Scalia’s Political Theater Flops When Mixed With Anti-Gay ‘Animus’

ScaliaIn case you missed it yesterday, Amy Davidson at The New Yorker offered her thoughts on how Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s clear “animus” toward marriage equality, as seen in his stubborn and indulgent commitment to a comparison of same-sex love and bestiality, completely undercuts his pursuit of political theater:

A few months from now, when the Supreme Court hears arguments in the two
same-sex marriage cases it accepted for review last Friday, many
observers will likely be in [Princeton Student Duncan] Hosie’s position—listening with some
amazement to Scalia as he berates lawyers, fascinated by his animosity,
wondering about the point where a cruel note removes any enjoyment one
might find in intellectual theatrics.

There haven’t exactly been signs
that Scalia is mellowing. His dissent, this year, in an Arizona
immigration-law case, was as politicized and angry as ever—and
gay-rights cases do not exactly bring out his soft side. For the
health-care case, we had broccoli arguments; for same-sex marriage, we
will likely be coming back to bestiality.

The Los Angeles Times‘ editorial board also took on Scalia today, writing, “But the reality — and perhaps this is what so dismayed Hosie — is that
the Scalia opinions in question bristle with hostility toward
homosexuality and homosexuals.”

They went on: “Hosie wondered why Scalia couldn’t make his points without offensive implications about gays and the lives they live. But what if those slurs were the point? That’s a depressing possibility to contemplate as Scalia and his colleagues prepare to rule on cases involving same-sex marriage.”


  1. james says

    His comments would, I think, disqualify him from consideration as a nominee today. Partly because of the mean-spiritedness, which has deepened the longer he has been on the court, partly because he is signaling his decision in the case before arguments are heard. As I understand it, that is not appropriate behavior for a sitting judge.

  2. jomicur says

    Scalia has displayed, in the clearest possible way, a total lack of objectivity on the subject of gay rights. He should be required to recuse himself from any and all cases involving gay equality, exactly as he would be required to recuse from cases touching race after declaring that black people are subhuman.

  3. PAUL B. says

    You’re right James…but is there anything we can do about it? If you look past the obvious grand-standing, he’s pimping his book and like Ann Coulter…getting attention in any way he can so someone will buy it. As a member of he court…it seems pretty smarmy…but probably within acceptable limits legally or he wouldn’t be doing it. He’s phuking disgusting.

  4. Disgusted American says

    just a few months back – Ruth Bader Ginsberg was speaking in front of an audience and was asked a question – she responded that she could NOT answer that question – as it was mostl likely coming up in a Future case………so, whats the deal with Jerkoff Scalia? He should be Made to Recuse himself….

  5. atomic says

    In case anyone is unaware, that photograph of him appears to show him making a gesture that, in Italian culture, is considered the equivalent of giving someone the middle finger.

  6. Caliban says

    Scalia’s (incredibly stupid) opinion seems to be “If you can’t be morally opposed to homosexuality, you can’t be morally opposed to anything including murder.”

    The fact of the matter is we DO approve of murder in certain circumstances- the Death Penalty, war, and laws that excuse killing someone in self-defense. But where we do punish murder there’s a rational basis for it beyond religious/moral rules- you’re depriving someone of their rights.

    Strip away the Biblical/religious hocus-pocus about homosexuality and there IS no rational basis for anti-gay laws. Scalia imposes his Catholic faith on civil law and that has no business on the Supreme Court.

  7. Oliver says

    With all due respect, he looks, and sounds, like one of those assholes at the wedding reception that everyone wishes would just leave! (and asks, “Who knows him?”)

  8. Just wonderin' says

    Is it possible that Scalia’s non-rational opinions and his outrageous verbal animus toward LGBTs is due to being in an early stage of dementia? Is he that far removed from the lonely old man sitting on a park bench one sometimes see, talking to himself?

  9. Oliver says

    @Just Wonderin’
    interesting that you should suggest this! i thought this exact thing but didn’t dare broach it. in so many ways he reminds me of my own father, who does in fact have early stage dementia.

