Entries in Justice Antonin Scalia (4)


Scalia Discusses Race, Homosexuality, Boredom

Paul Morigi/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia showed a lighter side while joking with students from the University of California Washington Center.

At the event Monday, held to publicize his new book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, Scalia answered students’ questions on a range of issues and offered insight into the perspective from the other side of the bench.

Scalia said most times justices ask questions in order to make colleagues understand which way they are leaning a certain way on a case.

“Sometimes I ask questions just because I’m bored, just to stay awake,” he joked. “Very often the questioning is done to convey your point of view to your colleagues.”

Scalia also touched on topics as varied as his viewpoint on the Constitution and opposition of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The section requires that states and regions that have previously discriminated against minority voters such as African Americans gain federal approval when they want to change voting regulations in their states.

Scalia called the act one of “racial preferment,” which would continue to be reauthorized by Congress unless the high court took action.

Congress last reauthorized the act for another 25 years in 2006. The Supreme Court decision on the act’s constitutionality is expected in late June.

In February, when the act was last brought before the Supreme Court, Scalia had said Congressional support was based in part on what he called “racial entitlement.”

“I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about,” Scalia said. “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

Scalia shot down a question on homosexuality when a student asked about the interpretation of the constitution’s 14th Amendment regarding same-sex relationships, something the student suggested was a “new technical phenomena.”

“There was homosexuality in the time of the 14th Amendment. Every state had laws against it. It was criminal in every state,” he said. “I don’t consider homosexuality a new technical phenomena...people didn’t come forward and demand a constitutional right to homosexual marriage before (in the time of the 14th Amendment).”

Scalia agreed when questioned by a student as to whether fellow Justice Clarence Thomas pushed him to the right when Thomas came on to the court in 1991 or if it was the other way around.

“What had happened was I had followed Clarence’s lead, he knew that,” he said. “Clarence is his own man, he’s not going to follow me just to follow me. You know he’s a very stubborn man too, which is why he won’t ask questions. The more the press is on him for not asking questions the less likely he is to ask questions.”

Thomas broke his silence for the first time in seven years earlier this year when he made a joke during an oral argument.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Antonin Scalia Hints Second Amendment Not Absolute

Paul Morigi/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Is private possession of hand-held rocket launchers protected by the Second Amendment?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Sunday that it might be up to him and the eight other judges to decide just how far "the right to bear arms" goes.

Asked to comment about the Aurora, Colo., movie shooting and accused gunman James Holmes legally purchasing an assault rifle and high-capacity magazine, Scalia, a strict constitutionalist by his own admission,  said it remains to be seen whether there "are some limitations that can be imposed."

In 2008, Scalia was the lead author of a ruling that invalidated a ban on handgun ownership in Washington, D.C., saying it violated the basic tenets of the Second Amendment.  He mentioned that it does not apply to "arms that cannot be hand-carried," such as cannons.

But are hand-held rocket launchers, which are just as powerful as cannons, in that category? Scalia said it will probably fall to the court to determine what limitations should be applied to modern weapons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Warns of ‘Six Scalias’ on Supreme Court Under Romney

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PARK CITY, Utah) -- Vice President Joe Biden warned supporters on Tuesday that a Mitt Romney presidency could mean a Supreme Court with “six Scalias,” referring to Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the court’s most conservative members.

“Close your eyes, I’m not being facetious, and imagine what a Supreme Court would look like after four years [of Romney],” Biden told a crowd of 300 donors at a fundraiser in Park City, Utah. “Imagine what it will look like for women with six Scalias on the bench.”

Biden suggested the appointment of conservative justices to the bench under a President Romney -- more “Scalias, [Samuel] Alitos and [John] Robertses,” he said -- would fundamentally alter the court’s current balance and threaten established precedent, including Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

“These guys have a social policy out of the ’50s,” Biden said.

The comment comes nearly two weeks after conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal wing to uphold the administration’s signature health care law, which mandates free preventive health services to women, including contraception.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Justice Scalia to Give Congress Lecture on Constitution, Separation of Powers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has agreed to give new lawmakers a lesson on the Constitution.

Conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., invited Scalia to lecture incoming House Members on the issue of the separation of powers.

Bachmann told ABC on election night as Republicans were sweeping to power in Congress that she would launch the series of lectures to educate incoming members.

She has said the classes could occur weekly and compared them to classes football players take to bone up on plays before a game. The classes should be open to all lawmakers.

So far, the first event with Scalia is closed to the press and slated to occur on Jan. 5. It is unclear whether there is precedent for such a meeting of the minds between the second and third branches.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio