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Boardman writes: "Scalia's concerns are manifestly racial, if not racist. He uses the phrase 'racial entitlement' and repeats it, not only for emphasis, but to argue that this racial entitlement to voting is a reality."

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, 03/08/12. (photo: AP)
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, 03/08/12. (photo: AP)

Is Scalia a Troll?

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

03 March 13


Why does Justice Scalia hate the Constitution? And is he a troll?
[Ratified February 3, 1870]
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

ongress's 2006 renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was the subject of 76 minutes of oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in February, although Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, 77, gave the impression that he thought the legislation was really called the Voting Entitlement Act.

Early in the hearing on a frequently non-compliant Alabama county's appeal of the Voting Rights Act, Scalia tried leading Alabama's counsel into agreeing to a specious conclusion by citing the 1965 Senate vote of 79-18 to pass the act, compared to the Senate's 2006 unanimous 98-0 vote to renew the act.

"It must have been even clearer in 2006 that these States were violating the Constitution," Scalia said. "Don't you think that's true?"

"No," said the Alabama counsel, "I think the court has to --"

Associate Justice Elena Kagan, 53, interrupted, tongue in cheek: "Well that sounds like a good argument to me, Justice Scalia. It was clear to 98 Senators, including every Senator from a covered state, who decided that there was a continuing need for this piece of legislation."

"Or decided that perhaps they'd better not vote against it," Scalia answered, "that there's nothing, that there's no -- none of their interests in voting against it."

Justices Avoid Discussing Psychic Powers

"I don't know what they're thinking," said Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, 75, as he changed the subject from Scalia's speculation based, apparently, on retrospective, paranoid mindreading of those voting Senators in 2006.

But Scalia was back a few minutes later, this time trying to lead the government's counsel, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli: "You could always say, oh, there has been improvement, but the only reason there has been improvement are these extraordinary procedures [the Voting Rights Act] that deny the States sovereign powers which the Constitution preserves to them. So, since the only reason it's [voting non-discrimination] improved is because of these procedures, we must continue those procedures in perpetuity."

Verrilli: "No."

Scalia: "Is that the argument you are making?"

Verrilli: "That is not the argument. We do not think that --"

Scalia: "I thought that was the argument you were just making."

Verrilli: "It is not...."

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., 58, jumped in here to state that Massachusetts "has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African American voter turnout," but that the best ratio is in Mississippi. It wasn't clear what point he was making.

Massachusetts Rebuts Roberts's Slur

Roberts's assertion was apparently false, according to Massachusetts secretary of state William Galvin, who commented on WBUR radio on March 1:

"I'm disturbed, first of all, that he is distorting information. You would expect better conduct from the chief justice of the United States. I'm a lawyer, he's a lawyer, lawyers are not supposed to provide disinformation in the course of a case. It's supposed to be based on truth.

"What's really distressing is the deeper we looked into the facts, the more of a distortion his comments are. The only reference that we can find of any kind in any statistical chart is a Census Bureau study from 2010 where, if you included non-citizen blacks, then you would come up with a lower number. That's the only way he could get to even make the bare-face claim that he made."

Roberts later asked Verrilli, "Is it the government's submission that the citizens in the south are more racist than citizens in the North?"

"It is not," Verrilli said, going on to add something fuzzy about "congruent and proportional" - rather than just pointing out that it's irrelevant how racist your feelings are, constitutionally, as long as you're allowing all citizens an equal opportunity to vote.

Does Scalia Want to Pre-empt Congress or Not?

Moments later, Scalia was back making the contradictory argument that began: "This Court doesn't like to get involved in -- in racial questions such as this one. It's something that can be left -- left to Congress."

After reciting a brief legislative history, Scalia returned to his concern that the Voting Rights Act had passed with so little opposition in 2006, leading up to the remarks that have since earned him such widespread, mostly hostile comment:

"Now, I don't think that's [the favorable vote] attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It's been written about.

"Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.

"I don't think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be re-enacted in perpetuity unless -- unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. You have to show, when you are treating different States differently, that there's a good reason for it.

"That's the -- that's the concern that those of us who -- who have some questions about this statute have. It's -- it's a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress. There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now....

"Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?"[emphasis added]

Scalia Opens Constitutional Confrontation with Congress

In the space of a minute or two, Scalia argued that (1) racial questions like the Voting Rights Act should be left to Congress and (2) that renewal of the Voting Rights Act "is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress." But he doesn't acknowledge that inherent contradiction, never mind make an attempt to explain and resolve it.

Why not?

Perhaps because "There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now...." which is factually false and seems to reveal the kind of irrational fear that rarely comes in the form of concern over "white districts by law," even though white districts are far more common and numerous than any other kind of district.

Scalia's concerns are manifestly racial, if not racist. He uses the phrase "racial entitlement" and repeats it, not only for emphasis, but to argue that this racial entitlement to voting is a reality, and that it's "difficult to get out of" ... and implying that the country should get out of it, even if that takes the Supreme Court to tell the Congress what it should have been thinking seven years earlier. And there's a certain specious appeal to Scalia's argument, especially to those who would prefer to see racist politics work without having to think of themselves as racist.

What's specious at the core of Scalia's riff is his characterizing voting rights as "entitlements." Voting rights are rights, unless one wants to go down a logical path that would also disenfranchise women because their right to vote is really just a "gender entitlement."

What Does the Supreme Court Owe to Reality?

