Antonin Scalia: Understanding The Constitution

The constitution of the United States of American with a vintage flag

The ideological and political battle for Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court can be summed up in this statement.

“What should the broad concepts in the Constitution mean today? vs. What did these concepts mean when they were adopted?”

The first allows the power of government to grow with it’s only constraint being what leaders can get away with politically.

The second constrains the growth of government to its powers listed in the Constitution.

Here are some videos that capture Justice Scalia wisdom concerning this topic.

Justice Scalia’s Opening Remarks At A 2011 Senate Judiciary Hearing.

Excerpt: “I ask students: what do you think is the reason that America is such a free country? What is it in our constitution that makes us what we are? They answer, freedom of speech, freedom of the press…….those marvelous provisions in the bill of rights. I tell them if you think a bill of rights is what sets us apart, you’re crazy.”

“Every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights…..the bill of rights of the former Soviet Union was better than ours…..These are what our founders would call a parchment guarantee. And the reason is because the real Constitution of the Soviet Union…..the real structure….didn’t prevent the centralization of power in one person or in one party. When that (centralization) happens, the game is over. The bill of rights is just what our framers would call a parchment guarantee.”

“The real key to the distinctiveness of America is the structure of our government……People today say there is a dysfunction of government because there’s disagreement and gridlock. The framers would have said, “yes, that’s exactly the way we set it up. We wanted this to be power contradicting power”. Americans should learn to love the separation of power, the gridlock. Which the framers believed would be the main protection of minorities.

Justice Scalia Comments About “Diversity” On The Supreme Court.

Excerpt: “….I agree that (on the Supreme Court) you should have different people who reach different results. But one would think that after 200 years there would be some consensus on what we think we’re doing when we interpret the constitution. These are wildly divergent views.”

“Are we taking these broad concepts such as equal protection and due process and asking, “what should these concepts mean today?” That’s one view. On the other hand are we saying “what did these concepts mean when they were adopted”…..The difficulty in figuring that out, the historical problem of doing that, isn’t perfect, that it’s going to solve every problem, but it solves an awful lot of problems. Especially the most controversial ones.”

“It’s not my burden to prove that the historical approach is perfect. It is just my burden to prove that it’s better than anything else and the  anything else is the other approach, that it’s up to the judges to say what these things mean today. This is an immense amount of power in judges hands.

Piers Morgan Interviews Justice Scalia In 2013.

Piers Morgan always tries to be an intellectual bully to everyone he interviews, especially those he disagrees with. There is no doubt he disagrees with Scalia’s world view, but he knows he can’t “intellectually” bully him. He tries to hit Scalia with verbal jabs but they are skillfully parried away by Justice Scalia.

This is the best interview Piers Morgan has ever done.

Part I


Part II


Related ArticleWalter E. Williams: The Constitution, at

Related ArticleHow Big Should Government Be?  at

Explore posts in the same categories: Government and Politics

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