What Antonin Scalia’s Death Means to the People I Love

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I’m not sad Antonin Scalia is dead.

Wow! It feels so good to say that aloud!

Come on. Admit it. You feel exactly the same way.

I know. I know. Everywhere you turn, people are going out of their way to talk about the ramifications of the 79-year-old Supreme Court Justice’s death without passing judgement on him.

“Let’s keep it classy,” they say.

Oh. Stop it.

In his 30 years on the bench, Scalia hurt an awful lot of people. And I mean real, live people – not ideological constructs, not hypotheticals – but moms, dads, husbands, wives, daughters, and sons.

The aggregate amount of misery in the world was drastically increased by his being in it. And now that he’s gone, much of that misery may be relieved.

So spare me any shock at my thesis. Spare me the false praise of a truly reprehensible human being.

He was against women controlling their own bodies, efforts to desegregate our schools, an individual’s right to love whomever they choose, refraining from executing mentally disabled or teenage prisoners. Heck! He was even against police reading suspects their Miranda Rights!

This was a person who said black people should go to “slower” colleges, homosexuality was the same as murder or bestiality, sex discrimination is constitutional, and maybe we have a right to all carry around rocket launchers in public.

If it is outrageous to feel relief at the death of this man, you may call me outrageous.

I’m not usually the kind of person who celebrates someone else’s death. Not even a famous person.

But you have to admit that the people we love are a lot better off without Scalia in the world.

It’s not like he kept all this to himself. He wasn’t some lone drunkard in the back of the bar mumbling sexist, racist views. He wasn’t your ancient uncle who you only see twice a year making people uncomfortable at the dinner table. He was a judge in the highest court in the land, and his demented and warped world view drove public policy impacting… well… everyone.

He was the deciding vote in several 5-4 decisions that – if they had gone differently – would have greatly benefited every person in this country.

You can thank him for the Presidency of George W. Bush and Citizens United. Let that sink in for a moment.

Imagine all the horrific blunders of the Bush Presidency – easily the worst administration in my lifetime. If the Supreme Court hadn’t given the highest office in the land to Dubya, arguably we wouldn’t have had the Iraq War, the Great Recession, No Child Left Behind, the slow response to Hurricane Katrina – maybe even 9-11.

And if you hate what our elections have become, imagine if we didn’t have the Citizens United verdict. Campaign donations would have to be made in public with some limits on how much individuals and corporations can contribute.

How much better the world would have been without these terrible decisions!

I’m not saying Scalia wasn’t a good man in his personal life. I have no idea what he was like to the people he loved. For all I know he may have been a good friend, a loving husband, father and grandfather. He probably had people he cared about and who cared about him. And to those people I send my condolences.

However, he royally screwed just about everyone else. And for that I feel nothing but relief at his death. If only it had come sooner.

Who am I to bask in such schadenfreude?

I am a father and public school teacher.

I have a seven-year-old daughter and several classes full of mostly impoverished and minority students.

And Scalia’s death is good for everyone I care about.

If he were still alive, there was so much more damage he could have done. Take the Friedrichs case, an important one for teachers like me.

The case is an attempt to strip teachers unions of the right to charge members for their services. If the court rules in favor of Friedrichs, it would overturn decades of established law against free riders. People would be allowed to be in a union, enjoy higher salary and benefits negotiated by that union, but not pay dues. It would be absurd. Yet with Scalia still on the bench, most court watchers seem to think we would have had another terrible 5-4 decision.

However, with Scalia’s death, the best anti-union forces would probably receive is a 4-4 decision – not enough to overturn established law. True the case has already been heard by the justices, but a ruling has not yet been handed down. According to the Supreme Court blog, even if Scalia had already written a ruling on this matter, it would be void. Any rulings he wrote that have not yet been made public don’t count.

So the most likely outcome now is that millions of people will continue to be protected from unfair labor practices. And you expect me not to have a big ‘ol smile on my face!?

So where do we go from here?