Scalia sketches a legal and political wonderland in which as many as five justices may be wandering, untethered to the reality in which most of the country continues to live. In that reality, the Congress made a factual record before voting to renew the Voting Rights Act in 2006. That record included some 20 hearings and 15,000 pages of evidence, all of which supported the conclusion that, while the country has made progress under the Voting Rights Act, voting rights in America remain subject to frequent abridgement or denial.

Responding carefully to Scalia's desire to correct Congress's earlier state of mind, Solicitor General Verrilli said:

"I do -- I do say, with all due respect, I think it would be extraordinary to -- to look behind the judgment of Congress as expressed in statutory findings, and -- and evaluate the judgment of Congress on the basis of that sort of motive analysis, as opposed to --"

At which point Scalia interrupted to make a distinction without much difference: "I'm not talking about dismissing it. I'm -- I'm talking about looking into it to see whether it makes any sense."

Shelby County, Alabama, which initiated this challenge to the Voting Rights Act in 2010, is both a recent and chronic offender, where state legislators were caught on tape referring to African American voters as "illiterates" and "aborigines." Shelby County lost its case in federal district court and lost again on appeal. Even the dissent in the appeals court decision acknowledged that "It goes without saying that racism persists," and later added:

"None of this [dissent] is to suggest that the country need for a minute countenance deliberate voting rule manipulations aimed at reducing the voting impact of any racial group, whether in the form of restrictions on ballot access or of boundary-drawing."

Justice Sotomayor Counterbalanced Scalia's Views

Early in the oral argument, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 59, noting the flawed voting rights record of both Shelby County and the state of Alabama, commented to the Alabama counsel, "You're asking us -- to ignore your record and look at everybody else's." She continued, getting little response:

"... there's no question that Alabama was rightly included in the original Voting Rights Act. There's no challenge to the reauthorization acts... It's a real record as to what Alabama has done to earn its place on the list....

"Discrimination is discrimination. And what Congress said is it continues, not in terms of voter numbers, but in terms of examples of other ways to disenfranchise voters...."

Reinforcing this point, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 80, pointed out that the dissent in the district court decision had said, "If this case were about three States, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, those states have the worst records, and application of Section 5 [of the Voting Rights Act] to them might be okay."

Near the end of the hearing, Sotomayor directly asked Alabama counsel, "Do you think that the right to vote is a racial entitlement in Section 5?"

Alabama counsel side-stepped, referring to the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Sotomayor tried again: "I asked a different question. Do you think Section 5 was voted for because it was a racial entitlement?"

When Alabama counsel still gave no direct answer to the question, Sotomayor asked a related question: "Why do you think we [the Supreme Court] should make the judgment, and not the Congress, about the types and forms of discrimination and the need to remedy them?"

Again, Alabama counsel had no direct answer, but after a minute or so of meandering, he said: "I think the problem to which the Voting Rights Act was addressed is solved...."

Alabama Counsel Avoids Giving Direct Answers

Moments later Justice Kagan came back to that: "You said the problem has been solved. But who gets to make that judgment really? Is it you, is it the court, or is it Congress?"

Alabama counsel, after brief banter: "... it is up to the Court to determine whether the problem indeed has been solved and whether the new problem, if there is one --"

Kagan, jumping in: "Well, that's a big, new power that you are giving us, that we have the power now to decide whether racial discrimination has been solved? I did not think that that fell within our bailiwick."

Alabama counsel immediately denied he'd meant what he'd just said, Justice Breyer spoke up to smooth things over, and the hearing was soon over.

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is widely thought to be the swing vote in the case, deciding whether it was constitutional for Congress to extend the Voting Rights Law to address a problem it found still existed, albeit in sometimes new forms. Kennedy was active in the hearing, but his comments were far less pointed than some of his peers, although at one point he asked about applying the law to all the states and not just the ones with an overt record of voting rights discrimination.

But Kennedy also inquired, in effect: How is Shelby County hurt by the formula in the law when the county's record of voting rights discrimination would be caught by almost any rational formula?

Although Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, 65, has benefitted from the Voting Rights Act, as well as actual racial entitlements, perhaps more than any other justice, he had nothing to say during the hearing.

So Is Justice Scalia Just Being Provocative?

In the midst of initial reaction to Scalia's comments about the "perpetuation of racial entitlements" and other jibes, MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow compared the justice to an internet troll. Maddow, who was in the audience for the Supreme Court's oral argument February 27, appeared as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart the following day, where she said: "It's weird to see Antonin Scalia in person. It's weird."

Then she explained, with a little mindreading of her own as to what the mindreading justice was up to with his choice of words:

"... it's not a real vote. It's a racial entitlement now. Voting is a racial entitlement, something that you are entitled to on the basis of your race.

"Wait a second. Do you know how that sounds?

"But I think he does know how that sounds, and that's the neat thing about being there in person because you can see oh, actually, he's a troll. He's saying this for effect.... He knows it's offensive and he knows he's going to get a gasp from the courtroom which he got. And he loves it.... He's that kind of guy."

Is he that kind of guy? Is he a troll?

It's possible he goes out of his way to offend, given Scalia's behavior over the years. But if he's just "saying this for effect," he'd be likely to end up voting to uphold the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. Anything's possible.

