Scalia says outlawing “homosexual sodomy” is a no-brainer

The Supreme Court justice claims the Constitution's stance on social issues leaves little room for interpretation

Topics: LGBT, Supreme Court, Abortion, Gay Marriage, Death Penalty, Antonin Scalia,

Scalia says outlawing "homosexual sodomy" is a no-brainerSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (Credit: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Antonin Scalia isn’t sweating it. At a book reading and lecture at Washington’s American Enterprise Institute this week, the 76-year-old associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and self-described “textualist” entertained the crowd by rattling off a litany of his top judicial no-brainers. 

“The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion,” he said. “Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.” And then he went to bed that night and slept like a baby.

Scalia’s breathtaking nonchalance doesn’t come as any huge surprise to anyone familiar with the Roe v. Wade–opposing, affirmative action–blocking, death penalty–loving Reagan appointee’s strict interpretation of the Constitution as an immutable template of American justice. In the past, he’s argued that “the risk of assessing evolving standards is that it is all too easy to believe that evolution has culminated in one’s own views.” He affirmed that belief at the Enterprise Institute Event, contrasting his style with those justices who would believe “‘the Constitution means exactly what I think it ought to mean.’ No kidding.” And he reiterated that citizens who believe in change on such issues as abortion or the death penalty should take it up with their elected officials — or go ahead and try to change the Constitution, adding darkly, “It is very difficult to adopt a constitutional amendment.” Surprisingly, he didn’t finish this statement with a sinister BWAHAHA flourish, but it was implied.

It takes a special kind of man to shrug off challenges to death penalty and abortion restrictions with nary a care in the world about how his interpretations of text might affect real human lives, and to use the phrase “homosexual sodomy” in 2012. Give him this, though: He’s consistent, down to his language. In 2003, when the Supreme Court struck down Texas sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas, paving the way for a more widespread dissolution of similar statutes in other states, Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion. At the time, he argued that “nowhere does the Court’s opinion declare that homosexual sodomy is a ‘fundamental right,’” adding, “It is clear from this that the Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed. Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

You Might Also Like

I’m not a Supreme Court justice, but sorry, who here was taking sides in a culture war? Who here thought “evolution has culminated in one’s own views”? Because I’m seeing a pot that couldn’t begin to fathom how black he was. Still can’t. And nine years ago, Scalia crowed in his dissent that “we need not fear judicial imposition of homosexual marriage,” so one may wonder if today, underneath his swagger, he’s just a teensy bit fearful about those homosexuals and their homosexual sodomy getting homosexual married all over the place. Oh, the times, they are evolving.

Scalia may be a relic, not merely ferociously determined to refuse to modernize but equally committed to making it look easy. But you’ve got to hand it to a man whose devotion to what he perceives as our country’s founding values is so rock solid that he’s content to be living fully in the 18th century.

Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>