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U.S. Supreme Court justice: 'Constitution is a static being'
The Chicago Tribune ^ | February 13, 2012 | Alexandra Chachkevitch

Posted on 02/13/2012 9:07:35 PM PST by lex33

Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday touted his approach to interpreting the federal Constitution that focuses on the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Scalia, a former University of Chicago law professor, called the “originalism” method “the lesser evil.” “I don’t have to prove [it’s] perfect. The question is whether it’s better than everything else,” said Scalia, who addressed about 400 people at the University of Chicago Law School. Originalism was behind his reasoning in a 2008Ö Supreme Court case that upheld the individual’s right to possess a firearm, he said. Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the case and argued that the Constitution’s specific language referred to possessing a firearm as a pre-existing right. The court’s longest-serving justice, Scalia said he focuses on historical details and the original meaning of the Constitution to make his decisions, which may not always coincide with his own opinions. “The Constitution is a static being,” said Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Opponents of originalism, who include fellow Justice Stephen Breyer, say that the Constitution was meant to be more flexible and adaptive to the changing times. Some phrases in the Constitution, such as “cruel and unusual” criminal punishment, are too broad to be interpreted as a specific permanent rule that does not allow for interpretation, critics of originalism say. The Ninth Amendment, which protects the rights that the Founding Fathers did not list, is also cited as an argument against the originalism approach. “Maybe there is a right to abortion,” Scalia said, answering a question from one of the students. “[The founders] didn’t specify, but they didn’t leave it up to the courts to do it either.”

(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: scalia

1 posted on 02/13/2012 9:07:47 PM PST by lex33
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To: lex33
“I don’t have to prove [it’s] perfect. The question is whether it’s better than everything else”
It’d only be godless leftists that think humans can achieve perfection by themselves . . .
2 posted on 02/13/2012 9:10:08 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: lex33

Thank God for men like him.


3 posted on 02/13/2012 9:14:23 PM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: lex33

The Constitution is old and outdated, just ask Ginsburg.


4 posted on 02/13/2012 9:17:30 PM PST by bgill (Romney & Obama are both ineligible. A non-NBC GOP prez shuts down all ?s on Obama's admin)
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To: bgill

I imagine that old gasbag, Ginsberg, feels the same way about the Ten Commandments. She took that “have it your way” thing seriously.


5 posted on 02/13/2012 9:20:31 PM PST by FlingWingFlyer (Who will subsidize BIG government when "the rich" are all taxed out?)
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To: lex33
Opponents of originalism, who include fellow Justice Stephen Breyer, say that the Constitution was meant to be more flexible and adaptive to the changing times.

Flexible and adaptive as defined by who?
It is a pact by the American people describing how they want their government to operate.
It is not up to the government or any of it's branches to redefine the instructions. Just follow them as written.

6 posted on 02/13/2012 9:27:38 PM PST by oldbrowser (They are Marxists, don't call them democrats)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

“I imagine that old gasbag, Ginsberg, feels the same way about the Ten Commandments. She took that “have it your way” thing seriously.”

The old hag is just Obama in a skirt. She no more believes in the Constitution than does Obama. If the Court had a couple more like her, with Obama they would obliterate this country’s foundations. They both hate it!


7 posted on 02/13/2012 9:28:43 PM PST by vette6387
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To: lex33

I agree with much of what Scalia says-—except really-—he thinks there is a “right” to kill a baby in the womb when science tells us it is a human being and has an inalienable right to life by its very existence in the US.

Even the Founders KNEW there was no “right” to abortion—and all our laws prove that. Where is the “new” insight?

Also, that there is a right to sodomy if a majority of people vote for it-—when it denies the “general welfare” of a society and children to have their biological parents do their Duty (reason for social contracts) and RAISE THEM? He thinks “JUST LAW” can consist of such bizarre and unnatural “reasoning” and logic when our Supreme Law of the Land is seeped in Natural Law Theory.

