• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Alito and Scalia: Have You No Sense of Decency Sirs?

In the 1940s and 1950s, countless people in the US were being bullied and brutalized by the anti-communist scare tactics and character assassinations of Senator Joseph McCarthy. The end of the McCarthy red-baiting era began when Joseph Welch stood up to McCarthy after he attacked a young lawyer on his staff. Welch was appalled by McCarthy’s callous disregard and despite McCarthy’s power, challenged him by stating: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” He concluded by saying “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

In the recent marriage equality case, Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia argued that marriage equality opens the door to polygamy, underage sex, and incest between brothers and sisters. This is the modern equivalent of McCarthy red-baiting and deserves the same response.

The cruel, illogical, heartless and hateful arguments of Alito and Scalia give considerable support and inspiration to right wing groups who literally demonize our sisters and brothers and sons and daughters who seek only to marry their same sex partners just like the rest of us.

Alito and Scalia give comfort to the likes of Rush Limbaugh who stated marriage equality leads to incest. To Rick Santorum who compares same sex relationships to bestiality and pedophilia. To the head of ironically named American Decency Association who claimed that gay rights is a satanic attack on the US. And to legions of other people and groups who practice hostility and violence against our sisters and brothers.

It is one thing to have these fringe haters outside on the courthouse steps. We allow the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi parties to demonstrate out on the steps. It is another matter entirely when they are in the exalted position as members of the court and while there feeding the fires of hatred in their public arguments.

It is past time for family, friends, lawyers, legal associations and law schools to ask Alito and Scalia to halt and to answer the question “Have you no sense of decency, sirs?”

Alito, long criticized for being a cranky, malicious mouthpiece of the anti-gay movement, was at it again when the court heard the marriage equality case. Alito is already famous for visibly shaking his head and mouthing opposition to President Obama in his 2010 State of the Union address and for throwing a mini-tantrum when other justices dissent.

Alito argued that approving the right to marriage equality for gay and lesbian people would open the door for 12 year olds to marry, for brothers and sisters to marry, and make polygamy possible for four lawyers who all want to marry each other. Alito’s problems are so often raised and widely known that they are characterized as his “polygamy perplex” by The New Yorker.

Alito’s fallacious slippery slope arguments, transparently couched as questions, were so ridiculous that they prompted John Stewart to ask whether, in the case where women fought for the right to vote, Alito might have asked “What if one day a dog wants to vote? How about that ladies?

Antonin Scalia, of course not to be outdone, argued that if marriage equality was recognized ministers would be forced to conduct such marriages even if their religious organizations opposed them. When Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that no ministers have ever been forced to conduct gay marriages Scalia would not hear of it. When the lawyer arguing the case and Justices Breyer and Kagan pointed out that the First Amendment already protected priests, rabbis, imams and ministers from conducting marriages inconsistent with their religions, Scalia refused to concede. Scalia, like Alito, also asked if marriage equality means polygamy would have to be recognized.

As one wise friend pointed out, our country still has the Ku Klux Klan but we do not take their arguments seriously. And there are no respected people openly espousing their arguments on the Supreme Court. No respected person openly argues that blacks and whites should not marry. Nor do any people argue openly that women do not deserve the right to vote. Yet, there are people on the Supreme Court who continue to openly repeat the brutally crude applause lines of right wing anti-gay hate groups. It is time that stopped.

It is time all people of good will stand up to the haters, especially those on the Supreme Court, and say, “Until this moment, Justices, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness…You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sirs? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer who teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans.

More articles by:

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
#OUTNOW
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail