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National NOW Times >> Fall 2003 >> Article

The Scalia Mold: A Dangerous Future for the Nation's Highest Court

by Amanda Cherrin, Communications Intern

With four Supreme Court justices nearing retirement, the nation's highest court is in danger of losing its delicate balance, especially if George W. Bush serves another term as president. Bush has cited Justice Antonin Scalia as one of his most admired Supreme Court Justices, and a presumptive model for future nominees. Scalia's opinions on cases involving abortion, affirmative action, discrimination and homosexuality indicate that women's rights and civil rights will be threatened if his reactionary beliefs become the majority opinion.

Editorial Cartoon by Steve Benson, reprinted by permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc.
STEVE BENSON reprinted by permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

Scalia is known for writing scathing dissents when his opinion is not on the prevailing side of the court. These dissenting opinions serve as windows into the ultra-conservative Scalia mind. Here, in the justice's own words, is a look at what a Scalia-dominated Supreme Court could spell for this country:

Scalia dissenting from the 5-to-4 Court decision that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, but upheld most of a Pennsylvania law which placed heavy restrictions on abortion access, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 1992:

"National politics were not plagued by abortion protests, national abortion lobbying, or abortion marches on Congress, before Roe v. Wade was decided ... Roe's mandate for abortion on demand destroyed the compromise of the past, rendered compromise impossible for the future, and requires the entire issue to be resolved uniformly, at the national level. At the same time, Roe created a vast new class of abortion consumers and abortion proponents by eliminating the moral opprobrium that had attached to the act."

Scalia dissenting from the 6-to-3 decision that struck down Texas' sodomy laws, Lawrence v. Texas, 2003:

"Today's opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda ... 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 ... So imbued is the Court with the law profession's anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously 'mainstream'; that in most States what the Court calls 'discrimination' against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal; that proposals to ban such "discrimination" under Title VII have repeatedly been rejected by Congress ... that in some cases such 'discrimination' is mandated by federal statute ... and that in some cases such 'discrimination' is a constitutional right."

Scalia dissenting from the court's 6-to-3 decision that upheld a Colorado law prohibiting demonstrators from approaching people within eight feet of medical facilities, Hill v. Colorado, 2000:

"The possibility of limiting abortion by legislative means—even abortion of a live-and-kicking child that is almost entirely out of the womb—has been rendered impossible by our decisions from Roe v. Wade to Stenberg v. Carhart. For those who share an abiding moral or religious conviction (or, for that matter, simply a biological appreciation) that abortion is the taking of a human life, there is no option but to persuade women, one by one, not to make that choice. And as a general matter, the most effective place, if not the only place, where that persuasion can occur, is outside the entrances to abortion facilities."

Scalia concurring in part and dissenting in part from the Court's 5-to-4 decision that upheld the Michigan Law School's affirmative action policy, Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003:

The University of Michigan Law School's mystical "critical mass" justification for its discrimination by race challenges even the most gullible mind. The admissions statistics show it to be a sham to cover a scheme of racially proportionate admissions."

Scalia dissenting from the Court's 7-to-1 decision that rejected the Virginia Military Institute's male-only admissions policy, United States v. Virginia, 1996:

"The tradition of having government funded military schools for men is as well rooted in the traditions of this country as the tradition of sending only men into military combat. The people may decide to change the one tradition, like the other, through democratic processes; but the assertion that either tradition has been unconstitutional through the centuries is not law, but politics smuggled into law."

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