By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com January 03 2011 7:35 PM ET
In an interview, Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia says the Constitution doesn't promise protections for women and gays.
California Lawyer asked Scalia the following question: "In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?"
The ultraconservative judge replied that the Constitution doesn't require discrimination against minorities, but that it certainly doesn't prohibit it.
"Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant," Scalia said of the 14th Amendment protecting women. "Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws."
Scalia's responses were met with sharp criticism by some. "In these comments, Justice Scalia says if Congress wants to protect laws that prohibit sex discrimination, that's up to them," Marcia Greenberger, founder of the National Women's Law Center, told The Huffington Post. "But what if they want to pass laws that discriminate?"