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Monday, February 22, 2016

Justice Antonin Scalia's Conservatism: Bombast and Bollocks



It is no secret that there are those in our government who, having lost two Presidential elections to Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrats, have resigned themselves to the prospects of doing everything they can to prevent the President from "Presidenting". Witness the reaction of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In a not unexpected but nevertheless stunning(sarcasm intended) development, these ardent defenders of the Constitution would now invent every political contrivance to prevent this President from executing his constitutional responsibility to nominate a replacement for the late Justice Scalia.

They are still cringing in their reactionary corners from the establishment of the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land. That is an achievement of this Presidency that has put a hot dagger through the political hearts of these reactionaries. Combine this with other recent rulings that raise the bar of Justice above the narrow economic and cultural interests of the American conservative establishment, and witness the blatant mental and political melt down of these hypocrites. When the usual verbiage of their semantic tool-sets came up short, they resorted to the store of their old cultural bag of shit... Bullshit that is.

Justice Scalia couldn't face the facts of his judicial/cultural ass-whooping in the matters of the standing up of the ACA and Marriage Equality, so in his pain and cultural anguish he resorted to his bag of cultural antiquities... "Giggery-pokery!" he screamed. The linguists among us reveal the meaning of this bit of antiquity as:  a manipulative or slyly dishonest act – synonyms include “trickery” or “hocus-pocus”. According to Merriam-Webster, the word is thought to stem from the Scottish phrase joukery-pawkery, jock being "cheat" or "dodge" and "pawk" being to "trick." In his vain originalism he reached beyond the contemporary verbiage available to him in order to mask his hyped-up disgust at progress that he and his kind are impotent to stop. 

Between the rulings on Fair Housing, Marriage, and Obamacare, Conservatives in Congress and their servants on the Supreme Court have had no constitutional place to hide from their own giggery-pokery.  For better or for worse we are a nation of laws. Not only that... We find ourselves in a cultural-political dynamic that continues to evolve in the direction of greater democracy. According to the Scalia doctrine, any standard of jurisprudence that rebuked his own facile, illegitimate backwardness... was to be considered "trickery".

Jeffrey Toobin in an article in The New Yorker has this to say about Scalia's perspective as a jurist: "... it was in his jurisprudence that Scalia most self-consciously looked to the past. He pioneered “originalism,” a theory holding that the Constitution should be interpreted in line with the beliefs of the white men, many of them slave owners, who ratified it in the late eighteenth century". The historical context observed in Toobin's critique is in and of itself obnoxious enough. Combine that with the fact that we still struggle against the moral short-comings of that period, and what we have is an inexcusable deficiency in Scalia's approach itself... one that we must refuse to continue to tolerate. 

The kind of perspective that a Justice like Scalia brings to his work is akin to that which informs the reasoning that is typical of the religious fundamentalists whose brand of "originalism" led them to believe that the earth is flat. This kind of ignorance not only sought to stand in the way of progress, it led to the tragic victimization of anyone who dared to bring a more scientific perspective to bear in their analysis of life and the world we share. It was this kind of unreasonableness that led to the oppression and torturous death of many who dared to expound and live out their own understanding of being in this world.

The backwardness that Justices like Scalia and Thomas represent is thankfully being left in the tragic past in which it functioned to deny equal access to the blessings of Liberty. The days when people were denied the Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness... and when we could expect such a denial to be backed up by the guardians of Justice must, and are passing.  The moral "trickery" fueled by rhetorical bombast that passed for Justice in those days is being called by its real name... Bull excrement... Or, in the antiquity of Justice Scalia, ... Bollocks! The reality we wrestle with in our judicial system is that the barbs through which the likes of a Justice Scalia and a Justice Thomas voice their objections to progress, and the moral garb in which they clothe those objections, are terribly soiled by the historically putrid waste of Justice denied. 

The work of Justice for All continues among us. With the passing of Antonin Scalia we have good reasons to be enthusiastic about Hope and Change... Remember that? Bombast and bollocks aside, those who were heralds for the demise of this President's "legacy" spoke too soon. 

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