He's ba-a-a-ck. Not that he ever really goes away. After all, he has life tenure. This time the Hon. Antonin Scalia was calling those of us who think of the Constitution of the United States as a living document "idiots."
No, this wasn't Ann Coulter doing her stand-up routine, but rather an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Welcome to civil discourse, 21st century-style.
A decent respect for those who hold to a different philosophy of law, or of anything else, now seems to have gone the way of powdered wigs, dress swords and chivalry in general.
How nice. Mr. Greenburg has given me yet another opportunity to expound on some of the many reasons that the left continues to be...what's the word?...Oh yes, idiotic.
First, Paul, spare me the wounded victim routine. The left is solely responsible for the current state of civil discourse. You guys started it way back when Richard Nixon was President. Now that you find yourselves to be the butt of a more coarse form of discourse, delivered by your intellectual superiors, don't come whining about it to us. Or in the immortal words of that unknown redneck, if you can't run with the big dogs, you better stay on the porch.Isn't it the genius of the Constitution that its principles are broad enough to meet the demands of changing times? Isn't that the great virtue of any basic law -- that it is broad enough to grow in response to different conditions? Isn't that why a country's constitution is sometimes called its organic law?
In a word, Paul, no, no, and no.
This illustrates one of the major shortcomings of the liberal brain: an inability to distinguish between the abstract and the concrete. My theory is that the liberal brain is unable to comprehend the abstract and it results in confusion when the dichotomy of abstraction versus reality is presented, but I digress...
While the principles of the Constitution are indeed ageless, they are also independent of the written word. These are principles like freedom and God-given rights. But these are simply foundational principles. The Constitution does not establish these principles, it merely seeks to protect them from tyranny. The Constitution is not "basic law" in the way the Greenburg (mis)understands the term. It is a structural document and an enumeration of powers. It isn't even an enumeration of rights, as many of those on the left who only dimly understand the Constitution believe. Its "Bill of Rights" actually establishes concrete limitations on the power of government to encroach on rights given to the people by their creator. And finally, it isn't an interpretational kudzu patch, as Greenburg's "organic" term would imply. Its organic nature is founded in the procedures built into it for change, that is, the structural process of amendment. This is the abstraction the left fails to comprehend. Failing this comprehension, they substitute oligarchical interpretation.Surely the distinguished justice cannot believe the Constitution of the United States means the same thing when applied to a legal question in 2006 as it did in 1787, or 1861, or 1954 or... well, pick your year.
Actually, Paul, he does. And if you had even the vaguest notion of the principles of the Constitution, you would be embarrassed by the stupidity of that question. Well, maybe not. In my experience, leftists are rarely embarrassed by their stupidity. Greenburg seeks to equate the Constitution with legal code. Indeed, a law stating that women suffering from "mercurial vapours" were to be isolated would probably merit a healthy revisit. However, the words, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people," unequivocally mean the same thing today that they did 230 years ago.Those who refer to the Borkians/Scalians as originalists do the original Founders an injustice; that generation framed a Constitution meant to anticipate change, not stifle it.
Which would be once again, Paul, why the founders placed into the Constitution explicit procedures for changing it. It is completely idiotic to assume that the founders would have gone to the trouble of implementing a system for changing the Constitution if their intent was simply to allow interpretational fiat by the judiciary. Indeed, if that had been their intent, they would have simply said so.
Actually, Justice Scalia is being generous in simply attributing abject stupidity to the left. The use of judicial fiat to change the meaning and application of the Constitution springs from a far more sinister well. The forces of totalitarian socialism know full well that they could never implement their will via the electorate, so they choose to manipulate the fundamental weakness of a representative democracy and use the oligarchy of jurists that form the Supreme Court to impose their agenda.