President Barack Obama will select who is to succeed Scalia. Numerous excellent choices have been floated. If Obama chooses any one of them, he would probably tilt the court fractionally to the left.

Before the body was even cold, Republicans vowed to block any nominee Obama makes until the next President is sworn in. Some are trying out the talking point that Supreme Court Justices have never been sworn in during an election year. But if that were true, we wouldn’t have Justice Anthony Kennedy who was confirmed during the last year of Reagan’s presidency.

Funny. The U.S. Constitution clearly states that the President has the right to nominate Supreme Court Justices with the advice of Congress. Yet so many of these right leaning partisans who considered themselves Constitutionalists last week suddenly find themselves against that revered document today.

I wonder how Scalia would have argued such a situation.

Not really. He was the one who taught the rest of his party how to twist the words of the founding fathers to mean whatever the far right favors this week.

Obama still has more than 300 days in office. If Republicans try to block his nomination until a new face tops the Executive, it would be the longest such obstruction in a century. Of sitting justices, the longest confirmation period was for Clarence Thomas who took 106 days to be approved by Congress.

And that brings us to the 2016 Presidential race.

Scalia’s death is likely to have a huge impact on whom becomes our next President.

If Republicans block Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, it would probably increase voter turnout. Whenever that happens, it favors Democrats since they have more registered members than the GOP.

Either way, Scalia’s death is probably beneficial to whomever the Democratic nominee will be. If either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders get the nomination, supporters of the defeated candidate are more likely to support the reigning Democrat.

Even if voters don’t like the winner’s policies as much as their preferred candidate, they’re likely to support the nominee in order to continue tipping the Supreme Court to the left. After all, three additional justices are 70 or older. Stephen Breyer is 77, Anthony Kennedy is 79, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 82.

We have had a long haul these last 15 years. Much social progress has been stalled.

But now that Scalia is out of the picture, the future looks bright.

Maybe things really will turn out alright. Maybe we’ll actually have a chance to build that better world we’ve all been dreaming about.

Rest in Peace, Scalia. The nation can’t wait to move on without you.

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30 thoughts on “What Antonin Scalia’s Death Means to the People I Love

  1. I truly hate to be in the position of defending Scalia…but he was the strongest defender of privacy rights on the current court. And please don’t mention RBG’s age. We won’t see another liberal like her in our lifetimes (unless Bernie pulls off a miracle).

