Originally published on Advocate.com October 25 2003 12:00 AM ET
Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia ridiculed the high court's recent ruling legalizing gay sex, telling an audience of conservative activists that the ruling by the highest U.S. judicial body ignores the Constitution in favor of a modern, liberal sensibility. The ruling, Scalia said Thursday, "held to be a constitutional right what had been a criminal offense at the time of the founding and for nearly 200 years thereafter." Scalia adopted a mocking tone to read from the court's June ruling that struck down state sodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere. Scalia had written a bitter dissent in the case, known as Lawrence v. Texas, that was longer than the ruling itself.
In his address Thursday, Scalia said that judges, including his colleagues on the Supreme Court, throw over the original meaning of the Constitution when it suits them. "Most of today's experts on the Constitution think the document, written in Philadelphia in 1787, was simply an early attempt at the construction of what is called a liberal political order," Scalia told a gathering of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. "All that the person interpreting or applying that document has to do is to read up on the latest academic understanding of liberal political theory and interpolate these constitutional understandings into the constitutional text."
Scalia is a hero to conservatives who favor a strict adherence to the actual text of the Constitution. The 50-year-old Intercollegiate Studies Institute is a private conservative education organization that sponsors lectures, conferences, and scholarships. The group says its mission is to "enhance the rising generation's knowledge of our nation's founding principles--limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and Judeo-Christian moral standards."