Gay Marriage Ruling: 7 Angriest Lines from Scalia's Dissent

Associated Press

There are no genuine Westerners on the high court, the conservative justice points out, writing, "California does not count."

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that will provide a nationwide right for same-sex couples to marry. Not everyone was celebrating. Here are some highlights from the curmudgeonly dissent authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, who refers to fortune cookies and hippies to make the point that a small majority of the country's most important court shouldn't be defining liberty for all:

1. "Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court... A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy."

2. "The Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single South-westerner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count)."

3. "And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation."

4. "The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so. Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent."

5. "Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie."

6. "If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: 'The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,' I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

7. "Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall... With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them...we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence."

comments powered by Disqus