Antonin Scalia and the “dead Constitution”

“If the issue of the franchise for women came up today, we would not have to have a constitutional amendment.”

A good friend of mine asked me to try to find an interview with Antonin Scalia. The late Supreme Court justice talked about a “dead Constitution,” arguing that people ONLY have rights that are spelled out in the document or by the formal amendment process.

My friend recalls him saying that women, or blacks, had no inherent rights until they could convince sufficient White Men to give them rights thru the amendment process.

I discovered that he laid out his “originalist” views many times. In 2005, he delivered one of his two most essential speeches, Constitutional Interpretation the Old Fashioned Way:

Consider the 19th Amendment, which is the amendment that gave women the vote. It was adopted by the American people in 1920. Why did we adopt a constitutional amendment for that purpose? The Equal Protection Clause existed in 1920; it was adopted right after the Civil War. And you know that if the issue of the franchise for women came up today, we would not have to have a constitutional amendment.

Someone would come to the Supreme Court and say, “Your Honors, in a democracy, what could be a greater denial of equal protection than denial of the franchise?” And the Court would say, “Yes! Even though it never meant it before, the Equal Protection Clause means that women have to have the vote.” But that’s not how the American people thought in 1920.

In 2008, Scalia vigorously defended a ‘Dead’ Constitution. As his 2016 New York Times obit noted:

“By choosing the appeals court judge and former law professor, Reagan believed that his nominee would become a… man who would unite a coalition of like-minded justices… But from the beginning, Justice Scalia defied all expectations. He eagerly participated in questioning from the bench during oral arguments when new justices traditionally held back. He became an outspoken, witty and acerbic writer and speaker, who was deified or vilified by people on opposite sides of the political divide.”

This is the first Monday of October, the traditional opening of the Supreme Court’s term. Scalia has been replaced by Obama nominee Merrick Garland Trump appointee Neil M. Gorsuch.

N is for Noteworthy? (ABC W)

A former contestant on 16 and Pregnant (that’s a show?) recently passed away.

For the longest time, I have been fascinated by what people are considered to be famous. The late Andy Rooney, who was best known for his commentary on the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011, did a special around 1979, where he mused who was noteworthy. To him, Paul McCartney was famous, but Michael Jackson was not. Of course, this was before the album Thriller came out; I suspect Rooney would have altered his opinion.

In the days prior to 157 cable channel, it was pretty easy in the United States to ascertain that whoever was on national television had a modicum of fame. That is no longer the case. A former contestant on 16 and Pregnant (that’s a show?) recently passed away, and it was reported in my local paper; of course, I never heard of her.

There’s a database called Datasets I belong to, and it put out, at the end of this past year, an international list of “celebrity deaths”. The roster for April 11, 2016 included:

Ed Snider, 83 – American sports executive (Comcast Spectacor, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers)
Doug Banks, 57 – American radio personality (The Doug Banks Radio Show)
João Carvalho, 28 – Portuguese mixed martial arts fighter
Hokie Gajan, 56 – American football player and broadcaster (New Orleans Saints)
Veenu Paliwal, 44 – Indian motorcyclist
Alan Hurd, 78 – English cricketer.
Alvin Lubis, 37 – Indonesian musician.
Miss Shangay Lily, 53 – Spanish drag queen.
Steve Quinn, 64 – British rugby league player (York, Featherstone)
Albert Filozov, 78 – Russian actor.
Emile Ford, 78 – Saint Lucian singer (“What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?”) and sound engineer.
Édgar Perea, 81 – Colombian politician and football commentator.
Tony Ayers, 82 – Australian public servant.
Peter J. Jannetta, 84 – American neurosurgeon (Allegheny General Hospital).
Huntly D. Millar, 88 – Canadian medical technology executive.
Yura Halim, 92 – Bruneian politician, Chief Minister (1967–1972) and lyricist (national anthem)
Richard Ransom, 96 – American businessman (Hickory Farms).
Anne Gould Hauberg, 98 – American arts patron, founder of the Pilchuck Glass School
Ruth Gilbert, 99 – New Zealand poet.2016-04-11
Dame Marion Kettlewell, 102 – British naval officer, Director of the Wrens (1966–1970)
Mohsen Gheytaslou, 25–26 – Iranian soldier (65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade).
A. R. Surendran, no data – Sri Lankan lawyer
Tibor Ordina, 45 – Hungarian track and field athlete

I know NONE of these 23 people, save for Ford, who I heard of only vaguely. I did read Ransom’s obit. Let’s try February 13.

