how do you solve a problem like scalia

Antonin Scalia Knows Sodomy & Murder Not Same Thing, He Just Likes Saying They Are

What does that even mean? I give you my chin?Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may be an utter asshat, but at least he’s occasionally a funny asshat. Take for instance the latest fuck-tussle over his equating laws against sodomy with laws against murder. Yes, that’s pretty much the comparison he made. But look, it’s not like he thinks they’re exactly the same! He’s just sayin’, is all. When a gay student, Duncan Hosie, asked Scalia at a recent Princeton speech why he had compared laws banning sodomy with laws banning murder and bestiality, Scalia defended the sacred American right to dickish hyperbole:

“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective,” Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.

As paid members of the Dickish Hyperbole League, we would even agree that outright bullshitting can be effective, too, although it is maybe a little unsettling to think that people’s civil rights may depend on the opinion of such an enthusiastic practitioner of the art.

“It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,’” Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

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Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both.

Then he deadpanned: “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.”

Look, we know Scalia’s “originalist” beliefs about the Constitution are the worst sort of nonsense, and apart from his tendency to be an absolutist for free speech,* we think he’s been a disaster on the Court. We don’t even think he’s right about this instance of hyperbole. But that “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded” is snark of the first order, and should be appreciated for what it is.

But don’t ask us to get in bed with the guy. You just know he thinks “Dutch ovens” are the height of hilarity.

*Though we don’t really hold with his notion that corporate money is “speech.”

[Salon / Slate]

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About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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150 comments

      1. Spider-Jerk

        With any luck, one of these days Scalia will be so busy being the only one laughing at his own jokes that he will miss the Courthouse entrance and crack his head open on the doorjamb.

        1. drbill0620

          Or laughing so hard during one of his talks that he chokes on his own saliva and there's no one there to do a Heimlich…

          1. deelzebub

            Oh, there will be plenty of people there to do the Heimlich, just everyone in the room will conveniently forget the steps until it is too late.

    1. Negropolis

      Hell, if he doesn't start taking better care of himself, it may be President Hillary Clinton (god willing) who ends up appointing his successor.

    1. JustPixelz

      And I guess it's OK to murder health insurance because someday your health insurance will try to kill you with some kind of "not covered".

  1. hagajim

    I know that Scalia and a rotting tampon aren't the same thing…but you know, comparison for comparisons sake.

    1. hagajim

      Good afternoon, I'd like you to meet my friends Sodomy and Murder. They don't usually hang out together – but sometimes they like to party.

    2. BadKitty904

      When it comes to the Constitution and the rights of American citizens, yes, on a first-name basis.

    3. Antispandex

      Everything about the man just screams "Fuck You". His picture, his attitude, everything. This is why the left shouldn't turn in all of their guns. Then only people like this will have them.

      1. Sparky

        Perhaps it has something to do with the just- completed under-the-chin-flick gesture and accompanying smirk. Such an ass to think no one would notice it.
        POS. Die, smug fucker, die! -with votes.

    4. fuflans

      ahhh that takes me back to that fantastic scene in 'titus andronicus' when rapine and murder are presented to titus and he gets to gut them and feed them to their mother.

      good times.

      1. elviouslyqueer

        I believe the definition is "Shrinking one's head in order to properly fit it inside one's ass." So, yes.

  2. SayItWithWookies

    “I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective,” Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.

    No, dumbass — they can't. That's the whole fucking point of the fucking Bill of Rights — otherwise they could ban segregation, miscegenation, or wearing Capris with big calves.

      1. Rebootably_Joe

        Actually, didn't he basically pretty much say as much right there? That was basically the entirety of the State of Virginia's position back then, that

        legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral

        , including interracial marriage.

    1. Lot_49

      You'll get the rights that Nino thinks you should have, no more and no less. If it isn't enumerated in the Constitution, it doesn't exist and you can't have it. And Originalist Nino isn't too crazy about those so-called "amendments," either.

      Except Emendamento Due. He likes that one big time.

    2. HogeyeGrex

      Yeah, that struck me right off, too. Not really what you'd think to hear from a "strict Constitutionalist."

    3. bikerlaureate

      I certainly don't think that craven Supreme Court judges being made to disappear is necessary, but…

    4. SuspectedDemocrat

      Not to mention he maintains the idea that the only reason murder is illegal is because– eww gross!

    5. Katydid

      Not to mention that being gay doesn't infringe on anyone else's right, as murder does, unless you count the right to impose your morality on someone else.

      Oh, wait. That's what he's saying, if he doesn't like it, he can vote against it. Got it.

  3. SexySmurf

    Right below the picture of Scalia is an ad for a large Dominoes pizza. Way to be ethnically insensitive (yet, somehow, incredibly appropriate) random internet ad generator program.

    UPDATE: Now it's an ad for Pizza Hut. It's time for a sternly written letter.

    1. SorosBot

      At least Pizza Hut isn't run by far-right homophobic, misogynist nuts like Dominoes (or that other national pizza chain).

