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Sex and the Supreme Moralizer


On June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Texas the right to prosecute consenting gay couples engaging in sex.

That’s all it did. If you read Justice Scalia’s scathing dissent (3 pages longer than the majority opinion deftly written by Justice Kennedy) in Lawrence vs. Texas, you would think the Court came out (nice pun, there!) and endorsed homosexuality sodomy, bestiality, incest, and adultery. But that is just because Scalia is intellectually dishonest, among his other many flaws. His ad hominem attacks on his colleagues is shameful; his admitted disgust of homosexuals appalling. This man ought to be impeached.

Scalia is the opposite of a conservative. He accuses the court of social engineering (he made a similar argument in dissenting in the University of Michigan law school case) by “buying into the homosexual agenda” (whatever that means). He rants and rails that civilization as we know it will end with the decision.

It is he who would end civilization as we know it. For civilization cannot thrive without civil liberties. It is he who would dictate his doctrinaire ideology on every man, woman, and child in the United States, perhaps the world. He would deny minorities any opportunity to better themselves after they have been repressed and abused by White Anglos and Catholics. He would deny a rape or incest victim an abortion. He would deny young women contraceptives.

Scalia is an arch-Catholic, proponent of the most extreme version of Catholicism. He likes a stiff drink and likes to smoke a cigar and swear, but he wants to tell you to whom and how you should express affection. And what to do and not do with your body. He buys into the control agenda of the power-mongers of the Catholic Church, the old-school Church that sought to control every aspect of its members spiritual and temporal lives. The branch of the church where the liturgy is in Latin so the people cannot understand it, where the Pope is almost God himself.

It is this same church, this same power, that has allowed rampant sexual abuse against young people to continue for years on end. That has engaged in frauds and coverups so massive that one wonders why the federal government has not instituted racketeering charges. Well, we know why–the Catholics have enormous power in Washington, D.C. and around the world. Power, money, greed, the holy trinity of all that is wrong with society–is at the heart of the Catholic Church’s shameful coverups, even enabling, of rape and molestation.

Like the Catholic Church itself, Scalia’s rant is all about power. It is about exclusion and bigotry. His claim of moral superiority is patently absurd, belied by his own words. For a moral man does not seek to control every thought and action of his fellow man. A moral man does not think that only he is moral and good. A moral man recognizes that morality is born of disparate social and individual values, and cannot be dictated by theology, let alone law. Taking a page, so to speak, from George Orwell’s 1984, in touting his self-professed morality, Scalia is decidedly immoral.

Scalia cries out for the days when law enforcement could persecute gays by breaking into their homes unannounced and arresting them in an intimate moment. I suppose he would brand and whip adulterers and women who have abortions, too (the dissent is as much a rant against Roe v. Wade and the court’s continued deference to it than as it is about sodomy). Prosecuting gays is the moral thing to do, he insists. How dare the law make it illegal to do so?

In his contempt for the decision of the majority, Scalia shows his disdain for any law that is not consistent with his ideological or theological world view. The word for that is anarchy. A close reading of Scalia’s dissents will usually reveal a veiled invitation for courts and governments to violate a decision of the court he disagrees with, as he did in the case of Sell v. United States, dealing with the forced medication of criminal defendants, in which he opined that some judges would be stupid enough to abide by what he considered the Court’s ill-advised decision.

Read his dissent in this Lawrence, and keep repeating to yourself–this is Bush’s favorite Supreme Court Justice. This is the man that Bush seeks to emulate in his judicial nominations.

Picture yourselves ten years from now with a majority of Scalias on the bench. With moderate O’Connor and Rehnquist gone, with liberal Stevens absent. Bush’s adoration of the man who wrote one of the most despicable and hate-filled dissents in the history of jurisprudence should be among the top reasons to do everything in your power to defeat George Bush in 2004.

For now, contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and resist George Bush’s nominees. Read about them and write your newspapers. Write the senators from your state who are on the committee.

We only know that Scalia despises homosexuals and minorities. What other groups are on his list?

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia and teaches law and psychology. She is writing a book on civil liberties post 9/11, and keeps an eye on Bush and Ashcroft’s trampling on the Bill of Rights at her Civil Liberties Watch. She would love to write a book about Scalia’s jurisprudence, but finds it too depressing. She can be reached at:

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