In which Justice Scalia says confusing things

Leftover sends this, a report (from American Conservative, so take a lemon to suck) that says in a Louisiana speech a few days ago, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said the Constitution, well, let’s AC’s Rod Dreher describe it:

Scalia said that of all the religion clause (the Establishment clause, and the Free Exercise clause) cases from which he’s dissented over his years on the court, the one that upset him the most (“by which I mean the one that strayed farthest from the proper methodology”) was Texas Monthly vs. Bullock (1989).  The case had to do with the fact that the State of Texas exempted religious publications from the state sales tax.

“The case was decided by a mechanical application of the Lemon Test, not by long-accepted practices of the American people,” he said.

The Lemon Test says that a law violates the Establishment Clause if it favors religion over secularism — not one church or denomination over another, but religion over non-religion, said Scalia.

Here’s the Times-Picayune’s take on the talk. Whoo-boy.

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  1. (I hope somebody has instructed the Wochit announcer on how to pronounce Tony the Tiger’s last name.)

    Scalia claims America never embraced laicism, control of political and social institutions by secular elements, (he refers to it in the French, laïcisme), or secularism itself, belief in the separation of religious and civil affairs.

    That’s a crock of some very peculiar shit coming from a secular civil servant appointed to office by another secular civil servant empowered by a secular system of government.

    What I find particularly disturbing in this latest rant is Scalia’s disdain for “non-religion.” (Whatever he means by that…who knows?) It sounds like he thinks the government should have the power to make prejudicial distinctions based on religion, or a perceived absence of religion, in its dealings with individuals and groups. That’s completely inconsistent with American Constitutional jurisprudence as well as American history.

    I think he’s losing his grip. Seriously.

  2. “One of the reasons God has been good to us is that we have done him honor”. Holy Mumbo Jumbo! We should vote on separation of state and church? Shoot, we should have thought of that before. We probably could have kept our slaves and shut up those yappy women carrying on about the vote.

    When I see this guy going on to his great reward, I picture him on a pedestal in the Hall of Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.

    1. The people actually did vote on the separation of church and state. It took ten months for the Constitution to be ratified. The ratification process employed the same system of representative democracy we employ today, and the debate was not confined to government halls and meetings. There was a great deal of Federalist versus Antifederalist debate in the media, very similar to media debates today.

      Just because direct language in common use today was not employed in a document written over 200 years ago doesn’t mean the concepts of laicism and secularism were not included, presented to the public, understood by the public and voted on by the States. Scalia’s revisionist history is beyond reactionary. It’s pathological. And dangerous…especially if you’re nonreligious.

      1. Right. I was thinking what might have happened had there been a direct popular vote (in the case of slavery and suffrage). Separation probably would have carried the day in 1787/88. I’m not so sure now

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