Thursday, February 28, 2013

So Much For Originalism

Antonin Scalia is revered by the hard-core rightists for his self-described and oft-touted Constitutional "originalism." Funny thing about that: in the arguments regarding the Voting Rights Act, the dishonesty of that view of him was revealed. Not that it hadn't already, many times, as he's steadily dropped any pretense of political impartiality over the years.

The Reagan-appointed jurist said lawmakers keep reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act out of fear of political repercussions. In a sarcastic tone, he described it as odd that congressional renewal has passed with growing margins over the years in spite of the fact that racism is widely acknowledged to have become less severe in the covered jurisdictions since 1965.
The core struggle in the case is between the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law, and the 15th Amendment, which tasks Congress with enforcing a ban on discriminatory voting laws.
Scalia signaled that he fears Section 5 will be repeatedly reauthorized into perpetuity, regardless of whether it’s justified, unless the courts step in.
“This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress,” he said. (Emphasis added.)

Yeah, well, see, the thing is, turns out the Constitution has actually weighed in on the matter:

Amendment XV: “SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”  (Emphasis added again, in case the point is too subtle.)
What a phony asshole. Who me, legislate from the bench?

[Image source]

1 comment:

AlisonH said...

It is breathtaking to me that one whose very career and standing stems from his applying the Constitution to the laws of the land at hand does not know that that Constitution can disagree with his personal partisanship. That, fer cryin' out loud, he didn't *write* the darn thing and he cannot rewrite it.

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