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Supreme Court Justice Scalia: Women's Rights Not in Constitution

3 years ago
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Sorry to tell you this, but Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court's conservative stalwart, says the Constitution does not protect women or gay Americans from discrimination.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution -- equal protection under the law -- does not apply to sex discrimination, Scalia said in a recent interview, the Washington Post reports.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin ScaliaFielding a question from California Lawyer magazine, the justice said: "You know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly, the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't."

The magazine headlined its interview with Scalia "The Originalist." If society wants to ban sex discrimination, he said, "Hey, we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up to date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. . . . That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing their demands on society."

Scalia had prefaced his answer, "Yes, yes, sorry to tell you that . . ."

In a high court ruling 15 years ago, Scalia made his views known on gender discrimination. He was the only justice dissenting in an opinion halting the 157-year-old all-male tradition at Virginia Military Institute.

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14 Comments

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ray

sorry justice Scalia I must disagree on that one stop place people based on their sex and insteadput put as human beings first women shaould have the same rights as anyone else .

January 08 2011 at 9:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kdelois

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

January 06 2011 at 1:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rymar1458

Yes, but he is a strict Constitutionalist, so if the Legislature passes a law regarding the rights of women he would overturn it because it's not in the Constitution. Looks like women lose both ways.

January 05 2011 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
iraqwardeficit

The biased republican SC memebers will argue both sides of the same issue depending on how they want the outcome. They are a disgrace.

January 04 2011 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

Oh, I can't stand it ... really, I can't ... and how many of you women voted Republican? Why was that again? So that people like Scalia could tell you that you have no rights? Oh please ... stop it ... the Tea spilleth over !!!

January 04 2011 at 8:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Richard's comment
Larry

women's rights aren't in the constitution because men in the 1770s devalued women. don't blame justice scalia; blame the founding fathers. they couldn't conceive of women's rights, gay rights, minority rights, or union rights, among many, many others. scalia was simply try to explain why congress and the states need to act.

January 04 2011 at 11:28 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Dave

I hate to point out to Justice Scalia but the three branches of government (including the judiciary) are part of the ORIGINAL constitution. Corporations are NOT mentioned in the original Constitution but Scalia and four of his colleagues seem to think they have the same rights as individuals (see the Citizens United case). If he feels the way he does about the role of courts and judges maybe he should resign from the Supreme Court (or be impeached) before he does any more damage!

January 04 2011 at 8:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
wgdisk

you asked for it people - enjoy.

January 04 2011 at 5:51 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
bohemianacres

Sometimes, as in this case, what is not said in the Constitution is just as important as to what is said. That is why we have BOTH the S. Court and the Legislature. What one can or can not do can be undone by the other. Sorry, Margaret. God is not a woman. But then neither is God a man. Get a grip.

January 04 2011 at 5:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bohemianacres's comment
Steve

How do you know?

January 04 2011 at 7:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
franplatt

I never thought I would agree with Antonin Scalia on anything, but in this case, sadly, he is right. This is why we needed the Equal Rights Amendment, which got shot down by the right wing spreading idiotic scare stories about unisex bathrooms. Maybe it's time to revive the effort.

January 04 2011 at 3:53 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
Margaret

This man is a disgrace to the position he holds in the Supreme Court. How DARE he tell me that I am not equal to a man. Who the heck does he think he is? I don't care what his position is, he has no right to deny me MY rights. Disgusting. Now we see how the conservatives see things. If you aren't white and male, you are second or even third class. Typical. Time to start asserting ourselves a little more strongly, ladies. We have to do this for our sisters, aunts, mothers AND most importantl, our daughters.

January 04 2011 at 3:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Margaret's comment
setfan

Margaret, your interpretation is NOT what he said. What he said was that the Constitution does not protect you from discrimination in all forms. This is something a legislature is responsible for "spelling out." Besides, the Constitution only can protect you from the government, not your neighbor. It is up to the legislatures to discern what is or is not a crime and sets out the rules of society. At no point was he saying that a woman and man weren't equal, nor was there any reference to sexual preference, instead he was commenting on the content of the Constitution. Another example along these same lines: I will challenge you to pick up a copy of the Constitution and find the word privacy or the right to privacy, yet we all have one.

January 04 2011 at 3:51 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
brianswilson

Margret, you are exactly right. According to Justice Scalia you don't have a right to privacy (especially when you talk to a doctor), and now you don't have the right to be treated equally when it comes to the rest of the laws either (corporations are citizens, just not you). It is time Scalia stepped down or was removed for incompetence. Given the current push to redefine "All persons..." clause of the 14th amendment to exclude some people, you should be very concerned that "All persons..." could be distorted to mean not women, not non-whites, or any other meaning the winds of prejudice may blow into the political arena.

January 08 2011 at 7:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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