Antonin Scalia Hub




Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive Arizona Voting Law: VIDEO

SupremesIn a surprise move, the Supreme Court today ruled 7-2 that Arizona cannot require voters to prove their citizenship when submitting voter registration forms.  The New York Times reports on the ruling, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia (yes--you read that right):

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, No. 12-71, said a federal law requiring states to “accept and use” a federal form displaced an Arizona law requiring various kinds of proof of citizenship.

The federal law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, allows voters to register using a federal form that asks, “Are you a citizen of the United States?” Prospective voters must check a box for yes or no, and they must sign the form, swearing under the penalty of perjury that they are citizens.

The state law, by contrast, required prospective voters to prove that they were citizens by providing copies of or information concerning various documents, including birth certificates, passports, naturalization papers or driver’s licenses, that are available only to people who are in the state lawfully.

Today's ruling was centered around the concept of 'preemption,' under which the federal laws are generally seen to trump state laws.  Think Progress has more on the preemption issue, which Scalia ruled is especially pertinent in laws affecting federal elections:

As the Court points out, this broad view of the federal role in governing elections is consistent with the Constitution’s text, which provides that “[t]he times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations.”

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of a major component of the Voting Rights Act by the end of next week.

Watch an MSNBC analysis of today's ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Supreme Court Shuffle: Did Conservatives Grant the Prop 8 Case?

Adam Liptak at the NYT finds the "aha moment" in the Supreme Court's Prop. 8 transcript signaling who likely voted to take up the case, and proposes a theory about why it was taken and the exit points that may shuffle it back to California where the ruling striking it down would stand.

A_scaliaWrites Liptak:

After Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested that the court should dismiss the case, Justice Antonin Scalia tipped his hand.

“It’s too late for that now, isn’t it?” he said, a note of glee in his voice.

“We have crossed that river,” he said.

That was a signal that it was a conservative grant.

And how did that happen?

Justice Scalia, almost certainly joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., apparently made a twofold calculation: that their odds of winning would not improve as same-sex marriage grows more popular and more commonplace, and that Justice Kennedy, who is likely to write the decision in the case concerning the 1996 law, would lock himself into rhetoric and logic that would compel him to vote for a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a later case.

It is not that the conservatives felt certain they would win. It is that their chances would not improve in the years ahead.

That leaves the question of the fourth vote. The most likely answer is that it was that of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., though he did not sound at all pleased on Tuesday to have the case before him.

There is also a chance that the fourth vote came from Justice Kennedy himself, and his very questioning provides support for that theory.

“I just wonder,” he said, sounding a little plaintive and a little angry, “if the case was properly granted.”

Who Wanted to Take the Case on Gay Marriage? Ask Scalia [nyt]

If you missed Ari Ezra Waldman's Prop 8 analysis from earlier in the week you can find it HERE (Part 1) and HERE (Part 2).


Rachel Maddow Tells Jon Stewart About Her Visit to the Supreme Court, Calls Justice Scalia a 'Troll': VIDEO

Maddow

Rachel Maddow visited the Supreme Court yesterday as the Court was considering the Voting Rights Act, and had lots to say about it.

"I don't have a number line that is long enough, that goes high enough to understand how on the same day we are unveiling the statue of Rosa Parks at the US Capitol and one block away we are considering getting rid of the pillar of American civil rights law, and that happens at the same time in the same place and nobody's head explodes."

"It's weird to see Antonin Scalia in person. It's weird...You can see, actually, he's a troll. He's like the guy on your blog comment thread who's saying the N word."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012

2012

2012: GAYEST YEAR EVER

"The fact is, I'm gay." Anderson Cooper's long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika's equally anticipated confirmation, "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, "I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it." —  proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

Yes, a lot has changed in the 15 years since Time magazine ran that cover of Ellen DeGeneres declaring, "Yep, I'm Gay," and even in the six since Lance Bass told People, "I'm Gay." Entertainment Weekly published a cover story this summer called "The New Art Of Coming Out," concluding, "The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow."

Yet most of this positive change has happened in familiar territory.

Former NFL star Wade Davis' coming out was a first, as was current professional boxer Orlando Cruz's. And Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helped broaden the overall discussion about LGBT people. But there are a few people on this list who were less valiant, like Republican Sheriff Paul Babeu, and still others who remained quiet about their sexuality to the day they died. The debate over balance between privacy and responsibility is still one worth having, and clearly there are more arenas where LGBT people need space to shine.

All in all, though, 2012 shows that gay people who break down that closet can have it all.

Who had the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Kagan Praises Scalia, Says Wisdom Required in 'Disruptive' Cases

SCOTUS Justice Elena Kagan gives an interview to Politico:

Elena_kaganSaying she genuinely “loves” her colleagues, Kagan praised her frequent intellectual opponent, Justice Antonin Scalia – with whom she revealed she spent three days hunting in Wyoming this fall. Asked to discuss how she interprets the language in laws the justices consider, Kagan credited Scalia with changing the direction of the court.

“This is in some ways a testament to one of my colleagues, to Justice Scalia, because if you look back 30 years ago … there was much less attention paid to the words Congress used to write a statute,” Kagan said. “One of the terrific things he has done is to make people engage with the words that Congress actually used, because that’s what they thought about and that’s what they actually passed.”

In what may have been a reference to upcoming cases such as two on gay marriage that the justices this month agreed to hear, Kagan was asked what role public opinion plays in the justices’ opinions.
                                                                                                           “Well, I don’t think any of us make our decisions by reading polls,” Kagan said. “One’s sense of what to do as a judge is bounded in some way by the society in which one lives” and the political process of getting appointed, she said.

Still, the justice said, “One does think long and hard as a judge -- and I’m not sure I’ve ever been in this position --… before you do something that you think is required by law that would be incredibly disruptive to society, and that’s where great wisdom is called for.”


Scalia's Son Paul Served as Chaplain for Catholic Group Meant to Lead Gays from 'the Confines of Homosexual Identity'

The L.A. Times posted an interesting article about Justice Antonin Scalia's take on homosexuality - basically that gay "identity" does not exist — only the "act" of doing something homosexual. In the article is this interesting bit about Scalia's son Paul:

Paul_scaliaThe notion that there are no homosexual people, just homosexual acts, is an ancient one.  Until recently it was the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church.  Scalia’s son Paul, a Catholic priest who has served as chaplain to Courage – “a spiritual support group to help those with same-sex attractions live chaste lives” – continues to resist the idea of a gay identity.  He has written: “We must always distinguish the person from the attractions. Most errors in this area come from the reduction of the person to the attractions: to say,  ‘A person who has homosexual attractions must be homosexual.’  This reduces the human person to the sum total of his sexual inclinations.”

In a 2005 article in the magazine First Things, Paul Scalia warned against the labeling of high school students as “gay” and even took the Vatican to task  for using the term “homosexual person,” which, the younger Scalia said, “suggests that homosexual inclinations somehow determine, which is to say confine, a person’s identity.”  Of course, this is a straw man; psychologists and other who speak of a gay identity don't argue that “gay” is an exhaustive description of an individual’s personality traits, only that there is more to being gay or lesbian than participation in sexual acts.

Jeremy Hooper notes that Justice Scalia's church promoted an event dealing with the "challenge of same-sex" attractions at which his son was the key speaker.

We've posted about 'Courage' here before. Among other things, the group claims that men are gay because they're estranged from their fathers. They also hold "athletic camps" with the goal of teaching men with same-sex attractions to become manlier by making them play football and other contact sports.

Courage


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