions such as the death penalty and interrogation. They did not envision a Supreme Court with powers equal to Congress. Nor did they envision a Supreme Court that “invented” rights designed to further a post-modern liberal agenda.

I do not respect anyone who thinks the Constitution means anything other than what it meant in 1787. I am not afraid to stand for principle, and that means I am not afraid to insult, degrade and denigrate anyone who disagrees with me. This is my doctrine. As important as collegiality may be in constitutional debates, it must be earned. I am collegial with justices, lower court judges and even laymen if they respect tradition (as I understand it) in the Constitution. I am not collegial with justices, lower court judges or laymen if they think the Constitution is simply a “framework” in which to invent fantastic rights such as the right to “commit consensual sodomy in one’s own home.” The Framers would have been outraged by such a proposition, and so am I. Anyone who suggests such constitutional abominations does not deserve collegiality. He deserves to be called a stupid-ass punk. And that is exactly what I will call you if that’s what you think.

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