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The Certainty of Antonin Scalia

In this brief interview with California Lawyer Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia displays his trademark certainty — he knows everything and everything he thinks is right. Didn’t you know that?

Justice Scalia is certain that the court’s reputation survived the decision to make George W. Bush president, even though Al Gore won the presidential election of 2000. He says: “I was very, very proud of the way the Court’s reputation survived that….”

Justice Scalia is certain that the Constitution protects the rights of men, but not women: “Sorry to tell you that.”

Justice Scalia is certain even about what the Constitution has to say about the death penalty, abortion and suicide — what he calls the most controversial stuff: “I don’t even have to read the briefs, for Pete’s sake.”

The only thing he’s not quite certain of is his own judicial philosophy, what is cleverly called “originalism” and held up as an either/or option against what he calls “evolutionism.” About originalism he says “We don’t have the answer to everything, but by God we have an answer to a lot of stuff.”

In other words, originalism means “we know for sure what the framers of the Constitution meant, except when we don’t, at which point we guess.” But don’t you dare accuse an originalist of interpreting the Constitution! That’s for people who aren’t quite as certain as Justice Antonin Scalia!

(Photo courtesy of Carrie Devorah and WENN)

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