Bořek Šípek, 66 – Czech architect and designer
Flakey Dove, 30 – British racehorse, winner of the 1994 Champion Hurdle
Trifon Ivanov, 50 – Bulgarian footballer (national team)
Slobodan Santrač, 69 – Serbian football player (Yugoslavia) and manager
Barry Jones, 74 – New Zealand Roman Catholic prelate
Giorgio Rossano, 76 – Italian footballer.
Antonin Scalia, 79 – American judge, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (since 1986)
Nathan Barksdale, 54 – American heroin dealer, dramatized in The Wire
Bud Webster, 63 – American science fiction and fantasy writer.
Angela Bairstow, 73 – English badminton player.
Robin Ghosh, 76 – Bangladeshi composer.
Avigdor Ben-Gal, 79 – Israeli general, GOC Northern Command (1977–1981)
Yvonne Barr, 83 – Irish virologist, discovered Epstein–Barr virus
O. N. V. Kurup, 84 – Indian poet, recipient of the Jnanpith Award (2007)
Mike Shepherdson, 85 – Malaysian Olympic hockey player (1956) and cricketer (national team).
Edward J. McCluskey, 86 – American electrical engineer.
Sir Christopher Zeeman, 91 – British mathematician.
Rafael Moreno Valle, 98 – Mexican military physician and politician, Governor of Puebla (1969–1972), Secretary of Health (1964–1968).

Of the 17 people, and one horse, listed, the only one I had unequivocally heard of was Scalia, the SCOTUS justice whose vacancy President Obama was not allowed to fill. I do remember reading the obituaries of Ghosh and Zeeman.

I thought to write this when Zsa Zsa Gabor died in 2016. While she was in some 30 movies, she was most famous for being famous, a precursor to Paris Hilton or those darn Kardashians.

In December, Arthur posted YouTube Rewind: The Ultimate 2016 Challenge plus some 2016 music mashups. I knew hardly anyone in these videos – I must be getting old – but I didn’t care at all.

ABC Wednesday – Round 20

February rambling #2: The Man Who Mistook Jesus For An A.T.M.

A Beach Boy asks, “Why am I the villain?”

colbyjones

Sharp Little Pencil: The Man Who Mistook Jesus For An A.T.M..

What Happens Now That We Know Gravitational Waves Are Real? Compare with Introduction to the flat earth, how it works, and why we believe it.

The Latter Days of a Better Nation. For instance, Florida Legal: Man Shoots Young Girl Neighbor In Her House From Homemade Gun Range.

Looking Back BY Jeffrey Toobin, re: Antonin Scalia.

John Oliver: on voting and on abortion. Plus an interview.

The Apple/FBI question is harder than it looks.

simonpeter

How Writers Ruin Their Amazon Links (Yes, You Probably Do It Too), which is keeping unnecessary stuff in the URL; I mentioned this here.

What I Mean When I Say ‘I Have Anxiety’.

‪What makes a good life‬.

The Dark Underside of the Show-Dog World .

What Is Face Blindness?

Dustbury would stand up straight if he could. I SO relate.

Arthur’s dad would be 100.

The Uncanny Adventures of (I Hate) Dr. Wertham.

Now I Know: The Trees of Hate and The Science Behind the Slogan (Morton’s salt) and The History of Being on Hold and A Stinky Suit.

Muppet commercials from 1965.

Four Rare JEOPARDY! Scenarios. Plus Canadians Left With Questions After Being Barred From ‘Jeopardy!’

The obligatory Donald Trump section

I think he’ll be the Republican nominee.