  4. Ruhe

    "You just know he thinks “Dutch ovens” are the height of hilarity."

    He does look a bit like Ernest Borgnine. Thanks Drew Friedman.

  5. MonkeyHamlet

    “I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective.” That's a pretty wide stance you got there, Antonin.

  6. mrpuma2u

    I have some moral feelings about this utter jerkwad being on MY supreme court. They are not pretty or happy feelings.

    1. BadKitty904

      I don't have enough words in my vocabulary to accurately, adequately state how much contempt and loathing I have for this man.

  7. Troglodeity

    You can have all the "moral feelings" against homosexuality you want, you gigantic douchebag. You can choose not to invite gays to your next Ku Klux Klan rally in your backyard. What you CAN'T do is have the State unconstitutionally infringe on my life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    1. Sparky

      Clearly he hasn't considered the questionable morality of discriminating against an entire group of people who he has ambiguously decided is immoral.

  8. memzilla

    So if this statement had been uttered by Consolidated Assf**kery & Homicide Inc., it would have been okay. Well, hell, I'm gonna run down to Delaware tomorrow and incorporate!

  9. SorosBot

    But we don't ban murder because we think it's immoral; we ban it because murder results in actual harm to people, you know, killing them.

    Sodomy, meanwhile, harms no one, and in fact can be very fun.

    1. sullivanst

      Even many of the morons who don't believe it's possible to be moral unless cowering before a scary invisible sky-dude ready to smite them at any wrongdoing and/or condemn them to an eternity of torture for not believing in things for which no evidence exists, still manage to understand the difference between Ritual law ("do this because I said so") and Natural law ("don't do that because it harms people") in the Bible.

      Not our Nino, though. He once had a reputation for being a smart guy, which he now only retains amongst the people who think W was a good President.

      1. SorosBot

        Yeah, by the same justification Scalia uses for criminalizing consensual sodomy we could criminalize, say, eating pork or wearing mixed fabrics. It comes from treating some old book as the basis of what they call morality, even though isn't really morality at all, but religious taboos.

        Sodomy is, according to certain sects of Christianity (and sects of Judaism, and of Islam, etc.) sinful; but it is morally neutral.

        1. sullivanst

          Or in certain cases (food rules), merely a reflection of the fact that the refrigerator hadn't been invented 2000 years ago and the Middle East lacked ice houses.But yeah, what we're seeing is that wholesale reliance on a combination of a book, some dude in Italy wearing a funny hat, and fear of an invisible being to tell you what's allowed and what isn't is emphatically not a sound basis for morality, rather it leads to the attrition of the ability to think meaningfully about morality and ethics; in Scalia's case, that attrition has pretty much run its full course, it seems.

    2. Lascauxcaveman

      That's the problem with reducto ad adsurdum, for it to have any legit argumentative value, Obamacare really DOES have to equal Holocaust. So it's not good for much at all, except if you want to argue that people are stupid.

    3. starfanglednut

      That's the whole point. Fun is sinful to these people. Unless it involves those who have money and/ or power oppressing those who don't. That's a laugh a minute, and not sinful at all.

    4. doloras

      No sir! Sodomy is PLENTY harmful to others, if you believe that society will collapse into a Hobbesean nightmare unless we restrict sexuality to married heterosexual missionary-position. You don't need to be religious (only stupid and repressed) to believe that.

  10. Hera Sent Me

    Scalia is a spoiled brat's spoiled brat. The only grandchild of four grandparents, and not called "Nino" for nothing. He was also granted by Fate a first rate mind, so as he grew up got used to being the Smartest Kid In Class.

    Scalia's life made into the quintessential conservative. If life always hands you lemonade, you are naturally inclined to endorse the status quo. The annoying part is that instead of pursuing wealth, or fame, or endless unrequited blow jobs, Scalia pursued a legal career, and now is positioned to act out his life being the judicial equivalent of the guy in the lifeboat who uses an oar to clobber others, rather than having to move over to let them in.

    1. drbill0620

      Thoughtful analysis – and highly accurate. The only thing I'd add is that he is a cornhole of the first magnitude…

    2. deelzebub

      I know someone who knows someone who is quite close to Scalia. There is a decent chance I might someday meet him. I make a solemn vow to my fellow Wonketeers, that upon this meeting, I will do my best to "accidentally" do some slight harm to him….stomp his foot, open a door into him, spill an entire glass of red wine on him. You know the usual. As I am a notoriously clumsy hot mess of a person, I believe I can get away with it scott free.

  11. Callyson

    “It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd’”

    Scalia went on to say "after all, if you read any of my opinions, you'll see numerous reductions to the absolutely absurd…"

    /FFS

  12. JustPixelz

    If legislatures can ignore the Constitution to decide what is immoral, they can ignore the Constitution to give, say, Elena Kagan five votes on the SCOTUS.