Geeeeshhhhh and he is a “conservative” justice. He should look up what Just Law is. It certainly isn’t using the force of government to force unnatural urges as a “right” and force the ideas as “moral” to children. It destroys reason and the Christian paradigm-—destroys freedom of religion for an imagined “right” to demean and debase other human beings is disgusting, destructive and force people to claim the Bible “Hate speech”.

Scalia-—you must know the quote of all the Founding Fathers and all philosophers prior to John Austin and Bentham-—who stated that Virtue was a fundamental necessity to Freedom and a Republic. Sodomy can NOT be good-—just because a majority vote it to be so. We have our Rights from God-—not Barney Frank——His standards are at the basis of ALL OUR RIGHTS and sodomy is NOT a RIGHT. Wake up.


8 posted on 02/13/2012 9:33:07 PM PST by savagesusie (Right Reason According to Nature = Just Law)
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To: DonaldC

I love Scalia - long may he live. He’s a great American and a real Constitutionalist, unlike that OTHER University of Chicago law “professor”.


9 posted on 02/13/2012 9:33:20 PM PST by llandres (Forget the "New America" - restore the original one!!)
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To: bgill

The only things that could have been added, and then only if the Founders could see the future:

You have the right to drive a car.
If you earn it, you have the right to keep it.

;)


10 posted on 02/13/2012 9:41:36 PM PST by Frank_2001
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To: lex33

If you wrote a contract, wouldn’t you want it enforced per its original meaning? You certainly wouldn’t want the other party to modify it at will, would you? Well, the US Constitution is a contract between We the People and the federal government. It even contains an agreement on how it can be modified by mutual consent. It could even be rewritten to include whatever the left wants if they can convince enough people. That’s too difficult of course. It’s far easier to simply reinterpret the contract to mean whatever one wants. The left, unfortunately, has a big advantage here, because the right wants to hold to the original contract, while the left wants to expand it.


11 posted on 02/13/2012 9:43:36 PM PST by CitizenUSA (Why celebrate evil? Evil is easy. Good is the goal worth striving for.)
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To: lex33
Opponents of originalism, who include fellow Justice Stephen Breyer, say that the Constitution was meant to be more flexible and adaptive to the changing times.

I defy him to find any historical documentation that would support that. There are reams of documents that support the originalist view.

Some phrases in the Constitution, such as “cruel and unusual” criminal punishment, are too broad to be interpreted as a specific permanent rule that does not allow for interpretation, critics of originalism say.

So sometimes it would alright to use cruel and unusual punishments? Sounds like a liberal's mind.

12 posted on 02/13/2012 9:45:59 PM PST by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: lex33
The Ninth Amendment, which protects the rights that the Founding Fathers did not list, is also cited as an argument against the originalism approach.

Only if you're an idiot and deliberately ignore the IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING Tenth Amendment, which categorically limits all other legal "innovations" to the states unless their boosters can get a new Amendment added.

13 posted on 02/13/2012 9:48:32 PM PST by denydenydeny (The more a system is all about equality in theory the more it's an aristocracy in practice.)
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To: vette6387; All

Well, BHO put a couple more like her on the bench already, and you’re right. I pray people will think of this very real and serious threat when they say they’ll “sit this one out” if their candidate doesn’t get chosen. Anyone who thinks that ANY on our side are as bad as BHO just doesn’t understand how really evil he is.

He is hellbent on destroying our country.


14 posted on 02/13/2012 9:52:14 PM PST by llandres (Forget the "New America" - restore the original one!!)
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To: Olog-hai

Hold the constitution to its original intent. If it does not meet mondern day needs, amend it. The several states will then decide.


15 posted on 02/13/2012 9:54:18 PM PST by Joe Bfstplk (People should enjoy the fruits of their labor. No labor, no fruit.)
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To: CitizenUSA
"If you wrote a contract, wouldn’t you want it enforced per its original meaning?"

What a beautiful object lesson and analogy!!!

In fact that reply of yours deserves a "Hall of FReeper Fame" award!!!

Sincerely.

16 posted on 02/13/2012 9:54:52 PM PST by SierraWasp (I'm done being disappointed by "He/She is the only one who can win" and being embarrassed later!!!)
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To: bgill
The Constitution is old and outdated, just ask Ginsburg.