But if he's not "saying this for effect," if he's saying things because he means them, then it's more likely that he'll vote to hold that the 1965 law has outlived its constitutional expiration date. That, too, would be consistent with his behavior over the years as something of a racist royalist whose divination of the Constitution's original meaning might well include the realities that non-whites were mostly slaves, and voters were all white male property-owners. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+140 # patmonk 2013-03-03 10:08
Time for term limits and a recall provision.
+32 # Walter J Smith 2013-03-03 12:39
I would only add, "time for a nationwide recall petition." Otherwise the bipartisan hacks determine they will do it, when in fact they will no more recall a malfeasant justice than they will a malfeasant appointee of the Administration. Like Tim Geithner, Holder, the entire "corporate regulators" who regulate nothing so much as their three-five martini lunches.
+6 # mim 2013-03-03 21:03
I, for one, am glad that Justice Stevens was not subject to term limits.
+57 # Barbara K 2013-03-03 10:09

+121 # mike/ 2013-03-03 10:17
this is an insult to trolls!

and when the stupid faux reporter Kelly on Fox said he & the other justices have to vote their 'conscience' when they make decisions she doesn't have the faintest idea what the purpose of SCOTUS is! they are to deal with facts not their personal beliefs! she is a fooletta...
+36 # Texas Aggie 2013-03-03 12:18
Believe it or not, Megyn has a degree in law albeit from a third tier law school, Albany Law School, ranked 113 in the country. I leave it to the student as an exercise to decide how she managed to graduate even from there.
+4 # flippancy 2013-03-03 23:01
Quoting Texas Aggie:
Believe it or not, Megyn has a degree in law albeit from a third tier law school, Albany Law School, ranked 113 in the country. I leave it to the student as an exercise to decide how she managed to graduate even from there.

Probably only got through it because her father was on staff there and she was a legacy. OTOH, bad lawyers don't get to work at Jones, Day. But good lawyers can also be fools and at least it wasn't Liberty Universith she went to. 8^)
+1 # Nominae 2013-03-04 21:13
Quoting Texas Aggie:
Believe it or not, Megyn has a degree in law albeit from a third tier law school, Albany Law School, ranked 113 in the country. I leave it to the student as an exercise to decide how she managed to graduate even from there.

Hmmm..... a challenge. Well, she IS kinda CUTE ! That may have helped.
+23 # Walter J Smith 2013-03-03 12:41
Maybe, like corporation people, they have no consciene to be bothered with.
+38 # theory≠opinion 2013-03-03 13:33
Isn't that the perspective of most conservatives, especially those with a Christian or Libertarian bent? They seem to be convinced that their consciences are more finely tuned than the judicial system, the legislative system and even science. At the end of the day, in the face of evidence of all kinds, they get a free pass from reality called their conscience.
+4 # tm7devils 2013-03-03 18:47
Then explain B v G in 2000...
+13 # tm7devils 2013-03-03 19:22
We need Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Aleito as jurists in the highest we need mercury and methane in our drinking water.
No term limits - that would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water - we need to keep the good, objective ones as long as possible! (Especially if they are left of center(but not to much))
We need a simple method of firing justices who show, by their aberrant rhetoric and actions(both in the court and out), that they are no longer suitable for the position they hold.
+4 # juliajayne 2013-03-04 00:42
We could impeach the troll. He's done enough to deserve it.
+48 # Don Thomann 2013-03-03 10:20
Don't insult trolls!
+7 # SuperJohn 2013-03-03 10:35
Scalia was appointed to the SCOTUS by Bush Sr. as a reward for being the circuit judge to throwout a 20 year old lawsuit that was about election fraud, check out:

Another notable Votescam criminal can now be found sitting on the bench of the highest court in the nation. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, while still a Federal Appeals Judge, single handedly destroyed what would have been an historic lawsuit filed against Justice Department lawyer Craig Donsanto, who had refused to prosecute the extensive vote fraud evidence brought to him by the Colliers. The evidence included videotape of the League of Women voters tampering with ballots in a close door vote "counting" session. The women were illegally punching holes in already cast ballots.
+75 # wwway 2013-03-03 11:12
The League of Women Voters does NOT tamper with ballots. They do not get involved in manning election sites. The league is bipartisan and it's purpose is to provide voter registration programs and projects, facilitate candidate forums, and unbiased issue comparisons as part of their informed voter information efforts. The demonization of LWV by conservatives has been ongoing since it's founding because conservatives are dedicated to destruction of democracy.
+14 # Walter J Smith 2013-03-03 12:36
And because of the LWV's devoted consistencies in providing voter assistance, here's what happened: "The (control over the presidential debates) role was filled by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters (LWV) civic organization in 1976, 1980 and 1984.[5] In 1987, the LWV withdrew from debate sponsorship, in protest of the major party candidates attempting to dictate nearly every aspect of how the debates were conducted. On October 2, 1988, the LWV's 14 trustees voted unanimously to pull out of the debates, and on October 3 they issued a press release."

For requiring the candidates to actually debate something meaningful, instead of standing up there like empty-headed morons, the LWV decided to no longer lend its prestige to the pretennce they were debating.

Good for the LWV. Too bad the national bipartisan majority of voters followed their bipartisan 'leaders' into that stupidity. Now they only pretend to be leading anybody anywhere, when in fact the have cooperated to lead us all into a steadily stagnating, imploding, non-governing paralysis.

And the bipartisan majority of voters can only cheer them on as we all are forced thereby to to follow them into more stupidities that we can count and explain compellingly.
+8 # X Dane 2013-03-03 17:01
Walter J Smith.

