Sunday, February 14, 2016

Antonin Scalia's Passing

Antonin Scalia’s Passing

by Stephen Lendman

Appointed Associate Supreme Court Justice by Ronald Reagan in 1986, he represented core hard-right neocon extremism throughout his tenure.

Its ending saddens no one for governance serving all its people equitably and fairly, not just its privileged few. Scalia was ideologically over-the-top. He supported rolling back civil liberties, defiling human rights, and ending social justice.

He opposed core voting rights, reproductive choice, government regulations, labor rights, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, gay, lesbian and transgender rights, environmental protections and other progressive issues - subverting justice in defense of privilege, endorsing fascism over democratic values.

Conservative Judge Richard Posner once called him “the most influential justice of the last quarter century,” arguably the most deplorable among an array of right-wing extremists he failed to explain, often writing for the majority in major cases, opinions subverting fundamental justice.

Scalia was no ordinary conservative. He was a right-wing extremist, morally and ethically unfit to serve. 

In Atkins v. Virginia (2002), the landmark death penalty case, he argued against excluding mentally retarded adults from capital punishment.

He believed Roe v. Wade was wrongfully decided and should be overturned. He called the important 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between nations (inviolable international law) not binding on US courts.

Presidents should have broad discretionary power to govern as they wish, he said. Foreign laws should be rejected out-of-hand.

He called corporate political spending “free speech,” supported Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, making one dollar = one vote official US policy, empowering Big Money in America more than ever.

He was one of five hard-right Supreme Court justices annulling the 2000 US presidential popular vote, halting Florida’s ballot recount, installing their choice for president over the will of the people, revealing US electoral tragedy and farce.

He supported weakened Miranda rights, backed the right of police to strip-search without probable cause, and sided with Exxon-Mobil in reducing its lower-court ordered damages for its 1989 Prince William Sound, Alaska oil spill to an amount too little to matter, a small fraction of its daily revenue.

He deplored universal healthcare, maintained that states have no authority to protect patient rights or ban cigarette ads near schools.

He opposed immigrant rights, supported no judicial limit on detaining them, endorsed automatic deportation for aliens convicted of crimes, even when too minor to matter, besides numerous examples of wrongful convictions.

He was against employers being legally required to hire women and minorities, supported limiting their liability in sexual harassment cases, said rape victims can’t sue their attackers.

He opposed public education in America, a bedrock tradition, supported privatizing it, making it another corporate profit center.

He was against progressive taxation, believed private property should be exempt from government regulations.

The words “Equal Justice Under Law” adorn the west facade of the Supreme Court’s building. Since its 1798 establishment, its high-minded claim belies its deplorable history, most often supporting privilege, not equity and justice.

America was always ruled by men, not laws, operating for their own self-interests. “We the people” continues to mean its privilege class exclusively.

Scalia was Exhibit A. Whoever replaces him won’t change longstanding practice. Democracy remains pure fantasy, Supremes appointed to assure it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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