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Would you have voted to desegragate schools in 1954?

he would have dissented in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision that ended school segregation based on race.

Appearing on stage with Justice Stephen Breyer, Scalia cautioned against "inventing new rights nobody ever thought existed." Scalia said he advocates an "originalist" approach to the Constitution, warning against an "evolutionary" legal philosophy that he described as, "close your eyes and decide what you think is a good idea.''

Phoenix's East Valley Tribune reported:

Using his "originalist'' philosophy, Scalia said he likely would have dissented from the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that declared school segregation illegal and struck down the system of "separate but equal'' public schools. He said that decision, which overturned earlier precedent, was designed to provide an approach the majority liked better.

Justice Scalia wouldn't have, thoughts?

 
sweet-a-kins

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 2:03 PM on Oct. 27, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (22)
  • I would have absolutely voted for it--I look at all my students and the many experiences and cultures they bring into the classroom and can't imagine what it would be like with out the variety and diversity. My ESL students teach me Spanish, Filipino, Japanese, Hmong and Russian words all the time--I have so much to learn from them. My world would be so limited without these great personalities to share it with. Let Scalia be an "originalist"--nothing stays the same. We know that change is the only true constant. It seems silly to expect our current social structure to be bound to the expectations and stipulations applied 225 years ago. If modes of transportation can evolve (we no longer rely on horse and buggy to get around), so should social policies. Fair is fair is fair.

    PsWifey

    Answer by PsWifey at 3:19 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • More from Scalia

    "I will stipulate that it will,'' Scalia said. But he said that doesn't make it right. "Kings can do some stuff, some good stuff, that a democratic society could never do,'' he continued.

    "Hitler developed a wonderful automobile,'' Scalia said. "What does that prove?''


    "The only thing you can be sure of is the Constitution will mean whatever the American people want it to mean today,'' Scalia said. "And that's not what a Constitution is for. The whole purpose of a constitution is to constrain the desires of the current society.''

    sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 2:04 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • It looks like someone is setting out the race bait.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:08 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • Wow. Of course I would have voted to desegregate! For one thing, separate but equal was FAR from equal!
    Blueliner

    Answer by Blueliner at 2:11 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • Feeling a little racist today sweet, cherry picking what suits you??

    The article..

    One of the most conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court said Monday his more liberal colleagues are trying to manufacture new constitutional rights that were never intended by the drafters.

    "The fight is about the Supreme Court inventing new rights nobody ever thought existed,'' Justice Antonin Scalia said in an appearance at the University of Arizona College of Law.

    "Right to abortion?'' he asked. "Come on. Nobody thought it violated anything in the Constitution for 200 years. It was criminal.''

    The same, said Scalia, is true of homosexual sodomy. Yet the nation's high court has struck down state laws banning both.

    "They may be bad ideas,'' Scalia said. "But don't tell me it’s unconstitutional.''

    cont.


    yourspecialkid

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 2:19 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • But Justice Stephen Breyer, who shared the stage with Scalia, said his colleague was taking an overly literalistic approach to the 18th-century document. He said the changing nature of society, by necessity, requires more than looking at what Scalia called "originalism.''

    "You don't look to the details,'' Breyer said. "You look to the value.''

    For example, he said, flogging may have been legal even as the framers of the Constitution were banning "cruel and unusual punishment'' in the Eighth Amendment.

    "I don't know the exact details of what everybody in the 18th century thought was cruel and unusual,'' Breyer said. He said that by enacting that particular ban, they enacted "a set of values, not a particular set of 18th century circumstances.''

    cont

    yourspecialkid

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 2:20 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • Gee, and I thought that approach was based on all men being created equal! Silly me, but then I hadn't been born then and lived in a lovely mixed neighborhood where I never had to deal with busing growing up. I think it all worked out pretty well even though we have a ways to go yet.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:20 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • And Breyer warned that using Scalia's approach, "it won't be a Constitution anyone will be able to live under.''

    The pair traded barbs, sometimes with humor, over the course of an hour about whose approach to reading and analyzing the Constitution is correct. Scalia said the Constitution is meant to be an exception to democracy and the rule of the majority, whose views may change from time to time.

    cont.

    He specifically warned that those who approach the Constitution as Breyer suggests will not always find courts expanding the definition of individual liberties. He said a court that decides one day that something is cruel and unusual punishment could just as easily decide down the road to allow something that now is considered barbaric.

    yourspecialkid

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 2:21 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • "It goes both ways,'' he said.

    "The only thing you can be sure of is the Constitution will mean whatever the American people want it to mean today,'' Scalia continued. "And that's not what a constitution is for. The whole purpose of a constitution is to constrain the desires of the current society.''

    Scalia said those who do not share his "originalist'' philosophy are now deciding what the 14th Amendment of the Constitution means, the one that guarantees "equal protection of the laws'' to all citizens.

    "Does it include same-sex marriage? A requirement for equal pay for equal work?'' he mused. Scalia said those who believe in an "evolutionary'' approach "close your eyes and decide what you think is a good idea.''

    yourspecialkid

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 2:24 PM on Oct. 27, 2009

  • Using his "originalist'' philosophy, Scalia said he likely would have dissented from the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that declared school segregation illegal and struck down the system of "separate but equal'' public schools. He said that decision, which overturned earlier precedent, was designed to provide an approach the majority liked better.

    Using his "originalist'' philosophy, Scalia said he likely would have dissented from the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that declared school segregation illegal and struck down the system of "separate but equal'' public schools. He said that decision, which overturned earlier precedent, was designed to provide an approach the majority liked better.

    I will stipulate that it will,'' Scalia said. But he said that doesn't make it right. "Kings can do some stuff, some good stuff, that a democratic society could never do,'' he continued.

    yourspecialkid

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 2:24 PM on Oct. 27, 2009