How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable.

Inside the Republican Party’s Desperate Mission to Stop Donald Trump.

For Donald Trump, internet bullying is a highly effective campaign tactic.

America’s Agitator: Donald Trump Is the World’s Most Dangerous Man.

Why We Secretly Love Donald Trump (and Why We Should Fight It).

What it would take to build Trump’s border wall.

An Open Letter to My Friends Who Support Donald Trump.

Why I am Endorsing* Trump. Note the asterisk.

Nearly 20 percent of Trump’s supporters disapprove of Lincoln freeing the slaves.

Canadian island welcomes Americans who wish to move if Trump wins. Actually, they welcome people from all political stripes.

New liquid Trump and I know, right?

The other folks running

What that Cruz-Rubio ‘He doesn’t speak Spanish’ thing was about.

Neurologist explains why it’s hard to look at Ted Cruz’s creepy ‘unsettling’ face.

Why do so many people from Europe want Bernie Sanders to be the President of the United States?

Music

Bohemian Rhapsody – the Maniacal 4 Trombone Quartet.

10 Artists Who Hated Their Biggest Hit.

K-Chuck Radio: The Sugarhill Pulse.

Song stylist Nancy Wilson.

The Ballad of Mike Love. A Beach Boy asks, “Why am I the villain?”

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Arthur’s Internet Wading for February 21.

December rambling #1: your first draft

Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

25mphPicture per HERE.

How Republicans Trumped Themselves. Still, I’m NOT convinced that FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com reflects true Trump supporters on Facebook.

How people respond to Bible quotes when told they’re from the Quran.

The Deadliest Mass Shooting Everyone Forgot.

Ikea’s Newly Designed Refugee Shelters.

Why Poor People Stay Poor. Saving money costs money. Period.

UN Fighting to make LGBT people Free & Equal.

Speedway gas stations and Common Core math.

The Twitter blue bird? Hatched in Albany.

I fit the description.

2016 colors of the year.

Tom Tomorrow: The Gun Policy Debate in Four Sentences and The last thing a chaotic crime scene needs is more untrained civilians carrying guns; The Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper discovers that becoming an effective good guy with a gun is harder than it looks. Plus Guns are security blankets, not insurance policies.

Conversation between Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jon Stewart & a number of 9/11 First Responders who are fighting to extend health care and compensation to responders, many of whom need it dearly. Congress is the #worstresponders.

An Interview with Catharine Hannay: Creator and Editor of MindfulTeachers.org, who I know personally.

John Oliver on the art of regifting.

Now I Know: Gator Aid and How to Make the World’s Best Paper Airplane.

The satire section

Study: Scalia Better Off in “Less Advanced” Court. Satire of very real comments from a member of SCOTUS.

Native Americans call for ban on Christians entering the US.

Donald Trump is actually Andy Kaufman.

Syrian family gets into U.S. by disguising themselves as guns, as the US Congress marks third anniversary of doing nothing in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown.

The Jaquandor section

Your First Draft is NOT Crap!!!

Jaquandor’s family’s first Thanksgiving in New York. Several neat posts, such as at the Hayden Planetarium, et al.

Music!

Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright (OFFICIAL VIDEO), plus On the field interview with Rebecca Jade!

Liz Callaway bobbles the lyrics to a Stephen Sondheim song. Or does she?

Dustbury: RIP to music’s P.F. Sloan and Cynthia Robinson.

Coverville: All-Beatles covers Thanksgiving show for the 12th year in a row! “Track by track tribute to Rubber Soul for the 50th anniversary of its release, as well as a tribute to Paris with a full set of French-spoken Beatles covers.”

Chuck Miller wants to be buried with Stevie Wonder’s “Hotter Than July”, which I consider his last great album.

Funnies

AV Club’s favorite graphic novels, one-shots, and archives of 2015.

Mark Evanier continues to list the twenty top voice actors in American animated cartoons between 1928 and 1968, including Paul Winchell (Tigger) and Howard Morris (Atom Ant) and Stan Freberg (Junior Bear), and Paul Frees (Boris Badenov, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, Poppin Fresh the Pillsbury Doughboy) and June Foray (Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale) and Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Captain Crunch).

