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Supreme Court Justice Scalia: Constitution, Not Bill of Rights, Makes Us Free

By indigenous follow indigenous   2015 May 17, 9:30am 18,588 views   55 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Photo: Newscom)

To hear Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tell it, America’s freedoms don’t come from freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

It’s not the right to bear arms that keeps us free, nor is it the right to “be secure … against unreasonable search and seizure” or to a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.”

The reason America’s basic freedom has endured for more than 200 years, Scalia said Friday in a speech to the Federalist Society in Morristown, N.J., is not the amendments to the Constitution but the Constitution itself.

“Every tin horn dictator in the world today, every president for life, has a Bill of Rights,” said Scalia, author of the 2012 book “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.” “That’s not what makes us free; if it did, you would rather live in Zimbabwe. But you wouldn’t want to live in most countries in the world that have a Bill of Rights. What has made us free is our Constitution. Think of the word ‘constitution;’ it means structure.”

That’s why America’s framers debated not the Bill of Rights during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, he said, but rather the structure of the federal government.

“The genius of the American constitutional system is the dispersal of power,” he said. “Once power is centralized in one person, or one part [of government], a Bill of Rights is just words on paper.”

Scalia said the most profound and significant departure from our nation’s constitutional structure and the principle of federalism protecting the states from federal power came in 1913, when the 17th Amendment was ratified, providing for the direct, popular election of U.S. senators. Before, state governments appointed U.S. senators.

“What a difference that makes,” Scalia said. “When you have a bill that says states will not receive federal highway funds unless they raise the drinking age to 21, that bill would not pass. The states that had lower drinking ages would tell their senators, ‘You vote for that and you are out of there.’

“That has all changed. You now have senators who have no connection to the state government, never been in state government and some of them have never been to the state.”

It took 86 years and 187 resolutions for the 17th Amendment to be adopted, according to The Heritage Foundation Guide to the Constitution. But some states already had moved in that direction by holding non-binding primary elections to select their U.S. senator in which state lawmakers would commit to vote for the winner of these advisory elections.

But although many viewed this as a positive, democratic change, Scalia contended it removed a key plank of the constitutional structure the framers put in place to protect federalism and state interests.

Some state lawmakers in attendance agreed.

“This was a bad progressive idea,” said Assemblyman Michael Carroll, a Republican in Morris Plains, N.J. “The U.S. Senate was much more responsive and accountable prior to the amendment because it had to answer to the states.”

Without the 17th Amendment, said Assemblyman Jay Webber, a Republican in Parsippany, N.J., local party officials could exert influence at the national level.

“In a state like New Jersey, where the county party structure is so strong, you could expect to see influence shift to county chairs and other power brokers,” he said. “What they now do at the state level, they could have been in a position to do nationally.”

Although it might change the priorities of New Jersey’s U.S. senators, repeal of the 17th Amendment probably would not significantly change who served, according to Kim Guadagno, the state’s lieutenant governor.

“The Democrats have a significant registration advantage in the state,” she said. “I’m not sure you would see any kind of major change in who became the U.S. senators. But I am glad to see Justice Scalia focus attention on the amendment and what it meant for the country as a whole.”

Scalia said the trend toward using constitutions as lawmaking documents has increased in recent years as special interests have learned to insert “pet projects” into constitutions.

“A constitution is about setting structure; it is not about writing the preferences of special interest groups,” he said.

In fact, he said, the less done to the Constitution, the better. During the question-and-answer session, someone asked if a constitutional convention would be in the nation’s interests.

“A constitutional convention is a horrible idea,” he said. “This is not a good century to write a constitution.”

http://dailysignal.com/2015/05/11/supreme-court-justice-scalia-constitution-not-bill-of-rights-makes-us-free/

#politics

16   FortWayne   ignore (4)   2015 May 17, 6:23pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I'm keeping my bill of rights, Scalia can move to some country where they have no bill of rights and enjoy retirement in rightless paradise.

17   indigenous   ignore (0)   2015 May 17, 6:26pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

The point of the article is that the constitution was trying to avoid a centralized government where one ruler could do whatever he wants because he has so much power.

18   indigenous   ignore (0)   2015 May 17, 6:34pm     ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

What are talking about? Who cares?

19   HydroCabron   ignore (1)   2015 May 17, 6:39pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

indigenous says

What are talking about? Who cares?

You posted the article, asswipe...

CASE CLOSED!!!

