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Justice Antonin Scalia: Judges are not ‘moral philosophers’
He made the comments as a buildup to pushing his legal view of “originalism” as best — the concept of applying constitutional interpretation as the Founding Fathers would have intended and not considering the Constitution as a living, breathing document.
“Non-originalist judges say, ‘We agonize a lot.’ I don’t agonize a lot. Should there be a right to this or that? That’s not my job,” he said at a Monday lecture at Georgetown University Law Center, The Hill reported.
He said specifically that judges were crossing the line when it came to deciding matters of abortion and gay rights. Lawyers, in particular, are at fault, Justice Scalia said.
“[Lawyers] are not trained to be moral philosophers, which is what it takes to determine whether there should be, and hence is, a right to abortion, or homosexual sodomy, assisted suicide, et cetera,” he said in The Hill report. “And history is a rock-hard science compared to moral philosophy.”
Moreover, he said, the Constitution should not be degraded by views that it changes with the times and with the whims of the latest elected body.
“The non-originalist judge who decides what the modern Constitution ought to mean — perhaps by applying his favorite principles of moral philosophy, or perhaps only by applying his own brilliant analysis of what the times require — escapes the application of any clear standard, by which we may conclude that he is a charlatan,” Justice Scalia said.
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About the Author
Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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