Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gay student asks Justice Scalia to defend his 'bestiality' comments

Alex Wong / Getty Images file
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, seen in October 2012.
Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET -- Just days after the Supreme Court announced it would take its first serious look at gay marriage, Justice Antonin Scalia was asked to defend his legal writings on homosexuality.
The Supreme Court justice was visiting Princeton University on Monday to discuss his latest book when a college freshman, who identifies as gay, asked Scalia about the comparison he has drawn between laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.
“If we cannot have moral feelings against or objections to homosexuality, can we have it against anything?” Scalia said in response to the question, according to The Daily Princetonian. “I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective.”
Scalia told Princeton student Duncan Hosie that he is not equating sodomy with bestiality or murder, but drawing parallels between the bans.
Scalia added dryly, “I’m surprised you weren’t persuaded,”  the student newspaper reported.
Hosie's question -- which received a round of applause -- stemmed from a 2003 case, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law. Scalia had dissented in the case; in his dissent, he makes a couple of comparisons to laws against bestiality and declares, "nowhere does the Court’s opinion declare that homosexual sodomy is a 'fundamental right.'"
Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the current court was at Princeton to promote his new book, “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” and to talk about the interpretation of, the Constitution. It was during a question-and-answer session that Hosie asked him about Lawrence v. Texas.
"It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the 'reduction to the absurd,'" Scalia told Hosie, of San Francisco, The Associated Press reported.
Reduction to the absurd, an English translation of the Latin term "reductio ad absurdum," is a form of logic in which one refutes an argument by showing that its inevitable consequences would be absurd.
Hosie later told NBC News he didn't feel persuaded by Scalia's response.
"I was very pleased that Scalia was polite with me. I thought he was respectful with me, so I appreciate that, however, I disagree with the substance of his answer," Hosie said.
"If you’re making an argument to convince people, you don’t want to alienate people, and that’s what Scalia did with his language. He didn’t just alienate liberals by comparing laws against gay sex to laws against murder and bestiality, he has alienated laws conservatives have condemned. It didn’t make sense to me," he added.

The Supreme Court will be reviewing California's ban on same-sex marriage and a federal law that defines marriage as only the legal union of a man and a woman in March, with a decision expected by late June.
Scalia has "not been opaque" about his feelings toward same-sex marriage in the past, and gay rights advocates do not expect him to change his mind when the Supreme Court hears the cases in the spring, said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications at Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization.
"It's safe to say he is a vote in the 'no' column," Sainz said. "He is not a justice that has an open mind towards these issues that are coming his way.”
Hosie said he hopes the exchange he had with Scalia, while it may not change the justice's mind, will at least change the fiery words he uses in the future.
"I feel as if he’s crossed a line in comparing some of the things he’s compared gay rights to ... so hopefully this media coverage will encourage Justice Scalia to be more conscientious and careful in the words he uses," he said.
Scalia didn't discuss any issues related to specific cases during the Princeton Q&A, but defended his view that divining the original meaning of the Constitution is the best way to interpret it.
“The Constitution is not an organism; it’s a legal text, for Pete’s sake,” he said, reported The Daily Princetonian. “Unless you give [the laws] the meaning of those who enacted them, you’re destroying democracy.”

