Supreme Court Justice: Antonin Scalia
Antonin Scalia is an American jurist and a current Justice of the United States Supreme. As the current longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.
Antonin Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey but went to school in New York. He received his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University and later received his Bachelor of Laws from Harvard Law School. After working six years in a Cleveland law firm, Scalia became a law school professor. He served in the both the Nixon and Ford administrations, ultimately as the assistant attorney general. In 1986, Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by Regan. Antonin Scalia was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and took his place in the Supreme Court on September 26, 1986.
As a Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia has shown a very conservative ideology in many of opinions, emphasizing originalism in interpreting the Constitution and textualism in statutory interpretation. Scalia strongly defends the powers of the executive branch, and holds that presidential power should be powerful in many aspects. Scalia also opposes affirmative action and policies that look at minorities as groups.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992): A Supreme Court Case that challenged the constitutionality of many Pennsylvania state regulations dealing with abortion. The plurality opinion of the court upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion. However, the court also examined many restrictions of the right and upheld certain portions while invalidating others. Justice Antonin Scalia as well as Justice Rehnquist joined the plurality and upheld the parental consent, waiting period, and informed consent laws. However, both of them joined a concurring dissent and felt that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided, and that the spousal notification law should have been struck down.
Bush v. Gore (2000): A landmark Supreme Court decision on December 12, 2000, that resolved the controversy of the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. Eight days before, the U.S Supreme Court had decided unanimously the related case of Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board (2000) and three days before that, had preliminarily stopped the recount that was happening in Florida. The Court ruled in a per curiam decision that the Florida Supreme Court’s technique for the ballot recount violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The Supreme Court also ruled that no other method could be made within the time limits that were created by Florida State. The concurring opinion made by Chief Justice Rehnquist was joined by Justices Scalia. It started by emphasizing that this particular case was unusual since the Constitution required federal courts to decide if a state Supreme Court has correctly interpreted the state legislature’s will. After discussing this aspect of the case, the dissent examined and supported the arguments made by the judges who dissented in the Florida Supreme Court.
Lawrence v. Texas (2003): A landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a sodomy law in Texas by a 6-3 ruling. In the previous case Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the court had upheld a Georgia statute and claimed that there was no protection of sexual privacy in the constitution. The new ruling held that the previous case looked at liberty interest too narrowly. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, and was joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Justice Scalia objected to the decision to revisit the Bowers v. Hardwick case, stating that there were many decisions afterwards from lower courts that could be affected, including Williams v. Pryor, Holmes v. California Army National Guard, and Owens v. State. Justice Scalia also pointed out that the justification behind overturning the first case could have been easily used to overturn Roe v. Wade. Furthermore, Justice Antonin Scalia also suggested that other state laws against same-sex marriage, bigamy, adult incest, masturbation, prostitution, adultery, bestiality, fornication, and obscenity are only sustainable with Bowers v. Hardwick’s validation.
Grutter v. Bollinger (2003): A Supreme Court case where the court upheld the affirmative action admissions policy set by the University of Michigan Law School in a 5-4 decision. The Supreme Court’s majority rule held that the U.S. Constitution did not specific prohibit narrowly tailored use of race by the school in admissions to promote a compelling interest in obtaining educational benefits that result from a diverse student body. Justice Antonin Scalia joined Chief Justice Rehnquist’s dissent which argued school’s admissions policy, saying it tried to achieve an unconstitutional racial balancing. Justice Scalia also joined Justice Thomas in an opinion, partially concurring and dissenting which argued that if the school could not remain a prestigious institution while admitting students though a race-neutral system, the school should be forced to decide between a classroom aesthetic and exclusionary admissions.
Rasul v. Bush (2004): A landmark Supreme Court decision that established that the United States court system has the explicit authority to make decisions about whether foreign nationals held in Guantanamo Bay were considered wrongfully imprisoned. The 6-3 Supreme Court ruling reversed a previous District Court that held that the Judiciary did not have any jurisdiction in deciding wrongful imprisonment cases which involved foreign nationals held in Guantanamo Bay. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissent, which was joined by Clarence Thomas and William Rehnquist. Justice Antonin Scalia also discussed the intention of jurisdiction by saying that the Constitution needed jurisdiction so that an American citizen who had the protection of the Constitution could have some way of vindicating these rights.
Gonzales v. Raich (2005): A decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that the United States Congress could criminalize the use and production of home-grown cannabis even in states which had laws that approved its use for medicinal purposes. Congress could do this with the power given to them from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a separate concurring opinion that tried to differentiate the Court’s decision from the recent results of the cases United States v. Morrison and United States v. Lopez. Although Antonin Scalia voted in favor of limiting the Commerce Clause in these previous decisions, Scalia felt that his interpretation of the Necessary and Proper Clause in the Constitution resulted in him voting in favor of Raich. This was because Scalia felt that Congress could only regulate non-economic intrastate activities when not doing so could potentially undercut the interstate regulation of the activity.