Good grief, your comment is not dripping sarcasm, is running all over the place. What did you want the LWV to do?? They obviously can not dictate anything to the presidential candidates and their "handlers", THEY, the handlers, are the ones deserving your contempt.

They are scared stiff that any kind of honesty should creep into the "debates" And I certainly would not be party to that farce either, which is why LWV pulled out. I was a member of LWV a few years ago and they absolutely ARE non bias.

They are not 'PRETENDING to lead anybody anywhere". They inform voters about measures on the ballot, the issues and where the candidates stand, leaving the VOTERS to decide which candidate's views they agree with. So PLEASE hold the MISPLACED sarcasm.
+2 # juliajayne 2013-03-04 00:44
Indeed. The more people who vote, the less advantageous it is for the Gop Slop.
+14 # MidwestDick 2013-03-03 15:47
It has been noted that the previous chief Justice, William Rehnquist, made his bones intimidating minority voters in Arizona. I guess it's a must have for a SCROTUS nominee.
+23 # tabonsell 2013-03-03 17:12
Antonin Scalia was appointed to SCOTUS by Ronald Reagan.

Bush Sr. appointed his puppet, Clarence Thomas.

Two valid reasons those two presidents were among the nation's worst.
+3 # bmiluski 2013-03-04 10:10
And yet......they still cannot hold a candle to GWBush in the worst department.
+137 # fredboy 2013-03-03 10:40
Scalia has everyone fooled. He's not that bright, just bitchy. Saw the same thing throughout academia. Those who acted the most bitchy got "respect" from the other imbeciles.

His latest perversion--cal ling the Voting Rights Act an "entitlement"-- shows his vicious ignorance of history. People of color were being beaten, savaged, and slaughtered when they tried to vote--criminals were crushing a fundamental right that serves as the foundation of our nation. His words disgrace the truth, our memory of that truth, and the courage of countless magnificent souls who stood up to such deadly, criminal suppression and opposition. Through his words he spits on their graves and all they stood for.

We need people of wisdom and social goodness on the supreme court. Not vicious racists who twist and pervert history. Obama, put someone on the court who will intellectually stomp this bastard.
+18 # MidwestDick 2013-03-03 15:49
Obama, put someone on the court who will intellectually stomp this bastard.
He did. Sonya Sotomayor.
+15 # Regina 2013-03-03 16:04
Obama's two appointees did a pretty good job of kicking back Scalia's outrageous comment ("racial entitlement") even though they each were addressing an attorney, not Scalia directly.
+16 # X Dane 2013-03-03 17:20
Thank you for calling a spade a spade. Your comment is spot on. Scalia and Thomas ARE bastards, who sure do NOT belong on the highest court of the land.

We also KNOW they are tools of the Koch Bros. and other powerful trolls. They take part in the Koch's secret "covenants" in Palm Springs. That should be illegal. and we remember how Scalia was cozy with Cheney.
They sure are NOT impartial, as judges MUST be.
+16 # mim 2013-03-03 21:09
As I said throughout the last campaign, the Supreme Court was reason enough to vote for Obama.
+2 # bmiluski 2013-03-04 10:11
I think the term you want is "bully" not bitchy. That's a term you use when women are concerned. And believe me, we do not want him in our gender.
+57 # M. de la Souche 2013-03-03 10:40
Q: Is Scalia a troll?
A: Yes. Need you ask?

This is the same man who gave us the "quack quack" bon mot. Brilliant legal mind that.
+78 # BobbyLip 2013-03-03 10:43
If there's anyone connected with this case who can be fairly characterized as illiterate, it's Antonin Scalia, so-called keen intellect of the right-wing side of the Court. Troll? You betcha!
+32 # Texas Aggie 2013-03-03 12:15
And this is not the only case where he has shown lack of common knowledge. In the case long ago about teaching creationism in public schools, in his dissent he mad it clear that he had absolutely no idea what evolution is. In the case about the EPA being allowed to regulate CO2 emissions, his questions could have been answered by any eighth grader taking Earth Science. His mental contortions in the Lily Ledbetter case and Citizens United were symptomatic of a diseased mind. The man has a mind that barely qualifies to be called a mind.
+20 # Walter J Smith 2013-03-03 12:23
How about John Roberts?

And, of course, we hear nothing from St. Thomas.
+13 # X Dane 2013-03-03 17:58
Roberts is just as eager to get rid of the Voting rights bill. He is a little more sneaky, but although he told the senate committee, before being confirmed, that he was not going to change precedents. "He was just going to be an umpire calling balls and strikes???" Yeah right.

"Citizens United" was calling B and S ??
NO it was BS and is destroying the country with all that, now totally out of control corporate money.

Roberts is a shill for the big corporations, and the wealthy, that is who he is going to protect at any cost. Being the Chief Justice, makes him a lot more dangerous, than Scalia
+5 # AMLLLLL 2013-03-03 21:30
Hey Bobby, Scalia IS intellectual... for right wing intellect. And yes, he is a troll.
+64 # REDPILLED 2013-03-03 10:55
Roberts, Scalia, Alito & Thomas want to drag the U.S. back to the 16th century. Kennedy is more "moderate": he'll settle for 1800.
+7 # Walter J Smith 2013-03-03 12:22
Or 1760, whichever is more convenient for him at the moment.
+86 # Buddha 2013-03-03 11:04
Any reason he can't be a racist and a troll?