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    • Yes, he certainly was a defender of privacy rights, but as the old saying goes, “Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile.”
      He certainly tried to destroy a whole hell of a lot of other rights, though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • His primary rational for those privacy rights was to WEAKEN Government. Justice Scalia was a throw back to the Pre-Civil war South. This was a man that believed whole heartedly that we would be better off with out a functional Federal Government. So while he may have been for individual privacy he wanted it at the expense of our society as a whole!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse and commented:
    Antonin Scalia was an evil man, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan, the Prince of Darkness himself. How did this happen? Simple. The Senate majority at the time was held by the Republicans and Strom Thurmond from South Carolina was Senate Pres. pro tem. The appointment and confirmation of Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States involves several steps set forth by the United States Constitution, which have been further refined and developed by decades of tradition. Justices are appointed by the President of the United States, and must be confirmed by the United States Senate. This is done following a series of hearings in which both the nominee and other witnesses make statements and answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee. What’s even more disturbing was the Senate vote was 98-0 to confirm Scalia. Even though Thurmond said he wasn’t a racist, the New York timed reported in June 2003 that he was against integration. He said that ”on the question of social intermingling of the races, our people draw the line.” And, he went on, ”all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, into our schools, our churches and our places of recreation and amusement.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, there were 47 Democrats in the Senate when Scalia was confirmed in the 99th Congress. Which means that the vast majority of them voted for confirmation.
      Of course, he would have been confirmed anyway, if just the Republicans voted for him. As you pointed out, they held the majority.
      There is plenty of blame to throw around, on both sides of the aisle.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is obvious that the GOP wants someone equal to or worse than Scalia sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. Reagan filled five seats on the U.S. Supreme Court. The two Bushes filled five more. Bill Clinton and Obama have only filled two seat each for four. There is no reason that Obama should be blocked from appointing the next Supreme Court Justice. The only evil standing in his way is a corrupt and extremist Republic Party that has an agenda to turn the United States into a racist police state ruled by them. They want both Houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to admit that I am totally glad that he is dead. He did so much harm because of his sexist, homophobic and racist views. To Scalia, freedom meant the freedom to hate, the freedom to discriminate and the freedom of individuals to deny equal opportunity to those who they personally have an irrational hatred towards. The world is better off without him. As for being intelligent, he was not. He was unable to overcome his personal bigotry and hatreds. Worse, he tried codify his personal intolerance upon this great nation through the judicial branch of the United States. Our president has the RIGHT, THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT, to appoint a justice and the SENATE HAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO CONFIRM THAT NOMINATION IF QUALIFIED. Obviously, the GOP only likes the constitution when it suits them. And yes, it will be worse for them if they do not confirm a justice because every clear thinking person will know that their ulterior motive will be to have a GOP president appoint a justice who will take away the rights of workers, gays, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Liberal Teacher, have you actually ever read a Scalia opinion? Did you know that our rights under the Confrontation Clause of the 6th Amendment, Due Process under the Fifth Amendment, and Your Right to be Secure fro UNREASONABLE Searches and Seizures are stronger today because of him. Did you ever read “Oncale vs. Sundowner,” 523 U.S. 75 (1998)” which was a major civil rights case and has been hailed as a major gay rights case….authored by Scalia. And he never said that blacks should go to a slower college. He said if they can’t get into a top school on their own, they should go to one that is more their pace. That applied to everyone. The man believed in States Rights, and he was consistent in that view. I bet you will find more opinions authored by him that you agree with than those that you don’t.

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      • Scalia was not always wrong. No one is. However, he presided over more tormented twists of logic than any justice in the highest court of the land should. He perverted the Constitution in his reading pretending that he, alone, knew what the founders meant beyond what had been written. Look at the history of the modern court. He deserves a place of infamy for Bush v. Gore and the Citizens United rulings if for nothing else. Moreover, look over his beloved zingers. He DID suggest some black students belong at slower colleges. He was attacking Affirmative Action. He couldn’t imagine why black people would need need any protections from colleges admissions officers who notoriously let in less black students than they should per capita. It is a proven fact that people with black sounding names are selected against in job applications, loan applications, college admissions and many other places. But he didn’t care. The world is better off without his peculiar brand of justice. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/12/justice-scalia-suggests-blacks-belong-slower-colleges-fisher-university-texas

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Scalia’s death is a good thing for the whole planet. Sadly it didn’t happen before he did so much damage that we may never recover. He was a truly selfish evil bigoted egotistical piece of crap in human form. I hear that he and RBG were tight and she respected him greatly…that’s nice. He subverted the 2000 election which has created so much suffering, literally millions of deaths, thrown this country to the fascists…truly if I could go back in time and take him out, I would.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Whew, I’m glad you said it first. I have been thinking this since I heard about it. It’s extra weird that he died after a day of senselessly shooting little birds for fun.
    As my students like to say, “RIP in Peace”.

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  7. Plz plz tell me that you are not a history teacher in school!! LOL Because if you are, then you should know that Scalia voted on those decisions based on our Constitution and what powers they have with it. If whatever they were deciding on wasnt in the Constitution, then it is a STATE issue, NOT Federal and therefore he had to vote it down because it wasnt in the power of the Supreme Court to decide that. But judging from your statements, you are and would be perfectly happy with Gov having full control over you and your state in telling you what you can and cant do for everything. As for the new Justice, the President can send in his recommendations, but it is ultimately up to CONGRESS to say who gets it, NOT the President. I really wish that all of ya’ll Pro Gov people would just leave America and go to a country where you will be happy living in shackles and being a slave to the Gov and leave us who want to honor and uphold and live by the Constitution alone to be free.

