Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia touched off a fierce debate over the Constitution this week by saying, in an interview with California Lawyer magazine, that the 14th Amendment does not protect against discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, called Scalia's stance "shocking," saying it suggests the government could allow discrimination against women and the courts would have no constitutional grounds to stop it. Did Scalia misspeak? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about Scalia's comments)
Scalia is just plain wrong: Justice Scalia should know better, says Alex Pareene in Salon. The 14th Amendment says "equal protection under the laws will be afforded to citizens, not 'straight male citizens,' or whatever distinction Scalia's making here." He's supposed to be the "originalist" who goes by what the Constitution says, so he should interpret it "literally," not twist it to suit his "ultra-conservative Republican" politics.
"Antonin 'Women Don't Have Rights' Scalia will teach Republicans the Constitution"
There is nothing shocking about what Scalia said: Justice Scalia's view is "neither novel nor new," says William Jacobson in Legal Insurrection. "The Constitution does not address discrimination on the basis of sex" — if it did, the Equal Rights Amendment would never have been proposed. As usual, liberals are "dumbing-down" the Constitution to make it mean what they want it to mean.
"More dumbed-down talk about the Constitution from a you-know-who"
Scalia is only half right: The 14th Amendment was actually intended to protect some women, says Jack Balkin in Balkinization. When the amendment was being debated in 1868, supporters figured it wouldn't affect married women, whose identities at the time were legally merged with their husbands'. But lawmakers knew they were extending rights to single women, who weren't covered by existing rules. Scalia needs to brush up on his history.
"Scalia on sex equality"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The keys to succeeding with a job recruiter
- These real-life Rosie the Riveters changed the face of labor
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
Subscribe to the Week