Actually it's Ginsburg who is old and outdated.

17 posted on 02/13/2012 10:03:41 PM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: CitizenUSA
If you wrote a contract, wouldn’t you want it enforced per its original meaning? You certainly wouldn’t want the other party to modify it at will, would you?

Which is why the increasing use of the word "fair" in political discourse sets my teeth on edge. "Fair" almost never appears in contracts because it's arbitrary and subjective. Contracts demand exact language. The use of "fair" brings with it an implication of improvisation, of making it up as we go along.

18 posted on 02/13/2012 10:05:23 PM PST by denydenydeny (The more a system is all about equality in theory the more it's an aristocracy in practice.)
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To: lex33

Scalia is right, the United States Constitution is the law of the land, by which all other laws are ultimately derived from, and must be abided by. The language of the Constitution is very clear about this, except to those who want to try to make an end run around it.


19 posted on 02/13/2012 10:07:16 PM PST by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: lex33
Opponents of originalism, who include fellow Justice Stephen Breyer, say that the Constitution was meant to be more flexible and adaptive to the changing times.

It was meant to be flexible and adaptive. That's why Article V was included.

Article V - Amendment

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Two thirds of each house of Congress and more than half of the legislators in three quarters of the states is a lot higher bar than five lifetime political appointees.
20 posted on 02/13/2012 10:16:30 PM PST by KarlInOhio (You only have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime.How many does the government claim as its own?)
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To: bgill
The Constitution is old and outdated, just ask Ginsburg.

Oddly enough, Justice Scalia counts her as his best friend on the Court:

“I consider myself a good friend of every one of my colleagues, both past and present,” Scalia told Laura [Ingraham]. “Some more than others. My best friend on the Court is and has been for many years, Ruth Ginsburg. Her basic approach is not mine, but she’s a lovely person and a good loyal friend.”
Source

Let us hope Justice Ginsburg is still on the Court, come next January 20th.

21 posted on 02/13/2012 10:25:44 PM PST by cynwoody
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To: lex33
U.S. Supreme Court justice: 'Constitution is a static being'

The original (pre-14th) Constitution is itself dependent upon a spiritual premise - that of the definition of a human being as created innately free by God.

So the Constitution isn't the "start" of American legal theory - it is a derivative effect of a legal logic which stems from that original spiritual premise.

That is why the imposition of administrative law via the 14th is fundamentally indefensible, because it imposes a government-created-and-controlled "corporate existence" upon these free people, and even worse, fraudulently and brazenly declares its power to do so as derived from a document which is based on the acknowledgement of fundamental human freedom.

The 14th Amendment, and all it's associated law, is therefore an abomination to the original Constitution, and thus has no derivative validity. It is imposed by force and fraud alone, by people who are quite knowledgeable about that fact, but who are also quite content with it, and even determined to expand its application as much as possible.

That's just the flat-out truth, depressing though it may be. What's even more depressing, though, is that so few people are interested in how the whole thing works. It literally doesn't matter if the details are openly published - if they even bother to do anything, Americans just shrug and move along.

This endemic indifference to the legal mechanisms which bind us, IMHO, is the root of what is harming America - not particular political or religious differences. And though it is heavily rewarded by all the power factions, that really is not the reason it is so universally enacted. Rather, people are failing a spiritual test on their own personal decision, a turning away from what they know they should apply themselves to. And this applies to both the elite and the plebes.

It's crazy. it;s like a watching a bus full of people careening down the highway, and no one wants to drive, but rather they fight over the seating and the snacks.

/end sermon

22 posted on 02/13/2012 10:37:53 PM PST by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: lex33

Bump for later reading


23 posted on 02/13/2012 10:40:54 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: lex33

The Supreme Court nominees - the biggest reason to oust Obama on November 6, 2012.


24 posted on 02/13/2012 10:46:24 PM PST by Art in Idaho (Conservatism is the only hope for Western Civilization.)
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To: savagesusie
I nominate YOU for the next Supreme Court vacancy!

