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Sex Discrimination Constitutionally OK Says Scalia

Sex Discrimination Constitutionally OK Says Scalia

At a recent lecture at the University of California Hastings College of Law, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told the audience that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit sex discrimination or discrimination based on sexual orientation.  While this statement coming from the Court’s current longest-serving justice is not exactly ground-breaking, it does serve as an important reminder about the Court’s bitter divide on the issue of the scope of the 14th Amendment.

Since the early 1970′s the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws applied to sex discrimination, and that laws that discriminated on the basis of gender needed a strong justification.  This is not the same standard used when dealing with sexual orientation discrimination, and the differing levels of scrutiny reflects a judicial understanding that not all discrimination fits under the umbrella of the 14th Amendment.

But for Justice Scalia, this just isn’t good enough.  If society wants to ban gender discrimination or sexual orientation discrimination they can, through the legislative process.  The idea though that those forms of discrimination are constitutionally prohibited he called a “modern invention.”

Scalia’s lecture was in celebration of the 24th anniversary of his unanimous Senate confirmation after his appointment by President Ronald Reagan.

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photo courtesy of stephen.masker via Flickr

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63 comments

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7:52AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Reagan put this bigoted moron in office -- what a surprise! One old dinosaur putting another one in a position of authority to carry on the white male mindset from the early 1900's. This idiot should be THROWN out of office!

2:28PM PST on Dec 31, 2012

William R. Wrote:
"Here is another of Bush's appointees that should be hung by his GO NADS. Seems Bush appointed all bad guys to the courts."

Actually, Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia to the SCOTUS in 1986. Bush Jr. appointed John Roberts and Samuel Alito. But I do agree with William that Scalia's way of interpreting the Constitution by interpreting the founding fathers reasoning is not going to work well in the modern world. Even the Constitution has to evolve with society.

4:35PM PST on Nov 15, 2010

I thought that intelligence was a criteria to serve on SCOTUS including the ability to interpret the laws of the land to fit contemporary societal issues, particularly when you consider that the original authors/signatories to the Constitution were unable to think of even basic things like gender and skin color were irrelevant to the equation of determining who was entitled to rights. It does seem however that there are some that think that unless you are the "right" gender or skin color or ethncity or religion you are not entitled to any rights in this country.

11:49PM PDT on Sep 26, 2010

Evidently, the constitution is open to interpretation. So is it constitutional to be racist, too?

11:19AM PDT on Sep 25, 2010

It's hard to find words...what is this game called:"Let's Use the Constitution as We Interpret It".?

6:08AM PDT on Sep 25, 2010

This is an "Old boys club" mentality, only those like them get to join or hold priveledge. This is the very reason we began fighting for equal rights-all minorities. Of course, those old farts retire or die off. We just have to be careful not to vote for this kind again. Old farts from old clubs serve themselves, maintain traditions, and only marginally pretend to have certain political/public correctiness. This too shall pass!

10:24PM PDT on Sep 24, 2010

I think these two faced misogynists are secretly getting it in their tailpipes and hiding behind their primo titles and positions and do not want you to know. { No disrespect to all the courageous people who have the guts to be out }

10:14PM PDT on Sep 24, 2010

The nuts are running the insane asylum , as they continue to do. We the Women For the Women, in order to form a more perfect Union must vote and vote , these lunatics out and work on changing the constitution to " All People are created equal" and end this archaic and barbaric B.S. ONCE and FOR ALL.

5:22PM PDT on Sep 24, 2010

You can almost pinpoin the age of the responding commentors, interesting.

11:10AM PDT on Sep 23, 2010

Age discrimination is also a "modern invention". Justice Scalia looks like a decrepit old bugger, fire him, it's constitutionally OK!

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