When I heard his statements while I was driving home from work this Friday, I was literally shaking in anger so bad I had to pull over. That a jurist in our highest court in the land could be such an overt racist filled me with a rage I have not felt in a long while. This is a sad indictment on how terrible our SCOTUS has become, and future generations will likely consider it one of the worst in our history relative to the time it existed.
+21 # Texas Aggie 2013-03-03 12:09
No reason at all. The evidence indicates that he is both.
+33 # charsjcca 2013-03-03 11:22
It does not really matter about the 15th Amendment. It did not allow everyone to participate. The 19th Amendment was enacted to allow some to participate. It took the 1924 Act to achieve citizenship for Indians or the First Americans.
+15 # CenTexDem 2013-03-03 11:31
Democratic U.S. Senator Paul Sadler called Ted Cruz a troll during their first televised debate on public television in Houston. If you watch the videotape, it fit Cruz well. Sadly, only people at home in Houston during a week day afternoon got to see it in all of the State of Texas.
+26 # LeeBlack 2013-03-03 11:39
When Scalia said, "Or decided that perhaps they'd better not vote against it," referring to the Senate he seemed to be saying that special interests are forcing the Senators to vote a certain way. Yet he was a major vote in Citizens United that provides that pressure on the Senators.
+15 # hd70642 2013-03-03 11:39
Why conservatives want term limits except when it comes to the judical branch >?Where they will serve the longest term and how it is almost impossible to hold them accountaqble
+21 # kalpal 2013-03-03 11:44
Calling Scalia a troll is being very nice to him. He has never been good enough to be considered trollish.
+18 # reiverpacific 2013-03-03 11:46
I am gettin' a bit of "Scalia" fatigue here.
Like Dimwits, he is too easy to make a mockery of -almost with every snide remark that falls from his big ,ever-flapping trap but I appreciate that this article includes some arguments from some of the other members which, apart from Roberts' puerile interjections, give us some light into a few thinking minds on the super-bench.
"Uncle" Thomas is, of course silent after briefly breaking a four-year hiatus from utterance with an incomprehensibl e phrase of "sound and fury signifying nothing" -without the sound and fury; that's Scalia's role, still signifying nothing but given credibility by his falsely elevated status and a general populace that has been led so far down the path of non-reason that it just ignores it all or goes along, like it's soundbyte, content-starved -directors, the US owner-media (I know, I know, I'm always hammering on them but it's all related and very valid if you look at the foreign press in this light).
BTW, what's the general definition of a "Troll" here?
I tend to look at Tolkien's model from his novel "The Hobbit", that a Troll is a largely dim-witted creature who devours the flesh of unwary creatures including humans, lives in a cave during the day and turns into the solid rock it was originally culled from if exposed to sunlight.
So following that model, I guess we have a current Congress full of 'em, led by the Tea Bag Super-Trolls -and come to think of't, the NRA too, what?
+4 # mim 2013-03-03 21:19
Tolkien got trolls from Scandinavian folklore (ugly and malevolent there too).
+17 # jwb110 2013-03-03 11:46
Race, color or previous servitude covers a lot more than just Scalia's spurious "racial entitlement". The average American of Mexican or Indian decent is colored and a different race and who knows the condition of servitude in those communities. This is no longer only a Black issue this is a protection of All Americans Right to Vote. We have seen what has happened in northern states like Wisconsin and Michigan to juke the system to keep a given group from voting. In those states it wasn't just race as the measure it was Democrats in particular. Think about that for a second.
The slippery slope is Scalia's POV. I remember that my great- grandfather, Italian, was told he had to pay to walk on the sidewalks in New York, usually by an Irish Cop.My great- grandfather was considered what is now called a person of color in those days.
And as with Prohibition a new Amendment would have to revoke the previous Amendment and I can only imagine how that would read.
+19 # capierso 2013-03-03 12:17
I keep saying it, and I will say it again. He is showing signs of dementia.
+24 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-03-03 12:18
Once again, the right has perverted the meaning of language. Hell yes minorities are entitled to vote. Hell yes we're entitled to the Social Security benefits for which we've paid for decades. Hell yes we're ALL entitled to equal protection under the law and the Constitution. Hell yes we're entitled to better Supreme Court Justices than Scalia and Roberts.
+16 # Walter J Smith 2013-03-03 12:20
You have to give it to the GOP: racism is superior to challenging racism.

Even their Supreme Court Justices are apparently on board that one.

But, of course, it doesn't stop with racism against the African Americans. It never stops, even with race.

It is pure white apartheid they want. And we all may be getting it.
+24 # DaveM 2013-03-03 12:21
Which part of the 15th Amendment is he unable to understand?

The task of the Supreme Court is to rule on whether a law (or enforcement of same) violates the United States Constitution. Nothing else. Editorializing is supposed to be left at the door.
+19 # Gwen Aguia 2013-03-03 12:25
We need to develop awareness of the political manipulation of words as well as the intentional creation of phrases for the purpose of manipulating people's attitudes and perceptions (take "politically correct" and "conspiracy theory," for example). "Entitlement" has gained a new meaning in recent years; it simply means something that one has a right to. When did having a right to something attain a status of disfavor and even despicableness? How are we allowing ourselves to be manipulated if we use such words and phrases without pointing out the fact that they are being used, or have been created, to manipulate the public's perception of political and social realities?
+16 # Craig Jones 2013-03-03 12:30
Impeachment and institutionaliz ation into an asylum is the only solution for our version of Torquemada. How much more evidence do we need that he is not fit to hold this office?
+27 # John Escher 2013-03-03 12:45
Of course he is a troll. And so is Justice Roberts. And Clarence Thomas is a silent troll. And John Boehner-- well, I could go on and on. Every member of the tea party is a troll. And, though it grieves me to say so, every member of the Republican Party is a troll. Once, there were a few Republicans I liked, self-respecting people who cared about the country.

