Roe v. Wade ‘a total absurdity,’ Scalia told audience
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s belief that women have no protection under the constitution could herald the return of officially-sanctioned gender discrimination, a prominent Washington lawyer says.
Justice Scalia reiterated his position that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment doesn’t guarantee protection against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation in a magazine interview published this month.
“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex,” Scalia told California Lawyer. “The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.”
Scalia, long known to be a constitutional “originalist” and a conservative stalwart on the Supreme Court, argued that it’s up to legislatures to pass laws that protect women against discrimination, and doing so wouldn’t be unconstitutional.
“If indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society,” he said. “If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box.”
Scalia’s belief that the Constitution simply has no view on the question of gender didn’t sit well with Marcia D. Greenberger, the Washington-based founder of the National Women’s Law Center.
“In these comments, Justice Scalia says if Congress wants to protect laws that prohibit sex discrimination, that’s up to them,” Greenberger told the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel. “But what if they want to pass laws that discriminate? Then he says that there’s nothing the court will do to protect women from government-sanctioned discrimination against them. And that’s a pretty shocking position to take in 2011.”
Greenberger went on to suggest that, if Scalia’s attitude becomes the majority view on the court, gender equality could suffer severe setbacks.
Greenberger added that under Scalia’s doctrine, women could be legally barred from juries, paid less by the government, receive fewer benefits in the armed forces, and be excluded from state-run schools — all things that have happened in the past, before their rights to equal protection were enforced.
For the time being, Scalia’s strictly literal interpretation of the Constitution remains a minority viewpoint on the country’s highest court.
The Supreme Court has previously ruled that women are protected from discrimination under the 14th Amendment. In 1971, it ruled in Reed v. Reed that “to give a mandatory preference to members of either sex over members of the other … is to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Scalia’s position on gender and sexual orientation discrimination is nothing new. The Reagan-appointed justice told an audience last summer that the 14th Amendment doesn’t protect women because that wasn’t the intent of the amendment when it was written in 1868.
He also said the Roe V. Wade decision that struck down laws against abortion was based on “a total absurdity.” Scalia argued that the Supreme Court’s rationale — that abortion bans violated people’s right to privacy — was nonsense because the Constitution doesn’t recognize any right to privacy.
In 1965, the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that a state ban on contraceptives was unconstitutional because it violated the “right to marital privacy.” That ruling set the basis for Roe v. Wade, in which the court overturned bans on abortion on the grounds that they violated privacy.
Scalia has long advocated overturning Roe v. Wade, though it’s believed the court wouldn’t have enough votes to overturn it in a direct challenge.
Trump announces toughest sanctions ‘ever’ on Iran
President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran's central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.
"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country," he said.
The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.
The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.
Trump uncorks bizarre rant on ‘clean coal’ in Oval Office: ‘When you talk minerals, it’s about digging’
President Donald Trump on Friday uncorked a strange and nonsensical rant about the virtues of so-called "clean coal" during an Oval Office conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
When asked about the importance of Australia's mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.
"Coal, as an example, you're the leader of safety in coal digging and we've actually studied it," the president said. "We're doing a lot of coal. You have very little -- you have almost no -- used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don't have it anymore, you've got all of the dust down."
The View explodes in confusion after Meghan McCain makes Trump’s Ukraine debacle all about herself
Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.
"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.
"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."