Scalia: “I’m not a nut”

Justice Antonin Scalia’s not crazy. He just believes the Constitution is what it is, and should not be rewritten by the Supreme Court.

And that belief, he said, would probably cost him too many Senate votes to win confirmation if he were up for it today.

“The most important thing [to Senate members] is whether this person will write the new Constitution that you like,” Scalia said to a crowd of students and faculty at Roger Williams University law school in Rhode Island yesterday. “If the court’s rewriting the Constitution, it’s an enormously powerful political body — and its selection will be done in a political fashion.”

He called the idea of a “living Constitution” dangerous.

“I am a textualist, I am an originalist. I am not a nut,” he said.

He said the Constitution is not chuck full ‘o enumerated rights, as other legal interpreters would like to believe. Gaining explicit rights to things like abortion is up to lawmakers, not the Constitution. Want to get rid of the death penalty? That’s up to lawmakers too.

“You want the right to abortion? Create it the way most rights are created in a democracy. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea — and pass a law,” Scalia said. “You don’t like the death penalty? Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a bad idea and repeal it.”

When asked about the role international law plays in our country’s legal system, Scalia replied: “What can a 20th century opinion from a French court possibly tell me about the original meaning of the Bill of Rights in 1791 in America? Absolutely zip. Absolutely nothing.” (AP)

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