Now, it seems, that whole party, starting with Rush Limbaugh, has no loftier goal in mind than to elicit a rise from the other side.

Well, they succeed with me and here's my rise for today. What is it you want, people? No government because all government is bad? Will we wear loincloths and hit each other over the head for our food?

Will "conservatives" live in medieval castles and pour boiling oil on anyone who comes up to the walls?

Weeper of the house Boehner stated today that all Americans know that we need to cut expenses. I do? Did austerity work in Europe? Should we keep a good household budget-- is that what he means? And apply that notion to the whole country? How quaint! Have Republicans had a single workable idea in the last 10 years?

Can we de-construct this phrase or headline: DITTOHEADS' PUTRID VERSION OF KUMBAYA SWELLS UP TO HEAVEN?

Oh well, I only have 197 symbols left. Another time.
+3 # MidwestDick 2013-03-03 16:05
+4 # mim 2013-03-03 21:22
And Samuel Alito is a mild-mannered troll.
+2 # bmiluski 2013-03-04 10:25
The tea-bag-gop keeps screaming "No government intrusion" until it comes to their $$$ entitlements.
+13 # Naithom 2013-03-03 12:55
Is Scalia a troll? Is the Pope unemployed?
+16 # WBoardman 2013-03-03 12:57
First of all, I meant no offense to any trolls anywhere.

The "troll" appellation came to Scalia by way of Rachel Maddow on the Daily Show. There may well be other applications of the term to Justice Scalia, but I'm not aware of them.

As I understand Maddow's usage, it is a metaphorical application of a metaphor. The first metaphor being the internet "troll," an inherently pejorative usage referring to the deliberately unpleasant and probably insincere presences one may come across in chat rooms, etc. Maddow applies this metaphor to Scalia metaphorically, even suggesting that he doesn't mean what he says.

Make of it what you will, Scalia is still the guy who took communion, then came out of church to flip off his critics (the exact gesture is in dispute, it's meaning not so much).
+20 # Objective Observer 2013-03-03 13:06
Supreme Court Judge Scalia is not a troll. He is an ignorant man who has no place in any body of societal governing. The reality of his condition is one that plagues many Euro-Americans to this day. He lives in a delusional world whereby he thinks Euro-Americans sit at the top of humanity or even outside of the human behavior that gives humanity it's classification. The Emancipation of Proclamation, the Civil Rights Acts and all that it entails, (racial integration, voting rights etc.) are not laws for the cultural other or in this case the African-America n. In a world where conscious reality exist, as it is stipulated in the very constitution he tries to manipulate, these are Inalienable rights not subject to debate and definitely not rights granted by Homo-Hablis conscious level individuals like Judge Scalia. These and any other such amendments needed to justify what should already be a reality in the minds and hearts of civilized men, are laws for those not yet civilized or consciously evolved enough to accept reality. Such so called men cause untold suffering for millions of human beings because of their inadequacies.
+13 # hawaiigram 2013-03-03 13:20
My initial reaction to your excellent article is to ponder the concept of 'separation of power' - the original intent to balance the power in government into the three branches.
In theory, the people should benefit and the checks and balances should root out unfair practices.
Unfortunately, in practice, we see a culture of 'beholden' bought and paid for representatives and appointed justices.
A transparent election process is key to a functioning democracy. Period.
We have three branches of government to ensure this transparency. Let's hope Kennedy gets it right.
+16 # Cdesignpdx 2013-03-03 13:56
Perhaps 'his arrogance' will step down from the supreme court so the cardinals can consider him for the papacy.
+10 # isafakir 2013-03-03 14:07
god help us. jesus says some trolls are only cast out by prayer and fasting. we need to do some heavy praying heavy fasting and the best organizing in usa history. from 2000, bush vs gore to now, they've begun to dismantle the complete post civil war structure of democracy, starting with literally suspending the constitution to appoint bush as president. and we all went along with it then.
+12 # vgirl1 2013-03-03 14:09
Yes he is. Why else would a Justice of the SCOTUS declare that a law intended to protect a constitutional right was a racial entitlement? He and Roberts have long looked to get rid of the Voting Rights Act.

If they were not looking to do so, why would they ever have elected for the court to take the case - especially one from a county which, over the last ten years, has not been able to bail out under the law (ie.avoid having its voting manipulation tactics overturned by the Justice Dept).

For Roberts is has been a 30 year plus effort to tear down the Act. As Chief Justice of the SCOTUS he sees this as his last opening to do so.

Indeed, based on his history relative to the ACT, Roberts should recuse himself from the case. But the ethics of the law when it comes to recusing one's self means nothing to the likes of Scalia or Roberts.

So Roberts gets to interject untruthful, irrelevant supposition (re: MA). Scalia gets to make racially negative, activist judge comments (re: the law is a racisl entitlement and the court not Congress should make decisions on this subject) as his arguments.

Then there is Thomas who cannot help but lap at the feet of the party who put him on the court.

These judges are doing all they can to stir up racial animosity to justify their ruling.