Jump to discussion page: 1 2 3 ... 16
Comment author avatarRick-546746Expand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
Maybe justices should STFU about their personal religious beliefs...Scalia never did have the temperment for the job...what a waste of skin
#1 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:35 AM EST
Comment author avatardenver bill 2Expand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
I'm throwing the BS flag on your agenda unless you can point to a specific place where religion is mentioned either in the article or in Scalia's written opinion in the case files.
#1.1 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:40 AM EST
Scalia has, in his rulings, made it clear that his conservative Catholicism defines his beliefs. For example, he has made it his life's goal to gather enough justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. He is more beholding to the Pope than to the American people!
#1.2 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:51 AM EST
Oh, snap!!! (Denver bill 2 re: Wants to know)
#1.3 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:54 AM EST
You can't really use the word "sodomy" without implicitly making reference to the Bible.
#1.4 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:54 AM EST
Scalia is old and a product of his generation, and that allows him to ignore changes in public opinion. He will die soon, and then he can be replaced with someone younger, more in touch with modernity. Scalia is one of those that only look backward, gritting his teeth that society is not stuck in the 1950s like him.
#1.5 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:02 PM EST
Comment author avatarimwhitewolfExpand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
"He is not a justice that has an open mind towards these issues that are coming his way.”
An open mind and Antonin Scalia, now that's funny. He is the poster child for the brain dead right. The SC will function much better once the likes of Scalia and Thomas have retired.
#1.6 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:04 PM EST
Comment author avatarTimothy1MilExpand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
Good. That's one sure vote "no".
#1.7 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:04 PM EST
Whether Scalia has used his personal religious beliefs in law arguments, I leave to others.
I do support the notion that he is more of a partisan hack than a competent judge. I submit for your review the case of Gonzalez v. Raich, and then his position on use of the Commerce Clause since, particularly with reference to the ACA.
#1.8 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:09 PM EST
Comment author avatardenver bill 2Expand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
Wants to know
Scalia has, in his rulings, made it clear that his conservative Catholicism defines his beliefs.
While it is probably true that Scalia's religious beliefs affect his rulings, Rick's comment called on him to STFU about those beliefs. My comment was a call for Rick (or anyone) to show me a specific instance of Scalia making reference to his beliefs in his legal opinions. In other words, how do you STFU about something you've never said?
#1.9 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:10 PM EST
Like what jake2247 said. Is anybody really surprised that Scalia holds these opinions when he grew up during a time when segregation and Jim Crow laws were OK considering it's the same time period in which homosexuality was demonized and many had to be in closet because of persecution?
#1.10 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:13 PM EST
Comment author avatarBruce-308647Expand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
"It's safe to say he is a vote in the 'no' column," Sainz said. "He is not a justice that has an open mind towards these issues that are coming his way.”
Just because a person disagrees with you doesn't mean he/she doesn't have an open mind. One could just as easily say that YOU do not have an open mind about Justice Scalia even though he hasn't heard the case or ruled on it yet. Two people can hear the same evidence and reach very different conclusions, as is very often the case with Supreme Court justices. Why does it always end up that with a person rules conservatively, they don't have an open mind?! His argument is that you have to draw the line SOMEWHERE, because if you don't, then the line keeps getting pushed further and further (into the absurd). If marriage can be defined as two men or two women, then why not one man and two women? Why not a man and a horse? Why not two men and a car? Once you start moving the goal posts, then how far do you move them?
#1.11 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:15 PM EST
Comment author avatarBluelakeExpand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
Scalia has made no secret about his feelings toward the so called "homosexual agenda". He has prejudged this case and needs to recuse himself. He's an arrogant little son of a bitch and surely won't do that so he needs to be impeached. His conflict of interest and lack of impartiality in the case involving Dick Cheney's secrecy with our national energy policy meetings should have gotten him removed then.
He, and his legal lap dog, Clarence Thomas have badly damaged the Supreme Court and indeed, the entire American judicial system. He needs to be impeached.
#1.12 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:18 PM EST
dhines - "sodomy" - well, not QUITE - while the original reference is to a supposedly supernaturally destroyed city in the middle east, that particular connection is MOOT today. As an "act" (a physical act), "sodomy" is well defined. No biblical connection required.
Bruce - the easiest thing would be to get the gummint of the business (and it IS a BUSINESS) of sanctioning "marriage" and have them issue "certificates of civil unions". you want to get "married" go to a church (temple, whatever). I KNOW (factual "know") that it is possible to get "married" in a Buddhist Wat in Thailand but not register the "marriage"; ergo, you wouldn't be "married" outside Thailand. A few years ago there was an interesting marriage where a guy married TWINS (in the Wat, of course) and was quite happy. no word on how it has worked out, though.
#1.13 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:18 PM EST
You really aren't serious asking where religion is mentioned, right? Seriously? What argument against gay rights, including gay marriage, can anyone make that doesn't involve religion??? If you look at the subject from a purely legal perspective and leave all the religious views out of things, what are you left with? It isn't legal to treat one group of people who aren't harming anyone in a way that is only wrong, bad, or should be prevented in any different way than anyone else. If you aren't judging the behavior logically, but instead are adding religious beliefs into it you get what we have had for years in this country...discrimination. If you look at it legally and rationally there is no bias and you see that you don't have to want to do something or even like it for it to be legal and fair. There are things I don't agree with that are legal, so I just don't do them. Case closed...oh isn't closed.
And that is because this is ALL about religion whether a person states it explicitly or not if we are honest about it. Just because a person doesn't come out and announce that his/her statement is based on religious beliefs it is pretty obvious if it is based on a personal belief that comes from what is taught in various churches. This is a legal case and shouldn't be judged on anyone's religious beliefs. That would be totally wrong to do and anyone who can't judge the legality and not the beliefs should not be judging the case.
#1.14 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:19 PM EST
Comment author avatarJo Ann-666954Expand Comment Comment collapsed by the community
Hosie said later that Scalia's answer didn't persuade him, and that he believes Scalia's writings tend to "dehumanize" gays, according to The AP.
Well Hosie, that's your opinion. Now quit whining. So many people crying about anything in this day and age.
My American born mother was not allowed to play in her high school band because of her Mexican heritage. Her dream was to play in a high school band and march on a football field. She wasn't even allowed in movie theaters.
Did she feel dehumanize? Yes. Did she whine about it? No. Even to this day she still doesn't complain about it or have an ill will towards anyone. What's done is done and I've admired her more because she did not complain because it shows her strength.
#1.15 - Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:22 PM EST

No comments:

Post a Comment