Posted Jul 29, 2010 02:01 pm CDT
Justice Antonin Scalia linked the “living Constitution” doctrine with politically charged U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings in a speech in Bozeman, Mont., on Wednesday.
Scalia said that Supreme Court appointments have become political events since justices began acting as arbiter’s of the nation’s morals, the Associated Press reports. He speculated that if a vote were held today on his confirmation, he would not get the needed 60 votes.
Scalia maintains unelected judges shouldn’t rely on the living Constitution theory to make moral judgments, and said he refers to an 1848 Noah Webster dictionary to define words in the Constitution, AP reports.
Two protesters standing in the rain outside the event held signs criticizing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling holding that corporations have a First Amendment right to make donations supporting political candidates, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports. “Corporations are not for people,” one sign read.
Scalia fielded a question about the decision in a question-and-answer session after his speech. “Corporations are groups of individuals,” Scalia said. “This wasn’t a conservative versus liberal thing. This was an original reading of the Constitution thing.”
He declined to answer a question, however, about the Arizona immigration law partly blocked by a federal judge earlier in the day. “You want to get me recused from the case?” he asked.
AP reports that Scalia sometimes joked, but at other times “his temper flared. He interrupted his speech twice, once to ask that a crying baby be removed from the audience and again to halt the clicking cameras of news photographers in the front row.”
Scalia took a lighter tone when one audience member prefaced a question by welcoming the justice to Montana and wishing him a good time, KPZK.com reports.
“Tell that to the fish,” Scalia responded.