Scalia’s Blistering Dissent on DOMA

scaliakennedyban.jpgThe Atlantic – by Tim Grieve

Dissenting from this morning’s opinion on the Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Antonin Scalia — as expected — holds nothing back.

In a ripping dissent, Scalia says that Justice Anthony Kennedy and his colleagues in the majority have resorted to calling opponents of gay marriage “enemies of the human race.”  

But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to con- demn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “dis- parage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo- sexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence — indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose ithostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.

Scalia says that the court’s holding – while limited to the Defense of Marriage Act – is a sure sign that the majority is willing to declare gay marriage a constitutional right.

It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here — when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will “confine” the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.

And, he says, the holding will short circuit the debate over gay marriage that should have been carried out in the states.

In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one’s political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today’s Court can handle. Too bad. A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.

But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.

4 thoughts on “Scalia’s Blistering Dissent on DOMA

  1. “hostes humani generis”
    I believe Justice Scalia has claimed that the majority opinion of the court is akin to Piracy! In other words, The majority ruling of the Supreme Court has stolen from WE THE PEOPLE government of, by and for the people.
    We here, already knew that!
    It’s an interesting turn of words. I’m curious what he really intended to say here that he chose to use a legal term not heard of in many,many years.

    1. He’s too smart for his own good. These guys put on a big damn show everytime they open their mouths. He should have just said “we were held up!”

      He should have said what he really meant. He just doesn’t want to be caught walking that tight rope over the grand canyon in a high wind. These clowns are so illegitimate at this point anyway…..

  2. Hey All,He should have said that the perverted filth these queers waller in makes his stomach churn it is an anti-life anti-family anti decency fetish that 2% of the population indulge in and that NORMALdecent life loving moral people have had their fill of this queer AGENDA.

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