Metro Weekly

Justice Scalia still criticizing gay marriage ruling

Conservative firebrand brands court's decision legalizing marriage equality as "extreme"

Scalia (Photo: Stephen Masker, via Wikimedia Commons).
Scalia (Photo: Stephen Masker, via Wikimedia Commons).

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is still sore over this summer’s marriage equality ruling. And he’s refusing to stay silent.

Scalia on Tuesday spoke to 500 people at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., where he criticized judges who believe the U.S. Constitution is a “living” document, accusing them of wishing to rewrite the Constitution rather than interpret it. He also took aim at his colleagues on the Supreme Court that voted in favor of overturning bans on same-sex marriage, calling the decision “extreme,” according to reporting from the Associated Press.

“They’re not adhering to the text, they’re operating as policy makers,” Scalia said, defending his support for originalism, in which a judge is expected to interpret the law as written. “They’re not interpreting the constitution. They’re writing one, they’re revising one.”

Scalia previously referred to the gay marriage ruling as “this court’s threat to American democracy.” On Tuesday, he called the court’s legalization of marriage equality “the furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants.”

“Saying that the Constitution requires that practice, which is contrary to the religious beliefs of many of our citizens, I don’t know how you can get more extreme than that,” Scalia told his audience. “I worry about a Court that’s headed in that direction.

“What is it that I learned at Harvard Law School that makes me peculiarly qualified to determine such profound moral and ethical questions as whether there should be a right to abortion, whether there should be same-sex marriage, whether there should be a right to suicide?” Scalia asked. “It has nothing to do with the law. Even Yale Law School doesn’t teach that stuff.”


Scalia added that believers in a “living” Constitution are actually making it more rigid and less flexible. He also criticized the lack of regional diversity on the Supreme Court, noting that only Clarence Thomas is from the South, while he and the other justices are from California, New York and New Jersey.

“You should be upset because these people are making a new Constitution and they are terribly unrepresentative of the country,” Scalia said.

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