Just in case anyone was unclear about Justice Antonin Scalia’s views about whether the Constitution “lives,” he made himself perfectly clear last night during a speech at the University of Central Missouri.
“The Constitution is not a living organism,” Scalia said, reports the Kansas City Star. “It’s a legal document that says some things and doesn’t say others.”
“The Constitution does not change,” Scalia said. “It means today what it meant when it first was written. … It does not morph.”
He eschewed the idea of a “living Constitution,” saying that changing the document’s interpretation to fit the time would lead to the erosion of the rights specifically enumerated by the Founding Fathers.
“It will produce what the society at the time likes,” Scalia said. “Sometimes it will grant some rights. Other times it will take some away.”
Of course his address was not without humor. The Court’s funniest justice by far (according from our unscientific tally) had this to say when asked which member of the Court, living or dead, he’d like to dine with: “I have dinner with Ruth (Bader Ginsberg) once a year, and I certainly wouldn’t want to have dinner with a dead man.”