Skip to comments.Scalia: What a massive disruption of the social order this ruling entails.
Posted on 06/26/2003 7:37:38 PM PDT by nwrep
Scalia: What a massive disruption of the social order ... this ruling entails.
Read below one of the most brilliant defenses of traditional values, morality and conventions that have governed civilization for the past 5000 years. Judge Scalia is a national treasure:
Excerpted from his dissent in today's sodomy ruling:
I begin with the Court s surprising readiness to recon- sider a decision rendered a mere 17 years ago in Bowers v. Hardwick .I do not myself believe in rigid adherence to stare decisis in constitutional cases;but I do believe that we should be consistent rather than manipulative in invoking the doctrine.Today s opinions in support of reversal do not bother to distinguish or indeed,even bother to mention the paean to stare decisis coauthored by three Members of today s majority in Planned Parent- hood v.Casey.
There,when stare decisis meant preserva- tion of judicially invented abortion rights,the widespread criticism of Roe was strong reason to reaffirm it: Where,in the performance of its judicial duties,the Court decides a case in such a way as to resolve the sort of intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe [,] ....its decision has a dimension that the resolu- tion of the normal case does not carry....[T ]o over- rule under fire in the absence of the most compelling reason ...would subvert the Court s legitimacy be- yond any serious question.505 U.S.,at 866 867.
Today s approach to stare decisis invites us to overrule an erroneously decided precedent (including an intensely divisive decision))if:(1)its foundations have been eroded by subsequent decisions,ante ,at 15;(2)it has been subject to substantial and continuing criticism,,ibid.;and (3)it has not induced individual or societal reliance that counsels against overturning,ante ,at 16.
The problem is that Roe itself which today s majority surely has no disposition to overrule satisfies these conditions to at least the same degree as Bowers.
I do not quarrel with the Court s claim that Romer v. Evans ,517 U.S.620 (1996),eroded the foundations of Bowers rational--basis holding. See Romer ,supra ,at 640 643 (SCALIA,J.,dissenting).) But Roe and Casey have been equally eroded by Washington v.Glucksberg ,521 U.S.702,721 (1997),which held that only fundamental rights which are deeply rooted in this Nation s history and tradition qualify for anything other than rational basis scrutiny under the doctrine of substantive due process.Roe and Casey ,of course,subjected the restric- tion of abortion to heightened scrutiny without even at- tempting to establish that the freedom to abort was rooted in this Nation s tradition.
We ourselves relied extensively on Bowers when we concluded,in Barnes v.Glen Theatre, Inc.,501 U.S.560,569 (1991),that Indiana s public inde- cency statute furthered a substantial government interest in protecting order and morality,ibid.,(plurality opinion); see also id.,at 575 (SCALIA,J.,concurring in judgment). State laws against bigamy,same-sex marriage,adult incest,prostitution,masturbation,adultery,fornication, bestiality,and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers validation of laws based on moral choices.. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today s decision;the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.
The impossibility of distinguish- ing homosexuality from other traditional morals offenses is precisely why Bowers rejected the rational-basis chal- lenge.The law, it said,,is constantly based on notions of morality,and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause,the courts will be very busy indeed.478 U.S.,at 196.
What a massive disruption of the current social order, therefore,the overruling of Bowers entails.Not so the overruling of Roe ,which would simply have restored the regime that existed for centuries before 1973,in which the permissibility of and restrictions upon abortion were determined legislatively State-by-State.Casey ,however, chose to base its stare decisis determination on a different sort of reliance..[P ]eople,it said,have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society,in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contracep- tion should fail.505 U.S.,at 856.
This falsely assumes that the consequence of overruling Roe would have been to make abortion unlawful.It would not;it would merely have permitted the States to do so.Many States would unquestionably have declined to prohibit abortion,and others would not have prohibited it within six months (after which the most significant reliance interests would have expired).
Even for persons in States other than these,the choice would not have been between abortion and childbirth,but between abortion nearby and abortion in a neighboring State.
To tell the truth,it does not surprise me,and should surprise no one,that the Court has chosen today to revise the standards of stare decisis set forth in Casey .It has thereby exposed Casey s extraordinary deference to prece- dent for the result-oriented expedient that it is.
Texas Penal Code Ann.§21.06(a)(2003)undoubtedly imposes constraints on liberty.So do laws prohibiting prostitution,recreational use of heroin,and,for that mat- ter,working more than 60 hours per week in a bakery. But there is no right to liberty under the Due Process Clause,though today s opinion repeatedly makes that claim.Ante ,at 6 (The liberty protected by the Constitu- tion allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice );ante ,at 13 (These matters ...are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment );ante , at 17 (Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct with- out intervention of the government ).
The Fourteenth Amendment expressly allows States to deprive their citi- zens of liberty,so long as due process of law is provided: No state shall ...deprive any person of life,liberty, or property,without due process of law .Amdt.14 (emphasis added).
Our opinions applying the doctrine known as substan- tive due process hold that the Due Process Clause pro- hibits States from infringing fundamental liberty inter- ests,unless the infringement is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest.Washington v.Glucksberg , 521 U.S.,at 721.We have held repeatedly,in cases the Court today does not overrule,that only fundamental rights qualify for this so-called heightened scrutiny protection that is,rights which are deeply rooted in this Nation s history and tradition,.
Finally,I turn to petitioners equal-protection challenge, which no Member of the Court save JUSTICE O CONNOR, ante ,at 1 (opinion concurring in judgment),embraces:On its face §21.06(a)applies equally to all persons.Men and women,heterosexuals and homosexuals,are all subject to its prohibition of deviate sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex.To be sure,§21.06 does distinguish be- tween the sexes insofar as concerns the partner with whom the sexual acts are performed:men can violate the law only with other men,and women only with other women.But this cannot itself be a denial of equal protec-tion,since it is precisely the same distinction regarding partner that is drawn in state laws prohibiting marriage with someone of the same sex while permitting marriage with someone of the opposite sex.
