Skip to comments.Justice Scalia: “A Living Constitution Doesn’t Exist” [Speech at Texas A&M]
Posted on 05/05/2005 3:22:31 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
May 5, 2005 Criticizing those who believe the Constitution should be flexible and adapted to modern times, Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Thursday during a speech at Texas A&M University that there is no such thing as the living Constitution.
Scalia was speaking as part of the Twanna M. Powell Lecture at the George Bush Presidential Conference Center.
Im what you call an originalist, one who believes the Constitution should be interpreted exactly as it was adopted, Scalia added.
It should be interpreted as it was written nothing more, nothing less. Rights do not grow smaller or larger. Some legal experts say you have to interpret the Constitution broadly, but thats not true under any circumstance.
Scalia, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, added, You hear the phrase the living Constitution and that its a living document. Im a believer in the dead Constitution. Maybe we should better phrase it the enduring Constitution.
The Constitution is not a living document. Its a legal document, and legal documents do not change.
Scalia said that such controversial subjects as the death penalty and abortion are really not Constitutional issues because theres not one word about them in the Constitution. People who believe in a living Constitution would like to see such things as un-Constitutional.
The Constitution, he added, does exactly what its supposed to do: It provides stability, he said.
Bush , when introducing Scalia, said that he was a free spirit and deep thinker. He shares his views openly, and he is certainly thought-provoking.
Among the overflow crowd to hear Scalia were members of the Texas Supreme Court, the Fifth Court of Circuit Appeals and numerous federal and state judges.
A native of Trenton, N.J., Scalia graduated from Harvard Law School and was a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University. He was also a law professor at the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago and visiting law professor at Stanford and Georgetown. He served the federal government as General Counsel of the Office of Telecommunications Policy and was appointed judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia in 1982.
He and his wife, Maureen, have nine children.
Scalia, who was approved as a Supreme Court justice by a vote of 98-0, said such approval would never happen today. Congress wants moderates and a moderate interpretation of the Constitution. The living Constitution idea is seductive to the man on the street, and even to some judges.
But we must apply the words as they were originally written and we must be bound by their original meaning. We must think of what the words are and what the words meant when the people adopted them.
The Constitution doesnt morph to be what we want it to be.
Scalia said if there were one change he could make to the Constitution, it would be to make amendments to it an easier process.
Amendments are not easy to do, he added.
They must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. But someone figured out that with the population disparity of states today, only two percent of the total population could prevent an amendment from being passed. Its very difficult to get an amendment passed.
That is the way it should be! Whoever came up with the idea of "flexible constitution" should be deported, or if not, be defrocked as a Justice or Judge and thrown out!!!
What I can't stand is the way the left uses the term "living document" as if it meant "alive and well." Yes, it's alive and well. And it means exactly what it did the day each article and amendment were ratified. Nothing more, nothing less.
"Rights do not grow smaller or larger."
How is this squared with the 9th amendment?
Thanks for the post; it is heartening. Why do I not expect to hear about it in the msm? Get all my news from FR. Thanks again.
The Constitution does discuss the death penalty. Life and limb, etc... I'm uncomfortable with his assertion that it doesn't.
Don't you mean he thinks he is the inventor of the Constitution? clap clap clap
Excellent, Justice Scalia, Excellent. You are a great, true American. You are a wonderful ally on the Supreme Court, along with Rehnquist and Thomas.
I'd love to see a transcript of the whole speech. Better yet, I would have liked to have been there.
The U.S. Constitution is like the Ten Commandments...
The Rock upon which those who hate freedom ..break themselves
' It should be interpreted as it was written nothing more, nothing less."
That is the way it should be! Whoever came up with the idea of "flexible constitution" should be deported, or if not, be defrocked as a Justice or Judge and thrown out!!!'
How does that square with the idea that orginally man/men were white, male and over 21?
All libs will hate this speech, and probably disagree with Scalia as new Chief Justice. It is refreshing to hear someone back the original document...not a MSM thing
Hoorah for Justice Scalia! Now tell that to Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and the rest of the Socialist Democrats and all Progressives who want to tamper with this incredible document. The United States Constitution is Etched in Granite!
Be tied for treason.
sorry - tried -
I'll bet those who subscribe to a living Constitution believe the same about the Bible. That is the reason so many who call themselves Christians promote same-sex marriage and abortion.
"The Constitution does discuss the death penalty"
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