U.S. Supreme Court

Scalia says judicial activism can distort democracy

Justice Antonin Scalia continued his attacks on judicial activism during a speech in Colorado on Saturday, referencing radical Islam and 1930s Germany to illustrate the dangers.

The Aspen Times has the account of Scalia’s speech to the Utah Bar Association, titled “Mullahs of the West: Judges as Moral Arbiters,” in a meeting at Snowmass Village.

According to the story, “Scalia opened his talk with a reference to the Holocaust, which happened to occur in a society that was, at the time, ‘the most advanced country in the world.’ One of the many mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges began to interpret the law in ways that reflected ‘the spirit of the age.’ When judges accept this sort of moral authority, as Scalia claims they’re doing now in the U.S., they get themselves and society into trouble.”

Scalia’s point is that judges distort democracy when they make value-laden decisions about individual rights and liberties, the Aspen Times says. Society, rather than judges, should be making decisions about whether to allow abortion, capital punishment and “homosexual sodomy,” he said.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

Updated at 9:40 a.m. to change the headline and add the name of Scalia’s speech.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.