Scalia: Unelected Justices Should Not Make Policy

Image: Scalia: Unelected Justices Should Not Make Policy

Monday, 22 Jul 2013 03:03 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in a speech in Colorado on Saturday that judges shouldn't make policy and that society's moral judgments should be left to those who are elected, not appointed.

Scalia said the Constitution was a "static document" that should not be interpreted by federal judges, who he says wrongly use it to make values decisions about the liberties of today's citizens, the Aspen Times reported.

In his speech to a meeting of the Utah State Bar Association in Snowmass, Colo., which received a standing ovation, Scalia noted society's success in setting its own moral compass.

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In a talk titled "Mullahs of the West: Judges as Moral Arbiters," Scalia cited a Congressional vote on women's suffrage at the turn of the 20th Century, and noted that the Supreme Court wasn't asked to weigh in. Instead, Congress followed the path of the Constitution by adopting the 19th amendment, giving women voting rights.

"Who in a democratic society should have the power to determine the government's view of what natural law is?" Scalia questioned. "In an open, democratic society, the people can debate these issues."

Among the issues Scalia cited for public judgment were a woman's right to choose abortion, the right of a society to execute someone convicted of a crime, as well as whether what he described as "homosexual sodomy" should be allowed, a point that will no doubt resonate among gay activists.

Scalia said the Constitution should not be interpreted as a living document that morphs with societal interests over time, but rather should work as its creators intended. Such modern reinterpretations distort how a Democratic society should function, he said.

Scalia added that legal professionals were about as qualified as "Joe Six Pack," as well as doctors, engineers and others to pass judgment on issues of man.

"I accept, for the sake of argument, that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged," the conservative justice joked. "Rather, I am questioning the propriety, indeed the sanity, of having a value-laden decision such as that made for the entire society by unelected judges."

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