Monday, January 3, 2011

Scalia's Surprise: Women Don't Have Constitutional Protection Against Discrimination


WASHINGTON -- The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

For the record, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause states: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." That would seem to include protection against exactly the kind of discrimination to which Scalia referred.

Read the rest of this shocking story in The Huffington Post.

UPDATE:  Scalia says the 14th Amendment protects only black citizens, not women. Oh, and a rich white kid named Bush

For another view on the matter, please read this piece by Joan Walsh from Salon.


  1. This story, like many in the Huffington Post, which has an extremely liberal bias, is disingenuous.

    No. The Constitution doesn't specifically guarantee equal rights to both sexes. Nor does it do so to specific races. It also doesn't prevent private individuals or companies from doing so. It simply says State Govt.s shall not make laws that do so.

    But laws HAVE been passed both on the Federal and State level that do guarantee those equal rights to both sexes, and to all races.

    Scalia was speaking in a strict legal interpretation manner. Most legal scholars would agree with the essence of his statement.

    To imply that this means that he is against equal rights is taking his statement out of context.

    All he's saying is that you can't read modern views into a document that was written a hundred years ago, because they're not there.

    Our Constitution is a living, breathing document. It has been adjusted and changed to suit the times; that is it's great strength.

  2. The biggest problem with Scalia is, he gets two votes on every decision. The organ grinder and the monkey vote as one.

    He's the activist judge he keeps warning us about.

  3. I linked back to the original Scalia interview. It seems that this was an attempt by the Huffington Post, it's writer Amanda Terkel, and Marcia Greenberger of the National Woman's Law Center to create an anti-Scalia issue where none would otherwise exist.

    Scalia has always been considered an originalist. He has not been shy about his positions an historian and a constitutional originalist. The version of the 14th Amendment that was adopted was different than the language that woman's rights activists of the day were promoting. From an historical perspective there have been many different attempts to glean the drafter's meaning of this amendment. The effort to specifically mention woman's rights in the 14th amendment was not the version adopted.

    Scalia has never been a 'penumbra' kind of judge. He takes the position that legislatures have all the authority that they need to reflect the wishes of current society. As he said in the interview "You don't need a consitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box...Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges..."

    Scalia has been very consistent during his tenure on the court. What is shocking is that Ms. Greenberger and Ms. Terkel would find Scalia's comments in this interview to be shocking. As I compare the Scalia statements in the interview to the spin put on them by the Huffington Post I can only conclude that the Huffington Post had an agenda to simply use innuendo to besmirsch Scalia.

    For Ms. Terkel to write "Greenberger added that under Scalia's doctrine, women could be legally barred from juries, paid less by the government, receive fewer benefits in the armed forces, and be excluded from state-run schools..." is quite disingenuous.

    Please do not think that I agree with every position that Scalia has taken or that I agree with his holdings across the board, but this article in the Huffington Post was a bit of a cheap shot.


  4. Scalia has presented many ultra-conservative views that are out of step with the United States. To say such as he did is pretty political. We need more liberal Justices and less of a packed Court with Right wing fanatics.