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June 26, 2015

Today is a Good Day; or “Why Antonin Scalia is a Big Ol’ Gas-Bag”

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Today, we experienced a moment that can only be described as historic.  When SCOTUS handed down its decision on Obergefell vs. Hodges, it dismantled many of the legal arguments against marriage equality; clearly a victory for those of us who feel couples should be able to marry, regardless of their gender.

Four justices dissented, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito, but only three of them seemed to be aware of the historical spotlight they are under. Each authored their own opinions which, by and large, were couched in terms addressing their particular view of the pertaining laws, the Constitution itself, and the intent of the framers thereof. If you take the time to read them, you may find yourself trying to read between the lines to discern the motives for their dissent, but at least three of them were being professional about it.

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Of the four dissenting opinions rendered, it is Antonin Scalia’s that stands apart as a missive of righteously indignant, gas-baggery. He starts off first by being dismissive.

“The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me.”

 

I guess he’s trying to distance himself from the subject by pointing out that he has no stake in the proceedings, thereby giving his position the veneer of dispassionate consideration.

Even as he protests his disinterest, he harrumphs at the language used in the majority opinion, worried that it is written in a way that is too over-concerned with its place in history.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

This from a guy who would rather see us codify into law a “marriage tradition” cobbled together from a decidedly sparse reading of ancient rules handed down to nomadic tribes thousands of years ago.

That Justice Scalia doesn’t much like the idea of same-sex couples getting married, is not news; maybe it makes him feel all squicky and funny in his tummy.  Being a justice of the supreme court, he must not have very many people in his life that can tell him “no”; which might explain the tantrum-esque tone he takes.

“… It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”

Seriously, I can practically see him standing there, arms crossed with an exaggerated frown, angrily stomping his wittle foot. With further throat clearing and feather ruffling, he proclaims thus…

“If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag.”

Would you prefer paper or plastic, sir?

You can read the entire decision, as published by the Supreme Court of the United State, devoid of my biased, snarky commentary, by clicking here.