Antonin Scalia: A Brilliant Legal Mind or Simply a Foolish Judge?

 

Ben Carson Book Signing at Barnes & NobleI wonder what the word brilliant means in our time? Lately I’ve heard it applied to people who insist we drill enthusiastically for oil in the midst of a glut which has disrupted the world economy. I’ve heard it applied to a mind convinced the Great Pyramid is full of wheat, to a candidate who thinks  that the Constitution allows us to outlaw a religion and round up its adherents. I heard another talk about winning “for the greater glory of God.”  I’ve heard all sorts of puzzling words and I might speculate that things have become identified with their opposites, not only in our popular usage but in matters of law.

Not only does shall not mean must, but the strict interpretation of the Constitution’s intent according to a prominent legal mind is to praise God and  it never was intended to protect the citizen from the requirements of a religion not of his own choosing, nor should the government grant as much freedom to those of non-established beliefs as it does to the favored faiths. I’m talking here about the brilliant legal mind of Antonin Scalia:

“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion… We do Him [God] honor in our pledge of allegiance, in all our public ceremonies. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists On this day, when we’re celebrating our constitutional heritage, I urge you to be faithful to that heritage – to impose on our fellow citizens only the restrictions that are there in the Constitution, not invent new ones, not to invent the right because it’s a good idea.o impose it on all of us through the Constitution.”

He’s concerned here with the argument that having an official US religious oath is legal because of a tradition from the 1950’s and that those who object to acknowledging someone else’s god as America’s official god need to be “fought.” We need, says he, to persuade people that the prohibition against the government taking a position on one religion or another, is something else — something that favors one religion or category of religions over another according to the acceptability of its beliefs. If you have a god, you’re OK, if you have something else; a philosopher, a hero, a stone tablet an idol or an ethical principle. If you have faith in the teachings of the Dharma and the Buddha to lead you to the extinction of your ego — if you have the body of science and the blood of mathematics within you, that doesn’t count. Secular views are not protected because it’s not a religion unless we officially establish it.  Establishment clause?  Maybe you’re not Brilliant!

So OK, we can’t establish a religion, but we can establish its tenets, myths and superstitions because,scalia750 well, it’s traditional and it’s all our responsibility to honor a God we may not believe in — and honoring God is a good thing because the Constitution says so, doesn’t it?  So making my kids bow to your god and have an allegiance to it and perform public ceremonies honoring it is within the government’s power and not within my power to prevent. Yes, indeed, the government may function as an instrument of worship, and of course that’s the original intent of the Constitution, never mind what its creators said. A fine legal mind indeed. This is the incisive, sharp-edged razor that tells us so often that the United States is based on Christianity and therefore its laws must be interpreted, not by the firmly secular writers’ intentions but by some ecclesiastical kind of ventriloquism where Tony’s God speaks through the law. A brilliant mind indeed,  if dishonest and a bit stupid.

Its a word game. It’s equivocation, it’s a trick. It’s flim-flam.  It’s taking a theistic belief to be a religion and another belief to be the antithesis instead of an equal alternative. It’s a deceptive way to call one belief legitimate and another not. Neither is actually constitutional. It’s our right to have a government with no religious affiliation. Preaching from the bench is Judicial affiliation with a religion. It’s unconstitutional.

“On this day, when we’re celebrating our constitutional heritage, I urge you to be faithful to that heritage – to impose on our fellow citizens only the restrictions that are there in the Constitution, not invent new ones, not to invent the right because it’s a good idea.”

Apparently some of us – people like Jefferson and Madison have invented a provision that forbids the
government to say one belief, one idea, understanding or philosophical orientation is the official government one and informs our laws. No, don’t look at that piece of parchment, you’re not qualified to understand it because you’re not an official State priest like Scalia. The government never guaranteed you freedom of anything. This is not the Bill of Rights you’re looking for.

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

So let’s simply ignore the “sophisticated” world – God loves a foolish judge. God smiles when the judge lies. Let’s tell ourselves that error is virtue, that blindness to the truth and to the law is blessed. But sorry, God may give free passes to the fool, but the law does not. The law requires that justice be unbiased, disinterested, that judges know the law and precedent and not be carrying a cross or a Crescent or a Torah or a book of any other laws than those of the United States of America. And how would any know what God assumes but from some other foreign code of law? In what part of our body of laws is God’s law found?  In what part of our law is it said that arguments need make no sense because God said Christians look like fools?  And where most of all, I ask, is the job description of a federal judge that he in fact be a fool?

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Posted by on February 18, 2016. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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8 Responses to Antonin Scalia: A Brilliant Legal Mind or Simply a Foolish Judge?

  1. Paul Gallagher Reply

    February 18, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Talk about brilliant. This article is brilliant. Thanks Glenn.

    • Tall Stacey Reply

      February 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      I agree! Hear! Hear!

  2. Michael John Scott Reply

    February 18, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Scalia was, in his mind, doing God’s work. In my mind, that was his problem.

  3. Glenn Geist Reply

    February 20, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Thanks and yes, I think he did and certainly the current crop of GOP candidates and the incumbent apparatchiks all sound a lot like preachers — all pandering to the discontents who long for the comfort of that old time religious tyranny.

    Lots of lip service payed to liberty, but religion and freedom are always antagonistic as are religion and democracy.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      February 21, 2016 at 11:37 am

      “religion and freedom are always antagonistic as are religion and democracy.” Wow. Powerful and very, very true.

  4. E.A. Blair Reply

    February 20, 2016 at 9:56 am

    “winning ‘for the greater glory of God.’”

    That’s Republicanese for “Allah Akbar!”

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      February 21, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Wow. You are so right E.A. I never thought of it quite that way, but will moving forward. That might make for a good article.

      • E.A. Blair Reply

        February 21, 2016 at 11:57 am

        That’s a curtailed version of a quote from Hend Amry, a Muslim feminist (a very dangerous thing to be) and a founder of the activism group Libya Liberty in response to Rafael Edward Cruz’ statement on the Iowa Caucus:

        “I just heard Te Cruz’ first words on his Iowa caucus win: ‘To God goes the glory’
        THat’s republican for ‘Allahu Akbar!'”

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