Buster Keaton – the Art of the Gag.

Smilin’ Ed Comics by Raoul Vezina & Tom Skulan. Hardcover on IndieGoGo.

GOOGLE alerts (me)

Time to Ask Arthur Anything. He answered mine about Prez and Veep candidates and Ranking the Republican candidates and The USA’s gun problem.

SamraiFrog’s 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums.

Twing toustlers.

GOOGLE alerts (not me)

St Peter’s set for £1.2 million renovation. “Admitting to being “very nervous” about taking on the large-scale project, Friends chairman Roger Green, who this year won an award for his volunteering, has agreed to stay on and see through the changes, which are not likely to be complete until at least the end of 2019.”

The torture report

Antonin Scalia believes in the ‘24’ Effect to rationalize torture.

From Tom Tomorrow
From Tom Tomorrow

While I’ve had the intention of writing about the disturbing report that the Senate Democrats recently released about the United States and torture, circumstances have not allowed that. So here’s a bunch of links, with brief observations:

From The Implications of the Torture Report by Mike Lofgren, Truthout:

The present writer will take as a given the veracity of its three main findings: that the United States engaged in practices both legally and commonly definable as torture; that the actionable intelligence these practices produced was negligible; and that the practices tainted the moral prestige of the United States government in a manner that damaged its foreign policy. These assertions may be taken as true both because of the abundant evidence presented in the report itself and because of the flailing and hysterical reaction by our country’s national security elites…

[Secretary of State] Kerry: “Lots of things going on in the world; not a good time for disclosure.” But when is there ever not a lot of things going on in the world?

That would be my general view as well.

Another fair representation of my position: 5 Things to Understand About the Torture Report from the Weekly Sift.

I’m particularly intrigued by the Truth and reconciliation section, which almost certainly will not happen because America is AWESOME! and we’re a “let’s move on” people.

The Rank, Reeking Horror of Torturing Some Folks from Truthout:

“In my name. In your name. In our names.” The narrative was that, in the days after 9/11, the “American people” wanted the government to do “anything” to prevent of another one. Instead, the torture and imprisonment have eventually led to the hate-filled ISIS. That may be true, since a majority of Americans say the CIA tactics were justified, which makes me all sorts of sad.

CIA Lied About Torture, Senate Report Suggests from Newsmax:

All sorts of discomforting items therein.

What torture sounds like from BoingBoing.
ventura
Karl Rove Says Bush Knew About CIA Interrogation Program, Defends Rectal Feeding from the Huffington Post:

“Appearing on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ [former GW Bush adviser] Rove claimed the brutal forced rectal feedings — which the report said were not medically necessary — were used out of medical necessity.”

Physicians: “Anal feeding” of prisoners is sexual assault, has no medical use, from BoingBoing:

“What a sad world we live in, when a coalition of medical professionals has to issue a press release announcing this most obvious of obvious observations…”

Dick Cheney: ‘I Haven’t Read’ CIA Torture Report but It’s ‘Full of Crap’ from Mediaite:

He doth describe himself instead, and rather well.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia’s spirited defense of torture from MSNBC:

“We have never held that that’s contrary to the Constitution. And I don’t know what provision of the Constitution that would, that would contravene.

“Listen, I think it is very facile for people to say, ‘Oh, torture is terrible.’ You posit the situation where a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people. You think it’s an easy question? You think it’s clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person? I don’t think that’s so clear at all.”

OMG, OMG. (Facepalm) Scalia believes in The ‘24’ Effect: Did the TV drama convince us that torture really worked? from Matt Bai at Yahoo! News. I stopped watching this show regularly after the first episode of the second season because I decided it was torture porn.

But sometimes, you just need a cartoon to break it down for you:
Tortured logic, from Tom Tomorrow in the Daily Kos
An Illustrated A to Z of Torture from Vice.com

Or satire:
Cheney calls for ban on publishing torture reports from the New Yorker