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Commentary

Justice Antonin Scalia Dies

So, Antonin Scalia died in his sleep yesterday–otherwise engaged, I remained blissfully unaware of this admittedly monumental development until this morning, when the news hit my ears (my eyes, to be precise) with a monumental “plop” not unlike a turd splashing into the hygienic blue-tinged water in the lavender scented bathroom of Aunt Mathilde’s scrupulously maintained cottage. I am a terrible person, because my very first thought was: “Good.”
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But I’m not irredeemable. I stepped back. Scalia was a human being, I’m relatively certain, however inhumane he often seemed to me, as the angry, stubborn voice of pretty much everything I despise about the modern, contemptuous, obstructionist, and highly partisan incarnation of conservatism. Odds are, if Scalia had an opinion, I opposed it.  Right now, writers are falling all over themselves in efforts to grab page hits, struggling to reinvent the justice as, as one called it, “a tireless defender of the constitution.”  Well, I’m here to say that no Justice in recent history has gone further in interpreting said constitution through the warped, narrow, insidious filter fashioned by melding hyper-conservatism with Catholic extremism.  A hypocrite in every sense of the word.

I backed away from the initial, positive response to his death out of respect for his friends and family who probably, for the most part, loved him and now mourn his passing. But rest easy–his particular brand of one-sided objectivity will be remembered: already, his surviving Republican allies are already gathering to obstruct any attempts to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court, until a new President takes office nearly a year from now. Yes, Justice Scalia, you will not be forgotten.

And, by the way, my antagonistic view of the guy should not imply that I don’t find him fascinating and deeply nuanced–he clearly had a mind I would have enjoyed getting to know, and was a fellow contrarian to boot.  Here’s a link to a fanstastic and illuminating interview with him. I highly recommend it for reading.

Categories
Commentary

Scalia’s Awesome Massive Marriage Meltdown

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been getting hammered this week, on the losing end of a series of decisions that uphold legislation that runs contrary to his idealogical stance, including upholding the Affordable Care Act and, today, legalizing same sex urlmarriage in all 50 States.  Scalia and his partner, Judge Clarence Thomas, are two of the most ideologically predictable jurists in recent Supreme Court History–they consistently vote their politics, while just as consistently criticizing other judges for doing the same thing.  In writing the minority dissent for the latest decision, Scalia indulged in a massive hissy fit of epic, whiny, sour grapes proportion.  It’s kind of awesome–the link below leads to an article with some of the best quotes, as well as a slate magazine site in which you can enter your name and generate a personalized insult from Justice Scalia.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/06/26/gay-marriage-dissent-best-lines-scalia-kennedy-roberts/29345563/

tumblr_inline_mia9yfpNNg1qz4rgpI’m thinking back fondly to the series finale of Boston Legal, in which hetero-life partners/lawyers Allen Shore and Denny Crane, played by  James Spader and William Shatner, are united in same sex marriage with Justice Scalia presiding and Dick Cheney glowering in the background.  Somebody who knows needs to get that up on youtube.

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Thoughts on the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Decision

I don’t feel like writing about this myself, so I’ve been looking for some well-considered articles to reblong. One question that occurs to me, beyond those mentioned by Justice Ginsberg and Ms. Cleaver is: how long until other personnel decisions are subject to the whims of religious thought. Can I deny employment, say, to a Mormon or Methodist applicant because I don’t want to obliquely support the LDS or Methodist Churches, which I know will receive 10% or more of the salary that employee will tithe? As an atheist, can I deny employment to all theists? We’re in for some fascinating legal situations in the coming years, that much is certain.

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“The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores didn’t generate as much outrage as I thought it might. Sure, Dems jumped on the opportunity to raise a few more dollars before the FEC deadline, but the talking heads really don’t seem all that concerned. Let me tell you why they should be – why we all should be.

I needed to give myself a day to simmer down, but also to take a look at actual language of the opinions. Now, I don’t have a law degree, but I can certainly give you my interpretations and you can take them with a grain of salt.

To begin with, I’d like to draw your attention to a passage from Justice Alito’s majority opinion:

As we have noted, the Hahns and Greens have…

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