Saturday, February 13, 2016

On Scalia's "Originalist" Nonsense

Antonin Scalia was only an ‘originalist’ when it was convenient:

...But I wonder whether the people that Scalia seeks to channel for this understanding, using his historical originalism theory to divine what the people in the state ratifying conventions of the Constitution in 1788 or the Bill of Rights in 1791 understood those words to mean, would agree? Under the Bill of Rights, would those Founding-era people have agreed with the majority in Hobby Lobby that the religious rights of the owners of corporations trump the constitutional rights of their workers to exercise their personal autonomy privacy right to choose their own form of family planning? In Scalia’s historical originalist terms, if there had been a tea shop run by two former employees of the British East India Company in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1791, would Thomas Jefferson and James Madison have agreed that under the First Amendment religion clauses its owners could have imposed their Church of England religious views on their American employees in opposition to a federal law dealing with the personal autonomy choices of their workers? Of course not. It is hard to imagine that the same people who fought and won a revolution against the economic enterprises of King George III and Parliament, believed that the Bill of Rights were intended to protect the free speech and religion rights of such corporations...

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