Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Big Tony Scalia, Supreme Court Seditionist

Not that many notice or seem to mind, but Antonio Scalia, Supreme Court Justice-for-life, routinely contradicts the principles of the Constitution with nearly each court opinion he hands down. Commenting on a case involving the legitimacy of having the Ten Commandments displayed outside a Texas courthouse, Scalia recently asserted that political authority does not derive from the people, claiming that the displaying of the Ten Commandments “is a symbol of the fact that government comes — derives its authority from God.”

Justice Scalia must have missed out on his Constitutional Law course, for a cursory reading of the opening Preamble reveals that it begins with “We the people.” References to “God” or Judeo-Christian scripture are nowhere to be found. Indeed, Founding Fathers of both the right (such as Hamilton) and left (Jefferson), influenced by Locke's concepts of individual rights, rejected theological authority as well as monarchical authority. It is not unfair to claim that a great deal of the intellectual justification of the American Revolution thus was in essence opposed to the theocratic assumptions regularly espoused by Scalia and the fundamentalists.

Those people who do value a secular society—e.g., one based on reason and democratic politics instead of religious dogma--might ask themselves whether Justice Scalia should be held accountable for such un-American comments and behavior.

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