  10. Goombah Justice says

    You have to wonder if John Roberts, as Chief Justice, is man enough to tell Scalia that making these kinds of comments while he’s out hawking his new book is bringing disrepute on the SCOTUS, and that he should tone it down, if not shut up altogether.

    In fact, I wonder if Scalia isn’t acting out here of late, as a show of defiance to Roberts for his decision in the Healthcare Reform case–if at least part of this isn’t Scalia’s way of showing Roberts up and attempting to undermine his authority as Chief Justice, daring Roberts to confront him.

  11. UFFDA says

    Don’t think for a minute this man is demented! He’s a fully conscious and fully armed enemy who must be removed. In the street protest and demand for his recusal is called for. He must be shouted down, called out, hounded, decried and thrown out. Punishment is what is called for. Scalia is scum. GET HIM.

  12. Sam says

    It would be interesting if Roberts pulls through and gives the opinion to allow gays to marry. Just to stick a craw in the Conservatives side and say “they’re wrong”.

  13. candide001 says

    Barney Frank was opposed to proceeding with the Prop 8 case because of Scalia’s influence on the court. His initial reservations may turn out to have been justified.

  14. Mary says

    Uffda, the best thing to do about Scalia is to ignore him. He isn’t going to single-handedly decide the case next June. Even though I think he erred terribly by comparing gays to murderers it would still be a bad idea to have any kind of street protests against him or try to get him off the court. The public is sure to see this type of “1960’s style activism” in a negative light. As for his prejudice agains gays, it isn’t unusual for someone Scalia’s age to view homosexuality in a negative light. Trying to make him sound like the Grand Dragon of the Klan will only come across as hysteria. For all you know he may have made his comments to provoke the gay community into starting a campaign against him – one that he knew would backfire. This is not a far-fetched possibility. The anti-gay side is clearly losing and may be trying a “the worse the better” strategy out of desperation. Don’t take the bait.

  15. Oz in OK says

    I think stories like this vitally important – while many of us in the LGBT community have known about Scalia’s animus toward us for years, there’s a huge group of straight supporters who had no idea just how much of a bigot Scalia was… until now.

  16. UFFDA says




    If it looks like a creep, sounds like a creep, acts like a creep then what in the world are we waiting for?

    Get rid of Scalia!

    For gay people, and a whole lot more, he is public enemy No.1. Just like Capone. Don’t call him Justice Scalia, there is no justice even remotely near his name.

    Right here on Towleroad, with us, should be the beginning of a “new good fight”. Someone please post all sound petition options. We must start immediately. We must win. And we can.

    Remember Scalia is counting on us not being organized or powerful enough, not being smart enough, tough enough, or moral enough to topple him like the overblown bludgeon of a bowling pin he is. He’s wrong. He must be dragged through the street in effigy, burned symbolically, crushed metaphorically and impeached actually.

  17. UFFDA says

    MARY – Don’t mind DAVID, he means well.

    You’re cautionary advice is well taken. But I think there is every reason to believe that strong public action would be beneficial. The public generally needs to be fully informed of Scalia’s retrograde opinions and effects. We have a liberal roll going in this country now with the leadership to take it to Scalia’s shins and knock him down. In fact it’s already happening. This one’s going to get bigger, and should, but only if we make ourselves heard.

  18. Mary says

    Uffda, thanks for the moral support. I guess we can agree to disagree on this issue. But I’m wondering if that second post was really you or someone who posted as you, because you sound as if you’re ready for armed revolution. The “liberal roll” you’re talking about is real, but the election victories occurred in 4 states that were already liberal. Last month’s elections should be viewed in historical context. Overconfidence often causes misjudgment.

    Groups like NOM only have two real hopes for victory at this point. The first one is the argument I used to make on Towleroad until this May – the one about how over time the number of people who choose gay relationships over straight ones would bcome significant enough to cause serious problems in the society. The second one is what I’ll call “The Sixties: The Sequel” and it involves the gay rights movemement scaring away potential supporters by threats of violence or demands to censor those who don’t toe the pro-gay line on all questions. The first hope is pretty much gone (most conservatives won’t make the argument because in it they’d have to concede that gay marriage does no immediate harm.) But only the gay community itself can give them hope for the second to happen.

