Colman Domingo
Subscribe To
The Advocate
Scroll To Top

Justice Antonin Scalia's Greatest Fits

Scalias Greatest Fits 633x375 0
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissents in LGBT rights cases can be accurately described as judicial hissy fits.

He uses expressions seldom seen in legal writings, such as “Kulturkampf,” “legalistic argle-bargle,” and “the black-robed supremacy.” In his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision in which the court’s majority ruled for nationwide marriage equality, he advised asking “the nearest hippie” if marriage affords freedom of intimacy. Sorry, Justice Scalia, but it’s kind of hard to find hippies these days.

We've collected some of Scalia's greatest fits from four LGBT-related cases. We’d like to bring you some “applesauce” and “jiggery-pokery” too, but those were in his Obamacare dissent. And you’ll notice the Proposition 8 case is missing from these fits, but that’s because Scalia actually sided with the majority in that decision — but it involved whether the supporters of the anti–marriage equality measure had standing to defend it in court, not the merits of the measure itself.

Lest the cantankerous justice restrain his opinion on marriage equality to cases actually addressing the freedom to marry, it's worth noting that Scalia managed to get a dig in at the court's pro-equality majority on the last day of this session, in a case about lethal injection and the broader constitutionality of the death penalty. 

The Monday after the court issued its landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, Scalia admonished his colleagues from the bench in an outburst MSNBC called "extraordinary."

"Last Friday, this court took away from the people the right to decide on same-sex marriage on the basis of their own policy preferences," Scalia lamented after his colleagues dissented on an opinion where he was in the majority. But, he added, "unlike opposite-sex marriage, the death penalty is approved by the Constitution."

We presume the honorable justice meant to say "same-sex marriage," unless he'd like to have the high court vote on the right of straight couples to marry.  


From our Sponsors