Scalia: Douchebag of Liberty.

Equal Protection for Ladies? Nobody Voted for That

The first one you may recognize as the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The second one is part of an interview with Antonin Scalia, who as you may recall is a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a group that does things like decide what the 14th Amendment means.

This statement by Justice Scalia, which appears in the new issue of California Lawyer magazine, has caused some controversy, especially among women and men who wish to continue their current relationships with women. If the 14th Amendment doesn't extend equal protection to women, then a state legislature could repeal laws against discrimination, or pass laws that discriminated, and women would be stuck with that. Because that's what democracy is all about, you see.



17 Responses:

  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    Please cut and paste the above into the comments section of every person on teh Facebooks who posts brilliant remarks like "Politics are boring" or "I don't vote because all politicians are the same" during every single election season.

  2. Technically, he's right. If the 14th amendment had been intended to provide equal rights for women, you wouldn't have needed to pass the 19th amendment 50 years later.

    • Elusis says:

      Technically, he's not right, because we have plenty of subsequent decisions establishing that the 14th covers all kinds of groups other than different races (Romer v. Evans being one of the more recent and one of my favorites, having lived in Colorado) and we all know SCOTUS is all about respecting precedent except in very unusual cases. Ahem.

      IMO the 19th was just an attempt to say "no we are not freaking joking about this, wearing a dress is not a reason to pay me half of what you pay some dude" in order to prevent weaselly crap like what eventually turned into the Lily Ledbetter case.

    • Thomas Lord says:

      He is technically misleading.
      The 14th amendment prohibits depriving women of their legal rights (for, women are "persons") with one explicit exception: voting. From the 14th:

      Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.[emphasis added]

      The fourteenth made women equal under the law except for voting rights.

  3. Jenni bot says:

    I'm very much enjoying "Our Undemocratic Constitution" as my mass transit reading this winter.
    Also, "Ill Fares the Land"

  4. Mike Hoye says:

    In fairness, Scalia has historically favored a strict interpretation of fuck you I'll say whatever I want.

  5. joejoe says:

    So what was the (failed) Equal Rights Amendment about?

    • Nick Lamb says:

      Ooh, ooh, I know. It was to make women serve as front-line combat troops, destroy the family, and um, something something? Phyllis Schlafly still isn't dead, and her son's blog masquerading as an encyclopedia can probably fill you in on the exact list.

      But seriously, belatedly passing the ERA would be a suitable response to Scalia's comment. I doubt it will happen, but if women (or indeed people generally) are outraged, they can send a message that Scalia can't ignore by changing the Constitution.

      • Elusis says:

        You forgot "force men and women to use single-sex bathrooms."

      • joejoe says:

        Yes, passing the ERA would send a message.
        If it passed.
        Which it didn't.

        I could be wrong, but I do think Scalia was talking about the constitution as it is, not as it might be if something in the future (like the ERA) happened (because it might not).

        And I do think that is his job, to read the constitution as it is.