20   HydroCabron   ignore (1)   2015 May 17, 6:52pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

This downplaying of the Bill of Rights by Scalia has a long tradition within "conservative" "thought".

Years ago I read a bunch of Robert Bork books, and one thing which sticks in my mind was his discussion of the Bill of Rights, and how it was really peripheral throughout American history. His whole take was shot through with an implied contempt for Bill of Rights absolutists as vaguely radical, long-hair fetishists.

There is some contempt for the Bill of Rights lurking within conservative judicial theology. These people are not friends of freedom.

You have been warned.

21   HydroCabron   ignore (1)   2015 May 17, 7:03pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Call it Crazy says

You can read?? Wow, this guy gets it!!

All that red-ass you were dealt this week must make it hard to sit down.

Run away, douche coward - you're done here. Nobody smarter than Ingenuous buys your routine any more.
*

22   bob2356   ignore (4)   2015 May 17, 10:35pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

indigenous says

The reason America’s basic freedom has endured for more than 200 years, Scalia said Friday in a speech to the Federalist Society in Morristown, N.J., is not the amendments to the Constitution but the Constitution itself.

indigenous says

That’s why America’s framers debated not the Bill of Rights during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, he said, but rather the structure of the federal government.

Scalia has always been dishonest, throwing out what he knows is bs for the federalist society is just typical. The federalists of the days of the constitutional convention hated the bill of rights. They felt the constitutions structure provided enough protection of rights by the quixotic idea (thoroughly disproven since then) that the division of powers would prevent any laws from being passed that would infringe on rights. The bill of rights absolutely was debated in 1787 in Philadelphia. The compromise agreement between the federalists and anti federalists was to get the constitution passed quickly without the bill of rights debate bogging down the ratification then address the bill of rights in the first congress. Scalia has to know this. There is no way he could not know this. It's taught in constitutional law classes everywhere. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/billofrightsintro.html

I notice that neither scalia or indiginous provides any examples of senators being recalled by the states because they didn't represent the state legislators will. Because it never happened. So much for the almighty 17th amendment changing the course of history.

I'm starting a pool for the date when CIC actually adds something to a post. Anyone else in? No dates past 2030 allowed.

23   Ceffer   ignore (4)   2015 May 17, 10:52pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

So, we're not getting assfucked by megalomaniacal dictators, we're getting assfucked by lawyers, instead. Right, Scalia, that's a big improvement, since you just happen to be a lawyer.

So much better getting assfucked one way than the other.

Our society is much less free than we were just a few decades ago. We can see everything and hear everything, but we can't do anything or say anything without getting sued, arrested or at at the very least, monitored by the government.

24   indigenous   ignore (0)   2015 May 17, 11:06pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

bob2356 says

I notice that neither scalia or indiginous provides any examples of senators being recalled by the states because they didn't represent the state legislators will. Because it never happened. So much for the almighty 17th amendment changing the course of history.

That is not to say that things would not have been different if there were no 17th. IOW would the make up of the senators be different if appointed by the states?

As to the centralization that is a big deal as the states should be allowed to nullify, which is a good trick when the Federal Government has metastasized into so many areas with the power of money and the ability to co-opt the states with their own money.

One of the bill of rights which has greatly accommodated this by it's violation is the 10th, none more than the mutts hero FDR.

25   bob2356   ignore (4)   2015 May 18, 12:47am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

indigenous says

Scalia said the most profound and significant departure from our nation’s constitutional structure and the principle of federalism protecting the states from federal power came in 1913, when the 17th Amendment was ratified, providing for the direct, popular election of U.S. senators. Before, state governments appointed U.S. senators.

“What a difference that makes,” Scalia said

indigenous says

That is not to say that things would not have been different if there were no 17th. IOW would the make up of the senators be different if appointed by the states?

What a difference that makes? He knows this how? By one hypothetical example that can never be proved. No wonder people consider dishonest lawyer a redundancy.

indigenous says

One of the bill of rights which has greatly accommodated this by it's violation is the 10th, none more than the mutts hero FDR.

How can something accommodate by being violated. They are contradictory terms. You bring a whole new meaning to the term torturing the english language. BTW FDR wasn't a senator, he was president, so the 17th amendment doesn't apply to him.

26   Tenpoundbass   ignore (16)   2015 May 18, 7:03am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

It's nothing a good Republican voter turnout wont fix.

