Jurists are generally supposed to struggle with complex legal issues, weighing the subtleties and nuances of the law and legal history, and using their best judgment to reach sound conclusions to tough calls.
But for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, tough legal questions aren't difficult to answer at all (thanks to reader R.S. for the tip).
Scalia calls himself a "textualist" and, as he related to a few hundred people who came to buy his new book and hear him speak in Washington the other day, that means he applies the words in the Constitution as they were understood by the people who wrote and adopted them. [...]
"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute.
Mary Elizabeth Williams added, "It takes a special kind of man to shrug off challenges to death penalty and abortion restrictions with nary a care in the world about how his interpretations of text might affect real human lives, and to use the phrase 'homosexual sodomy' in 2012."
Quite right. The ease with which Scalia these draws conclusions is striking, but not surprising. In his mind, if gay people were legally prohibited from having sex two centuries ago, and the right to privacy is a sham, then there's no reason for the Supreme Court to protect those Americans' civil liberties against state intrusion now.
And who's Antonin Scalia? He's the right-wing jurist who, just this week, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) praised as his "model Supreme Court justice."
What's more, if you go to Mitt Romney's website right now, it tells voters, "As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito."