Monday, October 8, 2012

'Abortion and capital punishment-- easy cases'

Justice Scalia on the constitutionality of abortion and capital punishment, from CBS News:

"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute. 
He contrasted his style of interpretation with that of a colleague who tries to be true to the values of the Constitution as he applies them to a changing world. This imaginary justice goes home for dinner and tells his wife what a wonderful day he had, Scalia said.
This imaginary justice, Scalia continued, announces that it turns out " 'the Constitution means exactly what I think it ought to mean.' No kidding."
As he has said many times before, the justice said the people should turn to their elected lawmakers, not judges, to advocate for abortion rights or an end to the death penalty. Or they should try to change the Constitution...

Justice Scalia is right. These are easy cases, from the standpoint of Constitutional law. The Constitution says nothing about abortion (or even general privacy rights), leaving such issues to the states. The Constitution obviously embraces the death penalty-- it was quite "usual" in the late 18th century, and obviously didn't violate the 8th Amendment.

These issues-- I oppose abortion and the death penalty-- are not constitutional issues. They are issues for the people to decide, through the legislative process.

Those who misrepresent the Constitution and use the courts to achieve goals they cannot achieve legislatively are causing enormous damage to our Constitutional republic.


  1. Justice Scalia is right. These are easy cases, from the standpoint of Constitutional law.

    Nobody takes Scalia seriously anymore. Even his fellow justices on the Supreme Court think he's a crackpot.

  2. Egnor, I disagree with you about just about everything you write here, but I'm glad to find common ground on capital punishment, even if our reasons are completely different. You should write more about that.


  3. I will. Killing people when there are moral alternatives is always wrong, even if the people really deserve it.

    I don't put capital punishment in the same category as abortion (children never deserve it), but gratuitous killing is always morally wrong.