Supreme Hypocrisy

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia did his best yesterday to sound like the constructionist the mass media insists that he is. The AP reports that Scalia, referring to himself in third person during a speech sponsored by the Federalist Society, explained:

“Scalia does have a philosophy, it’s called originalism,” he said. “That’s what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do,”

It appears that he was telling this for the truth, not as a joke as it would appear. The reality is that Scalia agrees with the Constitution only when the agreement aligns with his own personal and religious opinions. He is a barrel of contradictions: deferring to state authority when to do otherwise would advance personal freedom, and reaching far outside the limitations of the Constitution to federalize things like self-medication.

Long vilified as “a strict constructionist,” Scalia’s frequent fondness for evermore government power goes completely ignored. Although the justice’s schizophrenic rulings occasionally favor David over Goliath, his strict interpretation apparently stops well short of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution Scalia purportedly believes

is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn’t say other things.

One thing the Constitution doesn’t say is that its commerce clause trumps every other law on the planet and that an appeal to said clause grants Washington autocrats unlimited power over their subjects.

Liberty would have a true friend indeed were Scalia the constructionist he is perceived to be. Instead, we get only lip service to “state’s rights” and limited government. Parading himself as a champion of freedom and referring to non-constructionists (like himself) as idiots, Scalia’s speech was pure hypocrisy.

With many of the Washington power-whores, you know what you’re getting — they don’t bother to claim any understanding of or respect for the Constitution. But with dissembling antinomians like Bush and Scalia, the insistence that they are what they are not damages the image of true constructionists, what few exist.

Artus Register

A self-described "objectivist-leaning libertarian deist," Artus Register became a full fledged libertarian after the 2000 elections. An unapologetic freedom-lover, enemy of the state, trouble maker, and permanent subscriber to the "ain't a dime's worth of difference" ideology, Register enjoys few things more than illustrating the hypocrisy of the so-called "left" and "right." When not bellowing from his cyber soapbox, he enjoys Cuban tobacco, good whiskey, and better debate. He lives with his wife in the American southeast where he works as a privacy consultant.You can contact him, if you must, at minarchist[at]

  1. Sweet, you made me look up “antinomian”. Otherwise, though, Judge Jones (the one in the ID case) brilliantly demonstrated how “judicial activism” is merely a political term.

  2. You mean Hiibel vs Nevada? It is amazing that the justices can find cause for whatever suits them in the invented privacy protection and actual due process requirement of the 14th Amendment, and completely ignore both in that case. I don’t want to wax conspiratorial, but maybe there’s a reason everyone is so scared of the Bush Administration.
    Do you have a link to Judge Jones’ comments you referred to?

  3. Constructionism is overrated. In fact, the rulings of some constructionists could conceivably be statist at times, if they have a Bill Clinton like misunderstanding of what the meaning of “is” is. Resorting to a purely textual analysis of the Constitution can be dangerous – all kinds of frayed logic can be used to try and manufacture an interpretation of founder’s intent or purpose. Constructionism is merely a tool for Constitutional interpretation. Founder’s Intent is another, and it should clearly be established by way of the anti-Federalist papers and the Federalist papers. If a law fails either test, it must be accepted as UNConstitutional.