If I were 30 years younger, I would invite you to have all of my children.
(said with the utmost respect of course)
25 posted on 02/13/2012 11:05:17 PM PST by mkjessup (Let's do to Mitt what his Irish Setter did to him while tied to the roof rack of his station wagon!)
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To: oldbrowser

The Constitution is flexible and adaptive, through the Amendment process. Other than that, no it is static at any given point in time.

Moreover, it says what it means and means what it says. It drives me batty when people support the libs interpretation and have no CLUE of Jefferson’s Maxim:

“On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”


26 posted on 02/13/2012 11:31:49 PM PST by Freedom_Is_Not_Free
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To: oldbrowser

oh and by the way, you can’t maintain a Constitutional Republic in the absence of an informed and moral electorate. We are seeing the proof of this in real time.


27 posted on 02/13/2012 11:33:23 PM PST by Freedom_Is_Not_Free
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To: cynwoody

If the POTUS becomes a lame duck, congress better not even look like it is going into recess before Jan 20.


28 posted on 02/13/2012 11:56:41 PM PST by Apogee
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To: denydenydeny

“Which is why the increasing use of the word “fair” in political discourse sets my teeth on edge. “Fair” almost never appears in contracts because it’s arbitrary and subjective. Contracts demand exact language. The use of “fair” brings with it an implication of improvisation, of making it up as we go along.”
Most excellent response to the liberal cry of fairness!
Applause !


29 posted on 02/14/2012 12:56:38 AM PST by 9422WMR
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To: lex33
Too bad Scalia doesn't believe in original meaning when it comes to the Commerce Clause. His opinion in Raich was cited by two appeals court justices, both friends of Scalia, to uphold Obamacare:

Both Silberman and Sutton cited Scalia’s opinion in 2005 upholding strict federal regulation of marijuana in the case of Angel Raich, a Californian who used home-grown marijuana to relieve her pain. “If Congress could regulate Angel Raich when she grew marijuana on her property for self-consumption,” Sutton wrote, “it is difficult to say Congress may not regulate the 50 million Americans who self-finance their medical care.”

http://mobile.latimes.com/p.p?a=rp&m=b&postId=1165037.

30 posted on 02/14/2012 2:29:14 AM PST by Ken H (Austerity is the irresistible force. Entitlements are the immovable object.)
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To: Freedom_Is_Not_Free
The Constitution is flexible and adaptive, through the Amendment process.

Exactly

31 posted on 02/14/2012 8:25:48 AM PST by oldbrowser (They are Marxists, don't call them democrats)
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To: bgill
Show a little respect.

After all, Justice Ginsburg is an expert on "old and outdated".

32 posted on 02/14/2012 8:38:50 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: savagesusie

>Scalia-—you must know the quote of all the Founding Fathers and all philosophers prior to John Austin and Bentham-—who stated that Virtue was a fundamental necessity to Freedom and a Republic. Sodomy can NOT be good-—just because a majority vote it to be so. We have our Rights from God-—not Barney Frank——His standards are at the basis of ALL OUR RIGHTS and sodomy is NOT a RIGHT. Wake up.<

Beautifully said. Kudos, Susie.


33 posted on 02/15/2012 6:58:18 AM PST by Darnright ("I don't trust liberals, I trust conservatives." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
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To: Ken H
“Too bad Scalia doesn't believe in original meaning when it comes to the Commerce Clause.”

Yes, which is why Scalia will be a toss up during the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act arguments. I would not be surprised if Scalia favors the regulatory expansion of "Obamacare".

To understand why Scalia is “comforting” in expanding the Commerce Clause, research his past employment.

34 posted on 02/15/2012 7:12:35 AM PST by rollo tomasi (Working hard to pay for deadbeats and corrupt politicians)
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To: vette6387

“If the Court had a couple more like her [Ginsberg], with Obama they would obliterate this country’s foundations.”

You’ve defined why we have to vote for whomever runs vs. Obama in November. Let the fights be in the primary, but we have to oust this guy. There will be a couple of SCOTUS openings in the coming years, and we sure as hell don’t want him filling them.


35 posted on 02/15/2012 7:53:15 AM PST by EDINVA
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