Patterico's Pontifications

7/4/2003

HAPPY FOURTH TO PATTERICO READERS:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:56 pm

HAPPY FOURTH TO PATTERICO READERS: We enjoyed the fireworks on the beach tonight. Hope your Fourth was equally rewarding.

ANOTHER UNFAIR PIECE ABOUT SCALIA:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:31 am

ANOTHER UNFAIR PIECE ABOUT SCALIA: Debunking distortions of opinions by Justice Scalia could become a full-time job. This piece by David Broder says: “Scalia railed against ‘the so-called homosexual agenda’ and declared himself on the side of those who ‘do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children and teachers in their children’s schools or as boarders in their homes.'”

I’ll give you the same link to Scalia’s dissent that I gave in my previous post. Read it here. Forgive me for duplicating part of a quote from my earlier post, but it is necessary to give the full context of both of the quotes distorted by Broder.

“Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.

“Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive. The Court views it as ‘discrimination’ which it is the function of our judgments to deter. So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously ‘mainstream'; that in most States what the Court calls ‘discrimination’ against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal; that proposals to ban such ‘discrimination’ under Title VII have repeatedly been rejected by Congress . . . that in some cases such ‘discrimination’ is mandated by federal statute [reference to the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy of the armed forces], and that in some cases such ‘discrimination’ is a constitutional right, see Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U. S. 640 (2000).

Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means. Social perceptions of sexual and other morality change over time, and every group has the right to persuade its fellow citizens that its view of such matters is the best. That homosexuals have achieved some success in that enterprise is attested to by the fact that Texas is one of the few remaining States that criminalize private, consensual homosexual acts. But persuading one’s fellow citizens is one thing, and imposing one’s views in absence of democratic majority will is something else.” (My emphasis.)

That is what Broder characterizes as Scalia’s “rail[ing] against the ‘so-called homosexual agenda and “declaring himself on the side of” people who don’t want to associate with homosexuals. You can make up your own mind, but to me, Broder has unfairly characterized Scalia’s position.

Scalia’s point, evident when you read the entire passage above, is simply that the Supreme Court is making judgments that are supposed to be made by the people. Here, in the case of homosexuality, the Supreme Court has signed onto the “homosexual agenda,” which obviously includes seeking a reduction in the disapproval that many Americans feel concerning homosexuals. That many Americans feel such disapproval now is an inarguable point, illustrated by the fact that the anti-homosexual opinions of many Americans are embodied in federal and state law. Homosexuals are making progress at eroding that disapproval, and they have every right to do so. [And I personally hope they succeed.] But that should be done through the political process, not decreed by six lawyers coming from an elitist law background which is grounded in political views not shared by many in the country.

Now. Isn’t that a perfectly good defense of the people’s right to make decisions for themselves? I think it is. And when you start to read Scalia’s opinions, you will note that this is the common thread running through most of his opinions on controversial topics: let the people decide for themselves.

But Broder tells his readers that Scalia is “rail[ing] against the ‘so-called homosexual agenda” and “declaring himself on the side of” people who don’t want to associate with homosexuals. Broder has a right to his opinion, but I think it grossly distorts what Scalia said. Broder’s column is unfair to his readers, most of whom will never read Scalia’s opinion, but rather will take Broder’s word for it. Broder is seeing this all through the lenses of his hatred of Scalia. These lenses are legion in America’s newsrooms.


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