Roberts will go down in history as the Chief Justice who worked tirelessly to encourage and support the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act.
+11 # DragonMama 2013-03-03 14:35
I'm in Ohio and I am white. Look at our new US House district lines. I would be 100% OK with having the VRA applied to every state in this country, including and especially my own, but only if there is actually enough ENFORCEMENT to make it something other than a rotten joke. From the looks of things, enforcement hasn't been a priority in the worst-offenders area where it's been law since my parents were in high school, even though my oldest child is now old enough to understand the need for such laws (he's 8 and I think he may already have a better legal mind than "Justice" Scalia). If we're not enforcing it enough to have it not be a problem in the worst offending areas, then we can't spread THOSE enforcers even thinner quite yet. However, when you can play letter jumble type preschool learn-to-recogn ize-letters games with the shapes of a district in a state, you know they need some looking into. My kindergartener already knows the meaning of the word "gerrymandering " because I shouted about it so many times - thanks Ohio politicians!
+12 # DragonMama 2013-03-03 14:40
Oh, and also as a white person who has never been convicted of anything beyond speeding violations, I believe that the perpetual disenfranchisem ent of our fellow citizens after they've served their time is a violation of the 15th Amendment. Given the disproportional rate persons of color are convicted of crimes that come with disenfranchisem ent (in some states), this is an end-run around the 15th Amendment's requirements. If they have the requirement to pay taxes should they be able to secure a job after release, and all the OTHER rights of citizenship, then they should also have the right to vote unless their conviction was somehow related to a voting crime.
+5 # MidwestDick 2013-03-03 16:04
The Republican party is completely under the spell of Rush. Rush's job, which I think he inherited from Joe Pine, was to enrage everyone who heard him. Keeps the adrenaline up for the commercials so they seem more vivid. How such a critter became the basis for the rhetoric of the Republican leadership is a story worth telling, if anyone can figure it out.
From this perspective, Scalia is just another cheesy provocateur, a troll, if you will, in the Rush mold, and, like Rush, his concern is entirely with the success and victory of his political team whatever the goals. In pursuit of that, he has no shame.
+4 # bmiluski 2013-03-04 10:29
WRONG MidwestDick.... ....the republican party is completely under the spell of the Koch Bros.
+7 # brilyn37 2013-03-03 16:30
If US Supreme Court Justices truly had to vote their conscience, Justice Scalia could only abstain.
+3 # tabonsell 2013-03-03 17:38
The Fourteenth Amendment would be better than the Fifteenth to handle the problem of voter disenfranchisem ent. The Fifteenth only covers people of race, color or previous servitude.

The Fourteenth covers everyone when it says "no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States" and adds "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Voting is a privilege.

Section 5 gives the power to Congress to enforce the provisions of the amendment through legislation so it could outlaw any thing any state does to make voting harder for any group of people than it is for other groups.

That means lines at an urban polling place must not be inordinately long compared to those at an affluent suburb. Each polling station must have the same number of voting machines as it relates to the number of registered voters.

Get with it Congress and outlaw the dirty tricks Republican state politicians have done to make voting harder, if not impossible, in Democratic areas. Make voting a protected activity nationwide. Put some teeth into voting laws and require mandatory jail time for some of these haters of democracy so it is they who will never vote again.
+6 # mim 2013-03-03 21:37
I agree with a lot of what you say, tabonsell, but not that voting is a privilege. If you are a U.S. citizen 18 or over, voting is a right.
0 # tabonsell 2013-03-04 15:16
Our rights come in two forms; privileges and immunities.

And there is a difference.

Privileges are rights in which government has some oversight; immunities are rights in which government has no say. Many of our problems are that those in government or the general population can't tell the difference.


A prisoner has the immunity right of his own religion but he doesn't have the privilege right of owning a gun.

Opening a business is a privilege because government has some regulatory power. Buying at any store you wish is an immunity because government cannot regulate that.

Voting is a privilege, who you vote for is an immunity.

By not knowing the difference we have government intruding into what should be immunities, such as: a woman should have the immunity of managing her own pregnancy (no government wanted), choosing your lover or marriage partner is an immunity, displaying patriotism or lack of such is an immunity, what we inhale, ingest or insert into our bodies should be recognized as an immunity. There are many more that I don't have time or space to mention.

The Fourteenth Amendment sets this out very clearly when it says no state can make or enforce any law abridging the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States.
+4 # hawaiigram 2013-03-03 22:26
Voting is a right.

And voting in a free, transparent election is a right.

