Supreme Court Justice Scalia - Judges Not Qualified To Make Moral Decisions

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by GotZoom, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    BOSTON --U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia railed against the era of the "judge-moralist," saying judges are no better qualified than "Joe Sixpack" to decide moral questions such as abortion and gay marriage.

    "Anyone who thinks the country's most prominent lawyers reflect the views of the people needs a reality check," he said during a speech to New England School of Law students and faculty at a Law Day banquet on Wednesday night.

    The 70-year-old justice said the public, through elected Legislatures -- not the courts -- should decide watershed questions such as the legality of abortion.

    Scalia decried his own court's recent overturning of a state anti-sodomy law, joking that he personally believes "sexual orgies eliminate tension and ought to be encouraged," but said a panel of judges is not inherently qualified to determine the morality of such behavior.

    He pointed to the granting of voting rights to women in 1920 through a constitutional amendment as the proper way for a democracy to fundamentally change its laws.

    "Judicial hegemony" has replaced the public's right to decide important moral questions, he said. Instead, he said, politics has been injected in large doses to the process of nominating and confirming federal judges.

    Noting that the Senate confirmed his high court nomination by a 98-0 vote, Scalia said, "You could not get a judge with my views confirmed to the Court of Appeals today."

    He said code words such as "mainstream" and "moderate" are now used to describe liberal judicial nominees.

    "What is a moderate interpretation of (the Constitution)? Halfway between what it says and halfway between what you want it to say?" he said.

    Scalia, a well known as a strict "constructionist" in his interpretation of the Constitution, opened his remarks by saying, "I brought three speeches, and I decided to give the most provocative one, because this seems to be too happy a crowd."

    Margaret Marshall, chief justice of the state Supreme Judicial Court, and author of the controversial decision that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts, was scheduled to sit at the head table with Scalia, but was absent due to illness.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/03/15/scalia_critical_of/
     
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  2. liberalogic
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    liberalogic Member

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    He's right in one sense, but he's wrong in another. We have laws because they are meant to be followed and interpreted with their initial intent. Decisions such as abortion and gay marriage can't be determined by us as people because we all bring our own biases to the table. For instance, I believe that a fetus should be considered to be a human or a baby after a few months of development, which allows me to say that the mother should be able to abort it anytime before that. There are those who believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder at any point in the pregnancy. Since we can't agree on these issues, we look to law to create a fair decision, one that is not biased by personal views. Just because most of the country is against gay marriage, does that make them moral? Morality is an ambiguous word, we need law to standardize it so that our own beliefs don't get in the way. Otherwise, it's just people legislating taste and making opinions into law.
     
  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    SO you think that a panel of judges IS inherently qualified to determine the morality of such behavior ?
     
  4. liberalogic
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    liberalogic Member

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    I'm not trying to argue one way or another-- I'm saying law should be the overriding factor. But by saying that people should vote on, all we are doing is taking an opinion poll. What's more important: how I feel, you feel, or anyone feels, or law and its implications?
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    A law is nothing until interpreted and enforced. Apparently some people are questioning the judgement of who have been appointed and confirmed to the courts where this interpretation is done.
     
  6. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    Amen, Amen , Amen!

    :rock: :usa: :bow3: :thup: :clap: :salute: :beer: :thewave:
     
  7. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    That's why, in 1787, we got ourselves a republic, so the elected representatives of the people could determine the laws. It was never the intent of the FF's to give final authority to the judiciary.
     

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