Famous Antonin Scalia Quotes

[International law] doesn’t show what the Constitution originally meant, and it doesn’t show what is fundamentally important to Americans today. It shows what’s fundamentally important to somebody else today.


That’s the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. But you would have to be an idiot to believe that. The Constitution is not a living organism; it is a legal document. It says something and doesn’t say other things.


It is a Constitution that morphs while you look at it like Plasticman…. That is contrary to our whole tradition, to in God we trust on the coins, to Thanksgiving proclamations, to (Congressional) chaplains, to tax exemption for places of worship, which has always existed in America.


If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again. You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That’s flexibility.


If we’re picking people to draw out of their own conscience and experience a ‘new’ Constitution, we should not look principally for good lawyers. We should look to people who agree with us. When we are in that mode, you realize we have rendered the Constitution useless.


If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.


Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited under the Constitution?


The government has room to scale back individual rights during wartime without violating the Constitution. The Constitution just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires.


You can’t come in smugly and with great self satisfaction and say ‘Oh it’s torture, and therefore it’s no good.’ Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the constitution? It would be absurd to say you couldn’t do that. And once you acknowledge that, we’re into a different game.


Many think it not only inevitable but entirely proper that liberty give way to security in times of national crisis–that, at the extremes of military exigency, inter arma silent leges. Whatever the general merits of the view that war silences law or modulates its voice, that view has no place in the interpretation and application of a Constitution designed precisely to confront war and, in a manner that accords with democratic principles, to accommodate it.


When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868, when the 14th Amendment was adopted?


The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress ‘[a]ll legislative Powers’ enumerated in the Constitution. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them.


The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress ‘[a]ll legislative Powers’ enumerated in the Constitution. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them.


If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.


Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.


We should start calling this law SCOTUS care … [T]his Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years … And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favours some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favourites.


[International law] doesn’t show what the Constitution originally meant, and it doesn’t show what is fundamentally important to Americans today. It shows what’s fundamentally important to somebody else today.