The objection is made,however,that the antimiscegena- tion laws invalidated in Loving v.Virginia ,388 U.S.1,8 (1967),similarly were applicable to whites and blacks alike,and only distinguished between the races insofar as the partner was concerned.In Loving ,however,we cor- rectly applied heightened scrutiny,rather than the usual rational-basis review,because the Virginia statute was designed to maintain White Supremacy.Id.,at 6,11.A racially discriminatory purpose is always sufficient to subject a law to strict scrutiny,even a facially neutral law that makes no mention of race.See Washington v.Davis , 426 U.S.229,241 242 (1976).No purpose to discriminate against men or women as a class can be gleaned from the Texas law,so rational-basis review applies.That review is readily satisfied here by the same rational basis that satisfied it in Bowers society s belief that certain forms of sexual behavior are immoral and unacceptable,478 U.S.,at 196.This is the same justification that supports many other laws regulating sexual behavior that make a distinction based upon the identity of the partner for example,laws against adultery,fornication,and adult incest,and laws refusing to recognize homosexual marriage.
Today s opinion is the product of a Court,which is the product of a law-profession culture,that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda,by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists di- rected at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.I noted in an earlier opinion the fact that the American Association of Law Schools (to which any reputable law school must seek to belong)excludes from membership any school that refuses to ban from its job-interview facilities a law firm (no matter how small)that does not wish to hire as a prospective partner a person who openly engages in homo- sexual conduct.See Romer ,supra ,at 653.
One of the most revealing statements in today s opinion is the Court s grim warning that the criminalization of homosexual conduct is an invitation to subject homosex- ual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres.Ante ,at 14.It is clear from this that the Court has taken sides in the culture war,departing from its role of assuring,as neutral observer,that the demo- cratic rules of engagement are observed.Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business,as scoutmasters for their children,as teachers in their children s schools,or as boarders in their home.They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.The Court views it as discrimination which it is the function of our judg- ments to deter. So imbued is the Court with the law profession s anti-anti-homosexual culture,that it is seem- ingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously mainstream ;that in most States what the Court calls discrimination against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal;that proposals to ban such discrimination under Title VII have repeatedly been rejected by Congress.
Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexu- als,or any other group,promoting their agenda through normal democratic means.Social perceptions of sexual and other morality change over time,and every group has the right to persuade its fellow citizens that its view of such matters is the best.That homosexuals have achieved some success in that enterprise is attested to by the fact that Texas is one of the few remaining States that crimi- nalize private,consensual homosexual acts.But per- suading one s fellow citizens is one thing,and imposing one s views in absence of democratic majority will is some- thing else.I would no more require a State to criminalize homosexual acts or,for that matter,display any moral disapprobation of them than I would forbid it to do so. What Texas has chosen to do is well within the range of traditional democratic action,and its hand should not be stayed through the invention of a brand-new constitu- tional right by a Court that is impatient of democratic change.It is indeed true that later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress,ante ,at 18;and when that happens,later generations can repeal those laws.But it is the premise of our system that those judgments are to be made by the people,and not imposed by a governing caste that knows best.
The matters appropriate for this Court s resolution are only three:Texas s prohibition of sodomy neither infringes a fundamental right ((which the Court does not dispute), nor is unsupported by a rational relation to what the Constitution considers a legitimate state interest,nor denies the equal protection of the laws.I dissent.
Nope. It took a Constitiutiional amendment to make Prohibition the NATIONAL law of the land. There were plenty of dry towns and dry counties and even dry states BEFORE "Prohibition," and those "dry laws" were NOT found unconstitutional (nor are they now).
Two men having sex (and hetrosexual anal sex) spreads disease. Since medical problems, and their costs have been socialized, it affects me directly in the pocketbook.
Prostitution should remain illegal for similar reasons - it causes societal and medical problems.
But this ruling can easily be used to cover "comercial" sex - why not?
That it was, but to use it to implement restrictions upon lower level governments through the adoption of policy at the national level achieves limitation only by the exercise of power elsewhere. Clarence Thomas said it best - the Texas law itself was inane and "silly," but it was not the right of the federal government to exercise a greater power of its own to determine policy for the state of Texas.
If a state oversteps its bounds, it is in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to rule that such a law is unconstitutional.
Actually, as originally intended by the founders, Supreme Court jurisdiction to infringe upon the states was extremely limited and belonged only to matters where their jurisdictions crossed or came into dispute. Even the pro-national government federalist John Marshall upheld that belief in some of his rulings.
You know, lots of blacks have a great fear of "state's rights" because it became a euphemism for unlawful forced segregation even of state institutions(and unlawful forced segregation upon PRIVATE institutions, as well.)
Aside from that statement's complete irrelevance to the constitutional issue of the sodomy law, history tells us that absolutely no necessary connection ties the concept of states rights to segregation. Where they two crossed was experientially so only for a now-concluded period of history.
As for the relationship between states rights and race among the founding fathers, several of the doctrine's leading advocates were also anti-slavery. Luther Martin, the recognized leader of the states righters at the Constitutional Convention, refused to support the document largely because it made no plan to abolish slavery. Richard Henry Lee of Declaration of Independence fame, a leading states righter and anti-federalist, had previously championed anti-slave trade legislation in the Virginia legislature. St. George Tucker, a states righter from the Annapolis Convention and well regarded legal commentator on the Constitution, also penned a proposal to abolish slavery.
I'm not sure what you mean by "was," but it was definitely absolutely illegal when I was there in 2000.