A transparent election process is key to a functioning democracy. Period.
+7 # ganymede 2013-03-03 18:23
I hate to say this and am almost embarrassed to say this because it is immoral, impudent and outrageous, but I think there would be very few tears shed if Scalia were to have a massive coronary attack and keel over, hopefuly not to die, but to be sufficently incapcitated to have to step down from the court. He has to be the most disruptive, ignorant person to have been appointed to the court in modern times. and Clarence Thomas is almost as bad as he is. What kind of system do we have that allows such unqualified people to be elevated to such a high position?
+3 # Regina 2013-03-03 21:48
The Justices are reflections of their appointing presidents. Dubya's and his Poppy's appointees are as doctrinaire and incompetent as they were. So far, Obama's appointees are stateswomen. He may get another chance or even two, but they would only be replacing aging competent justices. Dubya crowed over Roberts for his comparative youth, which would keep him leading the court for a lo-o-o-ong time
+1 # bmiluski 2013-03-04 10:39
I think it would be better if he were made Pope. That way he'd be totally powerless to do anything.
+7 # rradiof 2013-03-03 19:27
I just finishing watching a train wreck (a/k/a Shelby v. Holder) on C-Span. I am a lawyer who argued multiple cases in Federal Circuit Courts and State Supreme Courts. I grew up watching men and women fight to ensure that the 15th Amendment would become law--reificatio n: the word becomes flesh. Finally, in 1965, LBJ signed the Voting Rights Law, that MLK said was more important the the Civil Rights Act, because without the vote nothing matters. Later, as a young lawyer I became aware of the three decades long march to Brown v. Board of Education, masterminded by Charles Houston and quarterbacked by Thurgood Marshall. But, today, I watched the Voting Rights Act eviscerated by Opus Dei while the 15th Amendment was "defended" by Donald Verilli and Debo Adegbile, who would not have made the first cut of the Charles Houston crew. I am sure that both will continue to enrich themselves as corporate shysters. Just sayin'. Over and out.
+1 # mim 2013-03-03 21:53
Scalia supposes that a "decided that perhaps they'd better not vote against it," - gee, how can you vote against a law with "rights" in its name?

Translation: legislators are just too intimidated by the n-----s and n-----lovers who have taken over the land. It takes us justices to come to the rescue.
+5 # moby doug 2013-03-04 00:18
Scalia disgraces himself, the Supreme Court, and the profession of law every time he opens his arrogant, hateful,racist, sexist, mouth. What's next? Him advocating revocation of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 19th Amendment giving women the vote? Nothing is too outrageous or reactionary for this guy. He's truly crossed over into Attila the Hun-land. Intelligent? This is what the far right calls intelligent? If Scalia is intelligent then Dennis Miller and Anne Coulter are funny. The philosopher Hobbes had a phrase for men like Scalia: "bookful blockheads, ignorantly read."
+1 # bmiluski 2013-03-04 10:41
I'm waiting for him to declare that corporations have a right to vote. I know he thinks it, I'm just waiting for him to say it out loud.
0 # karenvista 2013-03-05 23:01
I have a standing bet with my son that the "strict originalist" Clarence Thomas, would vote to reinstitute slavery if the court ever accepted a case that made that possible. I guess his vote here will be a good test case for that.
0 # socrates2 2013-03-06 18:43
karenvista, all Clarence Thomas would need to do in your hypothetical is dust off the arguments used in Dred Scott vs. Sandford...
0 # noitall 2013-03-04 16:29
When questions of such importance to the American People and their Constitution are decided by the "best legal brains that we have" in a 4/5 split (consistently), something is drastically wrong (possibly politically motivated? as if that couldn't happen), it is clear that change is needed; to the life-long term; to the absence of a consensus vote. If between them, they cannot come to a consensus as to what is needed to be loyal to their mandate, the question is moot and should be decided elsewhere and/or the "elsewhere" examined for objectivity.
0 # Corvette-Bob 2013-03-05 14:25
After practicing as an attorney for 38 years I learned that Judges make their decisions not on the law but based upon their prejudices and biases. Whenever I encountered a fair minded person of intergrity I was pleased. There seems to be a fundamental aspect to the human mind that is corrupt. The idea of having 7 justices making the decision is to negate the corruption within the system.
0 # sahqu 2013-03-05 15:08
White men's right to vote is a gender and racial entitlement.
+1 # RHytonen 2013-03-06 06:50
Scalia is either he worst type of cromonal -0 a corrupt judge in the highest office- Or SICK -someone dangerous to himself and others, and should be incarcerated anyway.

He is FAR more dangerous than Adam Schwartz(was)Br adley Manning, and Julian Assange!
0 # randrjwr 2013-03-06 11:34
If treating states unequally is a critical issue, then I think Kennedy has the key: extend Section 5 to apply to ALL states. The behaviors of Pennsylvania and Ohio in the last election are ample evidence that this would be justified. The guarantee of voting rights to all citizens should go in in perpetuity and, if the VRA is required to accomplish that, then it too should go on in perpetuity. It is too bad that the word "entitlement" has gained such a nasty connotation of late. As defined (Mirriam-Webste r: "1
a : the state or condition of being entitled : right
b : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract" (, the word does not refer to privilege; it refers to rights. Just as we all are ENTITLED to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we, as citizens of this country, are all ENTITLED to vote in its elections--with out having to fight restrictions clearly aimed at certain ethnic, economic or political groups.
0 # socrates2 2013-03-06 18:39
Scalia said, "This Court doesn't like to get involved in -- in racial questions such as this one. It's something that can be left -- left to Congress."
This has got to rank among the most ignorant statements made by a federal judge, not to mention a Supreme Court justice.
An Amendment (starting with the first ten, the Bill of Rights) sets down in THE CONSTITUTION, the near-absolute RIGHTS the PEOPLE grant themselves AND the limits such Amendment imposes on our Government. It is up to the COURTS to enforce such Amendment when either the STATES or the US Congress overstep their powers in this area. The Constitution is NOT "self-enforcing ." Sworn judges assume the professional obligation and responsibility to stand up and speak for this social contract and the rights of the individual. Ordinarily, judges do so by declaring a law either Constitutional or else one that violates the Constitution and strike it down.
If Scalia is not up to the task because he dislikes getting involved in "racial questions" the man can do one of two things: he can recuse himself or, better yet, resign and let a real judge assume responsibility for making a reasoned analysis and making the tough decisions. Heck, I volunteer to replace the man.

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