Daily Beast to Scalia: “Do you sodomize your wife?”

The Daily Beast headline, under a big fat picture of conservative Republican Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, reads: “Do you sodomize your wife?”

And they say I’m mean.

In a time of increasingly tight revenues, I’m not going to fault the Daily Beast for coming up with a sensational (in both meanings of the word) headline (even if it is actually a quote from a law student who confronted Scalia in 2004).  Here’s today’s Daily Beast:

daily beast to scalia: Do you sodomize our wife?

Someone isn’t getting invited to Scalia’s poker games.

The Daily Beast’s headline, intentionally or not, recalls the old ACT-UP posters of the 1980s/90s targeting particular political leaders who were harming people with AIDS:

Source: Donald Moffett: He Kills Me, 1987, poster. From a touring art exhibit Act-Up New York.

Source: Donald Moffett: He Kills Me, 1987, poster. From a touring art exhibit Act-Up New York.

Paul Campos’ piece is not about Justice Scalia’s obvious anti-gay bias, and the fact that he recently equated being gay with murder.  (Though my favorite Scalia-ism is the time he lamented that pro-gay court decisions might make it no longer possible for the government to regulate masturbation.  And that’s what the underlying issue was with the law student questioning Scalia about sodomy – Scalia thinks sodomy should be banned, and frets that states might lose the right to ban masturbation, so does he ban them in his own household?) Rather, the piece is about the fact that the comment shows that Scalia is simply too old for the job:

Scalia’s real problem isn’t that he’s biased—as the exchange with Berndt revealed, it’s that he’s increasingly out of touch with the basic moral sentiments of the society over which he passes his increasingly cranky moral judgments. It’s obvious from polls (not to mention voting trends) that in another generation or so laws against same-sex marriage will be considered, by the vast majority of Americans, to be as bizarre and unjust as laws against, say, interracial marriage are considered today.

Consider that in 1958, when the Gallup Poll first asked the question, 4 percent of Americans approved of interracial marriage. Last year 86 percent did. Similarly, over the past 15 years the percentage of Americans who approve of same-sex marriage has nearly doubled, from 27 percent to 53 percent. Far more ominous for the foes of marriage equality, among adults under 30, its support stands at 73 percent.

In this light, Scalia’s tactless fulminations are, at bottom, a reminder of why life tenure for Supremes is a bad idea, the badness of which increases in direct proportion to our average life expectancy. Put another way, someone who was in law school at a time when 96 percent of the public disapproved of interracial marriage should be considered too old to sit on the Supreme Court.

There ought to be a statute of limitations on bigot.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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