Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia struck a dismissive tone on Monday against diversity in a speech in Bozeman, Montana, the Associated Press reported.

"It's not up to the courts to invent new minorities that get special protections," Scalia told an audience at an event held by the Federalist Society, arguing that the high court is taking up matters best left before voters or Congress, a reference to its June 2013 decisions striking down both the Defense of Marriage act and California's Proposition 8, which barred same-sex marriages. Scalia dissented in both decisions.

Scalia also decried judicial involvement in issues like the National Security Administration's covert surveillance of citizens' phone and internet records, saying lawmakers had already addressed them.

"Of all the three branches, we are the one that knows the least about the nature of the threats to the country," Scalia told the audience. "We have the least ability to find out about it."

According to The Missoulian, Scalia was also critical against what he described as a losing battle to preserve the "original meaning" of the Constitution, saying they have forced confirmation proceedings for justices into becoming referendums on which rights they plan to keep or alter.

"The most important question when there is a nomination is not, 'Is this person a good lawyer,'" he told the crowd of about 300 people. "It's, 'Will this person put in the new rights that I like, and take out the ones I dislike.' It's like having a mini-constitutional convention every time you nominate a new justice."

[Image via Fox News]