Let Me Be Petty For You: Day One

« June 2015 »


In the wake of Friday's decision by the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marraige nation-wide, I understand that the LGBT community has to be gracious in victory for the sake of optics and public relations. Sure, it would feel great for them to point and laugh at all the hyperbolic, conservative, self-shitting reactions... But since this SCOTUS decision pretty much represents the last time I'll get to argue all the usual arguments with all the usual people who've LOST LOST LOST LOST, let me be be horrible and petty for you. For like a week.

And what better place to start, really, than with the dissent of Supreme Court justice and man berating a supermarket cashier over the price of whole milk Antonin Scalia, who, as one of the first reactions to the 5-4 decision, set a standard for unhingery that few have matched. ACTUAL QUOTES TIME!

"Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best."

First, it's weird to see Scalia talking about the Supreme Court like he's not even on it. But more importantly, what public debate about gay marriage has Scalia been seeing, and is there any way to retroactively replace the godforsaken awful one we've been having to date with his version? Because all I've seen for the last decade or two are a bunch of yahoos comparing plumbing fixtures to butt sex and gay relationships to dog-fucking. Which is certainly American democracy, but I wouldn't go around calling it "the best".

"And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie."

And that, right there, is why lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court are probably a bad idea. When your legal argument is "A bunch of hippies didn't get married and slept around fifty years ago, therefore the basis of the majority opinion is inherently flawed", it's probably time for you to be replaced with someone who's got more recent references and a vague sort of grip on, you know. Reality.

"And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation. But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch."

I made a joke last week that Scalia does whatever Rush Limbaugh says, but I'm wondering if I maybe haven't hit on a deeper truth. Because you'd think someone who'd spent nearly 30 years on the court would be aware that it had caused social change without representation on a nearly constant basis over the years. If Scalia wants to argue the Court was wrong all those other times too, he should come right out and say it. I'm sure Clarence Thomas will still like him.

"If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

Somehow, even though the fortune cookie is a largely American invention, I can't help but think Scalia's being a little bit racist here, which, to be fair, is about a quarter as racist as usual. Anyway, as much as I'd love to see Scalia put his head in a bag, even one not made out of plastic, I'd love even more to figure out what part of that sentence he objects to. The Constitution promising liberty? Certain specific rights? I bet it's "define and express their identity", which is really only mystical to an old straight white dude who's had his identity expressed by default for all 79 years he's been on the planet.

You could almost feel sorry for him if he weren't, you know. Antonin Scalia.