Tuesday, February 14, 2006

An idiot by any other name...

People who believe the Constitution would break if it didn't change with society are "idiots," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says.

In a speech Monday sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, Scalia defended his long-held belief in sticking to the plain text of the Constitution "as it was originally written and intended." Scalia criticized those who believe in what he called the "living Constitution." "That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break."

"But you would have to be an idiot to believe that," Scalia said. "The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things." Proponents of the living constitution want matters to be decided "not by the people, but by the justices of the Supreme Court."

"They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it's the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable," he said.

So the death penalty was legal in 1789 so it is legal and constitutional today. Abortion was legal in 1789 right Justice Scalia? So it is legal and constitutional today. At least for today. Tomorrow, who knows. And let's not forget that when the 14th Amendment was passed, including the "equal protection" clause, segregation was the law of much of the land. So I guess Brown v. Board of Education was wrongly decided? How do you get around that one? What about the simple term "unreasonable?" As in the 4th Amendment's "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effect, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..."? Is what was unreasonable or reasonable in 1789 the same in 2006? Wasn't it W who complained that the FISA law drafted in 1978 (not even 1778) was outdated for a modern world? He of course didn't tell you that FISA has been amended 5 times since 9/11 but since they don't tell you the VP shot a guy in the face why would they tell you about FISA updates?

So the high highbrow intellectual Antonin Scalia calls his critics "idiots." I wonder if he's talking about idiots as defined in 1789 or today. Today it means a "foolish or stupid person." Historically it means "a person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive.

So the term "idiot" can change over time to adjust to society as it goes from hunter-gatherers to space explorers but the U.S. Constitution can't. What an idiot.


Blogger Petunia McGillicuddy said...

I forgot how good it feels to laugh when you (and fogg) get going. phew!

11:29 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

Just trying to spread laughter and crankiness to throughout the world.

2:22 PM  

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