I had to drop what I was doing this morning when I sat the headline “Scalia: Women Don’t Have Constitutional Protection Against Discrimination” (article here). Surely it was an exaggerated come-on piece to get me to click (and it worked).
I was wrong. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia really said in an interview with a legal magazine, “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.”
So how important is the Constitution for protecting people’s rights? Apparently not very. Scalia goes on to say, “You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box.”
Unless you happen to be a corporation. Scalia et al continued the practice of defining corporations as persons with equal protection under the 14th Amendment (there is an article here on the history and meaning of the practice here–in short, define which “persons” are “citizens” and then grant protection to “citizens.”) Corporations are, of course, “legal persons” endowed by their creators with perpetual life and by the courts with inalienable rights by the 14th Amendment (as opposed to us “natural persons” who have limited life and apparently limited protection against discrimination by the 14th Amendment).
Apparently, “natural persons,” or at least female “natural persons” only need the protection of the laws, as Scalia said about the limits of the Constitution, “Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
So who else does not need the additional protections of equality? Perhaps workers over 40, African-Americans, gays and lesbians?
Did corporations really need to be given the rights to control our elections through donations? What’s next, the corporate right to vote? Oh, right–they’d only get one vote that way, much better to control the whole process through funding.
So, Justice Scalia, do you count yourself as one of those “nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society” or does that description just apply to the justices with whom you don’t vote?
Well, girls everyone, I guess we’re lucky that, for now, Justice Scalia is the only member of the Supreme Court who is willing to go on the record with such positions. Let’s hope our luck holds out. . . .