    If biblical morality trumps the Constitution, let's not forget Scalia lit the match as we watch it burn. Inhale the smoke Antonin — it's your legacy.

  13. skoalrebel

    Look, it's really simple. [spit!] If you're not fucking right, then you're fucking wrong. [spit!] And if you'r fucking wrong, you should be fucking punished, since wrong ain't right. [spit!] And the Bible says "No Homo"!

    What part of this legal reasoning are you having trouble with, libtards?

  14. Antispandex

    Gee, you give someone a job with almost unlimited power, tell them they can't be fired or voted out, and pay them a crap load of money to hardly any work, and they turn into an asshole on you? Weird. Just to remind me, why do we need 9 black-robed tyrants to rule over us? Oh yeah, to protect our rights, I forgot.

  15. x111e7thst

    If the argumentum ad baculum were not a fallacy I would suggest it as the only way to persuade the learned justice of his error.

  16. GeorgiaBurning

    Somewhere in Scalia's basement is a sensational news story involving missing teen-age runaways and a uniform

  17. keepwalkin

    HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE SCALIA

    Tell him he's a "made" man and have him show up in a room where plastic is covering all the walls?

        1. Biel_ze_Bubba

          Actually, he only asked for deux baguettes. But his French kinda sucked, and the rest, as they say, is history.

  18. sullivanst

    Well yes, Scalia was very effective at making himself look absurd.

    Of course, that's not difficult, because he is absurd.

    I'll just toss in a casual mention that legal gay sex (a) is legal, and (b) involves consenting adults, whereas murder (a) is very illegal, and (b) does not involve the consent of the dead party. Yes Nino, most of us knew that from when we were very, very little. No, sadly, you cannot be impeached for being Dumber Than Jeff Foxworthy.

  19. SheriffRoscoe

    Sodomy immoral? This is bad news for pussy eaters and cock suckers. For many "older" Americans, it's all they have left.

  20. widestanceromance

    Perhaps he does not know the difference because Mrs. Scalia mutters, "oh. yes. you're killing me" every time she wakes up to find she's being had sex with (he finishes up quicker that way and she can get back to sleep sooner).

    Also, shut the hell up and make me a damn pizza. I do not want or need your approval, I just need to be treated as any other citizen.

  21. imissopus

    Someone on Twitter today said this was the kind of reasoning ability one would expect from a third grader, which I think might actually be giving Scalia too much credit.

  22. StillGoinGreen

    Sodomy may not be the same as murder, but "Dirty Sanchez" is EXACTLY the same thing as "ruining an otherwise perfect evening without the kids".

  23. jello_mold

    I don't know if I want to know if this is something that means something else completely unrelated yet salacious and possibly revolting. I've lost my edge so much I'm in another dimension.

  24. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    This guy should have a lifetime appointment to be sodomized. I can't say with votes because he wasn't elected.

  25. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    It's simple. Conservatives believe that anything that feels good must be immoral. And sodomy and murder both just FEEL SO GOOD.

  26. docterry6973

    Lots of yahoos still have 'moral' objections to integration. If we cannot have moral objections to integration, can we have moral objections to murder?

    Why yes, yes we can. He seems to be arguing that a legislature can ban anything that it judges to be immoral, or else it can ban nothing at all. The legislators moral judgment is all that matters.

    We tried that. First we called it slavery, and then we called it Jim Crow, but it was and remains an attempt to legalize the bigot's 'moral' judgment that black people could not be full citizens.

    That is what the Supreme Court does, asshole. The Supreme Court's job is to say that a legislature's attempt to enforce its 'moral' judgment against a certain group violates that group's constitutional rights. And that is very different from murder.

    I want to smack Scalia, with votes. Oh, wait…

  27. decentcitizen

    Scalia is living proof that intellectual prowess does not mean you can't make an idiot out of yourself.

  28. LibrarianX

    I can see him in clown paint. Can anyone else see Scalia pursing his true calling as a circus clown?

  29. CommieDad

    If it is immoral, we can ban it. Scalia says its okay to ban masturbation, so that reducto ad absurdamism is not absurd enough. So in the world according to Scalia, the government can ban anything it wants, except speech. Got it.

  30. Dashboard Buddha

    It's almost like Scabia is saying "I'll suggest about yes O wait now sonny my turn is coming" to the whole country.

  31. valthemus

    My general rule: Anyone who spends time telling other people how "immoral" their harmless, private lives are is probably spending his weekends buggering animals or jetting off to the Philippines for a little pedo-tourism.

  32. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Missing, of course, is any rational explanation of what makes gay marriage "immoral" in the first place. For some reason, Nino never cites his (2000-year-old) source for that tidbit.

  33. Negropolis

    So, a state could allow for commercial businesses to ban blahs and messicans and such as from their establishments, again, right Tony?

  34. BelleSC

    If you have not already I strongly recommend reading The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin. Available from Amazon by clicking a link somewhere on this website.

    If anyone needs to get kicked off the court it's Scalia.

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