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    • Carrie, I am an English teacher. As such, I am committed to understanding a text based on what is written on the page. I do not pretend to know what the author meant and then happily discover it’s exactly what I want it to mean. THAT’S what Scalia did. He used the Constitution as a shield to justify every hateful instinct in the depths of the reptilian brain.

      I am always shocked that far right folks think people like Scalia protect their freedoms. He wanted the state to be able to tell women what to do with their own bodies. He wanted the state to protect people’s racial prejudices. He championed corporations rights over people’s. THAT is slavery. If you don’t believe me, ask the people living in Iran. If you replace Islam with Christianity, that is the paradise he was trying to achieve on these shores.

      Scalia justified incredible overreaches of government power and you praise him for it. Hopefully, we will be able to find a replacement who can actually read the Constitution and abide by it instead of reinterpreting it to mean whatever he or she wants.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The way you interpret and understand the words that our Founding Fathers wrote is by looking at everything else they wrote and said during that time period. So many of the other papers they wrote, speeches they gave clarified so well what their intentions in the Constitution was and if you study history, you will see why they felt that way. When you do that, its easy to get clarity on what they meant. As far as telling a woman what she can and cant do with her own body, Yes a woman does not have the right to get a abortion unless its needed to save the life of the woman. A woman STILL has full choice over her body. If she does not want to create a baby, then dont have sex. Theres where her choice is. Once she is pregnant, that life inside her has as much right to live because its a living breathing human. As far as rape, she can have the baby and then give it up if she chooses at birth. You dont punish or kill one victim just to make the other victim feel better. The baby and the mom are both victims in that case. As for the States, thats where the citizens of that State elect and vote on the people they want to see in charge and what laws they do or dont want. If you cant stand the laws in that State, then either rally and get the people who you do want in charge in office, or you have the freedom to move to another State!

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      • Carrie, you are interpreting the Constitution through your own, narrow lens.
        And as far as “States rights” are concerned, I suppose you would approve if public schools were still legally segregated in many states (something that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education) or if some states still prevented marriage between two people of different races (see Loving v. Virginia). After all, according to you, just move to another state!
        No, states don’t have the ultimate say in everything. The Civil War pretty much settled that, followed by a whole lot of Supreme Court rulings.
        Perhaps, if you can’t stand the way this country is run, then you have the freedom to move to another country more to your liking.
        Don’t let me stop you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carrie, for a defender of freedom, you have no problems making an aweful lot of choices for other people. Why should your interpretation of generation be imposed on everyone else? Moreover, the method you mention of determining what the founders meant is incredibly open to abuse. That’s closer to how we interpret literature – not law. This is just an excuse to do whatever you want and trample on others rights with impunity – all while waving the flag and eating apple pie. I hope whoever succeeds Scalia has more respect for the law and individuals rights.

        Liked by 2 people

    • “Yes a woman does not have the right to get a abortion” Actually, we do have this right in the United States. I think you are confusing what you find morally disagreeable with what our legal rights are.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. […] Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan, who I think was the Prince of Darkness himself. How did this happen? Simple, the Senate majority at the time was held by the Republicans and Strom Thurmond from South Carolina was Senate Pres. Pro-tem. If you want to read more about Scalia as a terrible person, click this link on another Blog written by another blogger: Antonin Scalia Was a Terrible Person, and I’m Glad He’s Dead […]

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  9. Whenever a fair
    Minded democratically famous person in government does, especially if they are MIRDERED the right wingers publicly rejoice and will not tolerate anyone taking them to task for it whereas if a right wing bigoted famous person in government (which includes the Supreme Court dies from completely NATURAL CAUSES and the left wing people say GOOD RIDDANCE TO HIM the right wingers Viciously Poince on them and even accuse the left wing people of KILLING HIM! Why should any decent person be tolerant of people in government who are intolerant bigots who go out of their way to make life even harder for people who are not FILTHY RICH pink and white heterosexual “CHRISTIANS”?

    Like

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