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Supreme Court Justice Scalia Comments on Women’s and Gay Rights

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the US Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation during a speech at the University of California Hastings College of the Law on Friday. According to the Wall Street Journal, Scalia told the audience that “If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, you have legislatures.” Since the 1970s, Supreme Court rulings have outlawed sex discrimination under the guarantee of equal protection found in the 14th Amendment. Scalia, referencing the amendment’s authors, claimed that “Nobody thought it was directed against sex discrimination” and referred to the constitutional doctrine against sex discrimination as “a modern invention,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Scalia is a Constitutional “originalist” who believes in interpreting the Constitution according to the meaning intended by its drafters. Though the Supreme Court has not examined discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in regards to 14th Amendment protections, there are several cases currently in dispute in lower courts on this issue that could reach the high Court in the near future, according to the Chronicle. Scalia was a strong opponent of the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned laws prohibiting gay sex. At the time, he compared these laws to regulations against incest and bestiality. The justice is also firmly opposed to Roe v. Wade and stated on Friday that the Supreme Court’s rationale for declaring a constitutional right of privacy in the ruling is “total absurdity,” reports the Chronicle.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal 9/20/10; San Francisco Chronicle 9/18/10

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