27   indigenous   ignore (0)   2015 May 18, 7:14am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

bob2356 says

He knows this how? By one hypothetical example that can never be proved.

The whole subject is not scientific it is called a soft science, most of your ilk think it should be scientific and provable like a hard science. Which is even more unworkable because it is never quite proven, never quite repeatable.

As a thought experiment we can easily say that a republic works better than a democracy. E.G. Canada's banking system v the US's, or the fact that this system has created the most successful economy in history. Granted how do you correlate the two? Other than consistently, economies do better when they let the market work it's magic.

bob2356 says

You bring a whole new meaning to the term torturing the english language.

You are reaching when you have to deviate from the point and go into grammar nanny mode.

28   bob2356   ignore (4)   2015 May 18, 8:35am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

indigenous says

The whole subject is not scientific it is called a soft science, most of your ilk think it should be scientific and provable like a hard science. Which is even more unworkable because it is never quite proven, never quite repeatable.

No the whole subject is called opinion. Scalia shouldn't have used a definitive statement to express his opinion. Again showing he is dishonest in promoting his agenda. Outside the court. I"m not talking about his work as a justice, he is usually pretty straight forward in his court writings.

There are no hard sciences with repeatable results? There are in my world. Again proving your basic dishonesty to promote your agenda.

29   Dan8267   ignore (3)   2015 May 18, 12:36pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Scalia is an evil fuck who is antithetical to every principle upon which America was founded. If he were around during the revolution, the founding fathers would have tarred and feathered him.

30   indigenous   ignore (0)   2015 May 18, 12:56pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

bob2356 says

There are no hard sciences with repeatable results?

Not my statement.

bob2356 says

Again showing he is dishonest in promoting his agenda.

Good binary thinking, yeah he doesn't have a clue.

31   curious2   ignore (0)   2015 May 18, 1:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Dan8267 says

antithetical to every principle upon which America was founded. If he were around during the revolution....

Here is what I have always wondered about Scalia. He says he is trying to honor the original agreement of the founders, divining their original intent. Yet, somehow, as he shines his light back through the fog of time, claiming to see the founders and their intent, he seems to see only his own reflection. The founders saw themselves as liberal participants in the Enlightenment, but he sees religious regressives. The founders were armed revolutionaries, but he claims to see establishment authoritarians who did not believe in individual liberty at all. I wonder, is he merely blinded by his own reflection, or lying?

32   bob2356   ignore (4)   2015 May 18, 1:08pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

indigenous says

provable like a hard science. Which is even more unworkable because it is never quite proven, never quite repeatable.

indigenous says

bob2356 says

There are no hard sciences with repeatable results?

Not my statement.

There is no other way to read it unless "which is" refers to something other than the words hard science in the preceding sentence.

33   FortWayne   ignore (4)   2015 May 18, 1:25pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Dan8267 says

Scalia is an evil fuck who is antithetical to every principle upon which America was founded. If he were around during the revolution, the founding fathers would have tarred and feathered him.

But Scalia would than claim First Amendment rights... oh how strange would that be.

34   Dan8267   ignore (3)   2015 May 18, 1:34pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

curious2 says

. I wonder, is he merely blinded by his own reflection, or lying?

Sums up Scalia and most conservatives perfectly.

36   indigenous   ignore (0)   2015 May 18, 6:51pm     ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

Lips you sometimes are a mutt.

37   Reality   ignore (5)   2015 May 18, 8:57pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Lips,

Monopoly is usually a government creation. In fact, government-granted charter ("patent of monopoly") was the original definition of monopoly.

"Natural monopoly" is a phrase coined by people who do not understand technological progress or creative destruction. If "natural monopoly" were some kind of enduring phenomenon, there wouldn't be a need for government granted patents and licenses.

38   Dan8267   ignore (3)   2015 May 18, 9:09pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

indigenous says

Lips you sometimes are a mutt.

Translation: Yes, we're caught in our stupidity and hypocrisy. Time to insult the messenger with an irrelevant, uncreative, and unoriginal put down. That usually distracts the audience from the issue.

39   indigenous   ignore (0)   2015 May 18, 9:21pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Dan8267 says

Translation: Yes, we're caught in our stupidity and hypocrisy. Time to insult the messenger with an irrelevant, uncreative, and unoriginal put down. That usually distracts the audience from the issue.

No, he is throwing out conjecture that is not even in the same zip code as the truth, show me one quote from the Austrians that encourage cronyism.


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