    I’ve said before that social conservatives often pray (yes,literally PRAY) for the Left to become radical, violent, and “sixties-like” in their protest. The belief is that if we can’t win people over with arguments, we can prevail because the Left scares them away by acttng or seeming extreme. Hoping for this type of political chaos isn’t very noble (the conflict would be ugly and a number of people would be physicially harmed, possibly even die.) But I’m assuming that I’m not the only social conservative who has ever made it. Mea culpa.

    Mr. Ehrenstein can say anything about me he wants. But public demonstrations against Scalia will be the best Christmas present NOM could receive.

  19. PAUL B. says

    Scalia seems determined to position himself for “religious persecution”…or he’s simply trying to get his book numbers up. I think Mary is right though…it’s bait. On a happier note, if you’re given to reading fiction disguised as dogma…Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” Are you listing Tony?

  20. Icebloo says

    The US judicial system SUCKS ! It is BROKEN beyond repair.

    How can this animal be allowed to make decisions on people’s lives ? He is INSANE. There has to be a legal way to remove him from the Supreme Court. His job is to be IMPARTIAL. His continuing comments of hate about gays show he is not fit to be in the job.

    Do we need to start an online petition to have him removed ? How can a whole country sit back and let this idiot rule on legal issues ? He’s no better than having a chimpanzee in that role.

    WE are paying his HUGE salary. WE need to get him out of that job !

  21. UFFDA says

    RAH! ICEBLOO – “this animal be allowed…” love it.

    MARY – there would be no French or America revolution without street action. Ya I wrote the second post. Still you may be right, er, correct. I don’t know, none of us do. When is caution cowardice, timidity despair?

    The wind could shift against us, against liberals generally and when that happens they disappear. In this case “pouf” would be the right word.

  22. anon says

    Scalia’s arguments about gay behavior are not material to any gay marriage debate. It’s irrelevant if you have animus towards gay sex, and whether this should influence any marriage rights for gays. The two issues are not conjoined. ie. you can oppose sodomy (the act) but support gay marriage. The reason is obvious once you flip the argument around. The fact gays can’t marry has no influence on sodomy (the act) whatsoever.

    Scalia has made repeated references to the conjoining of sodomy rights and marriage rights, but this could only come from the rather Catholic notion that sex outside of marriage is verboten. Therefore, we’d have to get into a rather tricky line of questioning with Scalia, asking if sex within a marriage is a right even if sex outside of marriage is not and where this right is found in the constitution. Too bad the student at Princeton didn’t understand these issues better. Perhaps someone will get a chance to follow up on the matter.

  23. Diogenes Arktos says

    I am delighted that TR *finally* changed the picture of Scalia. I had become tired of seeing him as a self-assured know-it-all. The gesture he’s making makes this choice all the more wonderful.

    @Paul B: As he has demonstrated – particularly with the texts of his recent opinions – legal standards are not normative for him. While he has been soundly criticized for his total behaviour, I don’t think there is anyone powerful enough to effectively call him out.

  24. Mark says

    As a Supreme Court Justice, Scalia should conduct himself in a manner expected of someone in his position. His considerable ego and hubris trump his intellect over and over. Doesn’t he get it, he’s embarrassing himself. Just wait till the history books are written.

  25. andrew says

    Scalia’s extremism and mean spirited attude toward LGBT people may have the effect of pushing Kennedy and Roberts toward the more liberal side in their rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA.

  26. Scalia is a Murderer says

    One wonders if it were completely lost on Scalia that he was making comments equating murder and homosexual behavior in a state where a young man had recently jumped off the George Washington Bridge after having had his privacy invaded while engaging in homosexual behavior.

    Scalia is the moral equivalent of a gay basher and a murderer.

  27. I learn something every day says

    Here’s an interesting side note (from Mary’s post): “the one about how over time the number of people who choose gay relationships over straight ones would bcome significant enough to cause serious problems in the society.”

    In other words, gay marriage would be so much more satisfying that people would have to be forced into straight marriage in order to maintain the population. It could be true. There’s an awful lot of unhappy straight marriages.

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