U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was at it again yesterday. I have previously criticized Scalia’s apparent insatiable appetite for public notoriety, including violating judicial ethical rules by discussing issues in pending cases. He is the very model of the new celebrity justice that I have criticized in past columns (here and here and here). Now, at Princeton while pitching his latest book, “Reading Law,” Scalia succeeded in not only discussing an issue in two pending same-sex marriage cases but reaffirming homophobic prejudices. Scalia was questioned about his controversial comments equating homosexuality with bestiality by a gay student. Scalia admitted that such comparison are “not necessary, but I think it’s effective.” That appears to be the standard used by this justice in using profoundly insulting language: whether it is effective prose or argument.
I understand the media outrage. I’m outraged at Scalia’s grotesquely demeaning comment. From the viewpoint of a Libertarian, every human being has a natural right to live however they wish so long as their actions do not violate or in anyway infringe upon the rights of another human being. Those rights also include the right to contract, including the right to contract for a domestic arrangement. The Libertarian view recognizes the absolute necessity for natural rights. Our criminal justice system is an overgrown nightmare that increasingly is exclusively focusing on criminalizing just about every possible human behavior.
A truly just judicial system goes like this: No Victim, No Crime.
Even more alarming is that the courts are upholding draconian police powers, including the right of the police to sexually assault and cavity probe a suspect in custody, regardless of the reason.
On April 2, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld strip searches and cavity searches in a 5-4 decision, with the dissenters being Breyer, Kagan, Gingsberg and Sotomayor. In his dissent, Breyer graphically described a strip/cavity search:
‘..a visual inspection of the inmate’s naked body. This should include the inmate opening his mouth and moving his tongue up and down and from side to side, removing any dentures, running his hands through his hair, allowing his ears to be visually examined, lifting his arms to expose his arm pits, lifting his feet to examine the sole, spreading and/or lifting his testicles to expose the area behind them and bending over and/or spreading the cheeks of his buttocks to expose his anus. For females, the procedures are similar except females must in addition, squat to expose the vagina.
Justice Scalia voted to uphold the above police procedures as constitutional and consistent with the American criminal justice system. No beast would subject another beast to such an act of utter degradation. Yet, Scalia has no problem whatsoever imposing such demeaning procedures on human beings.
Words are one thing and bad and hurtful as they are, they are just words. But codifying into law the constitutionality of police cavity searches for every suspect in police custody, including folks who ended up in jail for minor traffic violations, is an unprecedented abuse of police powers.
Where was the US media when SCOTUS ruled that strip searching and cavity searching Americans in police custody was constitutional? Missing in action. There was no outrage over this horrendous SCOTUS decision.
Speaking of a routine traffic stop, that’s precisely what triggered the Florence v. County of Burlington strip search case that ended up at the Supreme Court.
In a devastating 5-4 ruling that not only condones an overreach of state power but legitimizes what is essentially state-sponsored humiliation and visual rape, the U.S. Supreme Court recently declared that any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband. The five-man majority rationalized their ruling as being necessary for safety, security and efficiency, the government’s overused and all-too-convenient justifications for its steady erosion of our freedoms since 9/11.
This ruling stems from the case of Albert Florence who was erroneously arrested for failing to pay a traffic fine and forced to submit to two egregious strip and visual body-cavity searches at two different county jails. Ironically enough, the supposed crime for which Albert Florence was arrested (having an unpaid traffic fine) is not a criminal offense in New Jersey, while being strip searched for something other than a crime is a criminal offense. Florence, an African-American man in his mid-thirties, was on his way to Sunday dinner in 2005 with his then-pregnant wife and 4-year-old son when they were stopped by a New Jersey State Police trooper. Florence’s wife was driving. However, after showing his ID, Florence found himself handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail. After spending six days in jail, Florence was finally able to prove his innocence.
Outraged, Florence sued the jail officials who had needlessly degraded his bodily integrity. A federal appeals court sanctioned the blanket strip search policy, which was then affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In a nutshell, what Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, concluded was that it is impractical—“unworkable” was the phrase used—to expect overworked jail officials to have to take the time to distinguish between harmless individuals guilty of nothing more than driving without a seatbelt and those who pose a true threat and may be reasonably suspected of carrying drugs or weapons.
There is something very evil and sinister about a nation that will sexualize tyranny and humiliation in the name of justice. Benjamin Franklin warned “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Franklin was right and he absolutely validates how sacrificing liberty for security ends just like Gibbons’ described the end of the Roman Empire. “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”.
I shudder with absolute horror at the thought that this is the future that Americans wants.
Justice Scalia has used his judicial power to demean the sanctity of the sovereign and free individual by nullifying their natural rights as well as their constitutional rights, constitutional rights that no longer exist according to Scalia. That Scalia has the blazing audacity to even invoke the term ‘bestiality’ in the context of GLBT relationships is beyond the realm of anything sane, moral and rational.