Scalia Openly Mocks Tentherism


One of the hallmarks of the extreme right-wing of the Republican party is an embrace of “tentherism” — that is, the belief that nearly everything the federal government does, particularly when exercising spending power, is unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment which holds that any power not granted to the federal government is held by the states.

Texas governor and Republican presidential nominee Rick Perry is one of the most visible tenthers and on record as believing that Social Security and Medicare violate the 10th Amendment. But Perry is not alone in those beliefs. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) would like to eliminate not just Medicare under the 10th Amendment, but Pell Grants and other federal social spending.

Thankfully not even staunch conservative and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia buys into this radical misunderstanding of the Constitution. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked the Justice if it would be proper to render these programs unconstitutional under that view, Justice Scalia didn’t just dismiss tentherism, he openly mocked it.

When one of the most conservative justices in the history of the court mocks the very foundation of the hard-right’s constitutional understanding you know it is off the rails.


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Photo from The Higgs Boson via flickr.


Jackie Mason
Jackie Mason5 years ago

it's not about who votes that counts, it who counts the votes. it's not about the laws we have, but WHO enforces them... pitiful state of affairs for the ideal of a UNITED STATES of AMERICA.

Albert H.
Albert Hoffman6 years ago

Steve R. You kill me with your elitist attitude. I find it funny that conservatives think the federal government has no right to interfere with certain things. It is all fin and good as long as it does not include freedom for Muslims to build places of worship, Gays getting married or woman having the right to
abortions. It is what we liberal "common folk" call B.S.

Gina P.
Regina P6 years ago

Now I understand tentherism and how wrong it is. And if Scalia gets it, then everyone should! He's so conservative and sees it.

Jane H.
Jane H6 years ago

thank you for explaining what" tentherism" means, and I'm so gla to hear that aJudge on the S.C. doe not support it.

Craig Gosling
Craig Gosling6 years ago

Scalia speaks to God, like Bush, so he must be right.

Horsehockey Horace
Past Member 6 years ago

He gave them "The Sicilian Chin Sweep" In the family, that's never a good sign. THX

JW H.6 years ago

Steve - thanks - its quite clear that many here have not read the constitution

Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey6 years ago

Only 1 percent of the country's 560 million city dwellers breathe air considered safe by the European Union, because all of China's major cities are constantly covered in a toxic, gray shroud.(2)” Dr. Brian Moench

Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey6 years ago

“For Tea Party zealots it is impossible to utter, hear, read or write the words "freedom" and "liberty" too many times. And, of course, to them, the antithesis of freedom and liberty is the federal government, which they swear they will "take back."
For them, taking back the government means restoring the freedom to not be able to afford health care, restoring the freedom to be unemployed without any unemployment insurance, restoring the freedom to lose your home to mortgage fraud and your pension to criminal Wall Street bankers. That doesn't sound much like a "Party" to me; that sounds more like a nightmare. Even though many of their devotees don't realize it themselves, what the Tea Party Nightmare is actually selling is not freedom for you, but more freedom for corporate America to deny your freedom. And, this year, no freedom is more important to the Tea Party Nightmare than the freedom for corporations to make you sick by polluting our air and water. So, how well is this Tea Party Nightmare brand of environmental protection working out in China? Chinese authorities admit that, every year, 750,000 thousand of their citizens die from air pollution and 60,000 from water pollution.(1) Outside organizations think that is a gross underestimation. According to the Chinese Ministry of Health, pollution has made cancer the leading cause of death in China, followed by respiratory and heart diseases also related to their air pollution. Only 1 percent of the country's 560 mi

Steve R.
Steve R6 years ago

I guess Scalia has forgotten the "enumerated powers".....

Those limited powers granted to the Federal government by the constitution, that the United States Congress is so prone to overstepping.

To the extent that the Federal government now thinks it is the only government in this country, and that it can dictate what the states may and may not do....

Contrary to liberal progressive belief - there are things that the Federal government has NO RIGHT to interfere with.

Scalia must be starting to suffer from Alzheimers or Dementia - poor guy.