Saturday, March 15, 2014

COP: Justice Scalia: 'Constitution is not a living organism'

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia administers the oath of allegiance to new citizens, during a ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in Gettysburg, Pa. Lincoln's speech was first delivered in Gettysburg nearly five months after the major battle that left tens of thousands of men wounded, dead or missing. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)The Associated Press

During a speech in Atlanta Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Friday defended interpreting the Constitution as it was originally written and intended.
Scalia delivered a speech titled "Interpreting the Constitution: A View From the High Court," as part of a constitutional symposium hosted by the State Bar of Georgia. Originalism and trying to figure out precisely what the ratified document means is the only option, otherwise you're just telling judges to govern, Scalia argued.
"The Constitution is not a living organism," he said. "It's a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say."

But an originalist interpretation still provides for a flexible legal system, he said.
"You want the death penalty? Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and enact it. You think it's a bad idea? Persuade them the other way and repeal it. And you can change your mind. If you repeal it and find there are a lot more murders, you can put it back in," he argued. "That's flexibility."
Scalia also took anonymous questions that had been collected by event organizers in advance.
Asked if more regional, geographic and educational diversity on the court would make a big difference in opinions, Scalia said he didn't think trying to have a court that is representative of the population is necessary, using geography as an example.
"As far as I'm concerned, you can find bad judges in every region of the country ... and good ones as well," he said.
Scalia was appointed to the nation's highest court in 1986, making him the longest-serving justice.


labman57 said...

If the U.S. Constitution as originally written was a model of governmental perfection and required no further modifications and no future interpretations ... then there would have been no need for the Bill of Rights, nor a constitutional amendment process, nor the SCOTUS itself.

Hans said...

Labman, if you seek perfection from the acts of man, then your quest will end at the feet of God.

Once the constitution becomes a "living" (transitional) it will quickly die, as it will only serve those whom are currently in power.