Report: Scalia Claims Judicial Activism Partially Led To Holocaust

In this March 8, 2012 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia invoked Nazi Germany and radical islam Saturday to highlight the dangers of judicial activism in a speech to Utah State Bar Association in Snowmass Village, according to The Aspen Times. 

The conservative justice opened his speech with a comment on the Holocaust, saying it occurred in one of the “most advanced countries in the world” and one of the mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges interpreted the law in ways that reflected the “spirit of the age.”

This comment follows Scalia’s longstanding belief in “originalism’–the belief that the constitution is a “static document,” not a “living document” whose meaning changes with the times. 

“I believe that texts should be read to mean what they were understood to mean when they were adopted,” he said in his speech Saturday. “Who in a democratic society should have the power to determine the government’s view of what natural law is?…In an open, democratic society, the people can debate these issues.”

Scalia cited issues like abortion, the right to execute someone for a crime and the legality of “homosexual sodomy” as examples of issues that judges aren’t qualified to rule on, arguing that professionals in the specific field are more qualified to speak to these. 

“I accept, for the sake of argument, that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged,” he said, according to the Aspen Times. “Rather, I am questioning the propriety, indeed the sanity, of having a value-laden decision such as that made for the entire society by unelected judges.”

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: