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 | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Sweetie

    False.

    There are two kinds of intelligence: crystallized and fluid. Fluid intelligence tends to decline and crystallized goes up. Crystallized is commonly known as wisdom: the ability to see the big picture and draw on a deep body of knowledge. This is why, for instance, teenagers think they know everything and mature adults do not.

  • Sweetie

    “‘This court has never held,’ Scalia wrote, ‘that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.’”

    In other words, he thinks it’s just fine to kill innocent people. Sociopathic.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Sandy Unplugged, the post-retirement years are especially excellent! I loved her joke about the Republican primaries having a man who has been married three times…and he wasn’t even the Mormon! (or something like that)

  • Skeptical Cicada

    But he’s also one of only nine judges in the county who can flout the judicial canons of ethics with impunity–and does so. That should be changed. If the Court doesn’t have the gumption to adopt the canons for itself, Congress should impose them by law.

    I agree with you on appointment and confirmation. I recall progressive groups begging Democratic Senators to oppose Clarence Thomas on the basis of his ideological extremism. That failed to move very many Senators. They treated the advice and consent role as almost meaningless absent a corruption scandal. Anyone should have been able to look at the Court in 1991 and say he would push it too far to the right of where the public was.

  • http://bit.ly/SYj39M << Work at home, $15/h, link

    Religion is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions.

  • Rich

    I don’t know. Same reasoning shold have applied to John Paul Stevens I guess?

  • Don Chandler

    As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
    I’ve got a little list, I’ve got a little list
    Of society offenders who might well be underground,
    And who never would be missed, they never would be missed!
    There’s interior designers, window dressers and that sort
    Bank robbers who retire to Spain the minute they get caught
    Or those who have their noses pierced or men who die their hair
    Or idiots who host chat shows and disc jockeys everywhere
    And customs men who fumbling through your underwear insist
    They’d none of them be missed, They’d none of them be missed!

  • Magnus Haraldsson

    Mental ability also declines with age. Reality, it’s a bummer but there it is.

  • Don Chandler

    Asked by a lawyer at an informal gathering if she thought it was helpful when Supreme Court justices write books about their judicial philosophies, she had a simple answer: “No.” –some interview on the net….found at sfgate.

    I grew to like Justice O’Connor. And the older she gets, the more I liked her. Some folks just get better.

    The worst problem with older folk is when they have an agenda or a judicial philosophy that enhances an already stubborn demeanor–I cannot imagine living my life according to Catholic Law. It’s irrational to me. For Judge Scalia, Catholicism works. For me, it kills. I recently ran into a comment that stated something like, “Murder, Theft and sexual sin (all stripes) are an abomination.” Naturally, it was a catholic yammering on. It’s OLD thinking. If a judge wants to apply this kind of morality on a modern society, the judge needs to think about the consequences. The effects of repression on a modern society. Judge Scalia doesn’t do this. The Catholic Church doesn’t do this. And it shouldn’t be surprising that they are, even Today, a major source of human suffering.

    Here we are, in the internet age, and wiki says, “The Catholic Church teaches that “Masturbation constitutes a grave moral disorder”” But the reality is we are surrounded by sexual imagery in highway ads, television, holywood and the internet is innudated with sex. Masturbation is a relief from it all–and harmless. Suppressing sexual desire it is deadly and problematic to society. But Scalia wants to use ancient law to regulate modern times. It’s not politic to use an ageist argument, but it’s effective and prudent in the case of Scalia. I hope the other Catholic justices can be more circumspect.

    What are the problems with the statement, “Murder, Theft and sexual sin (all stripes) are an abomination.” Well, lumping all sexual sin together is losing legal and moral proportionality. No wonder the catholic church spawns so much trouble. Then somehow putting masturbation in the same sentence as murder…geesh, I’m suddenly feeling a bit guilty. And all this has something to do with going to heaven…the church teachings must suffer from lack of all proportion. But hey, they say the church is a hundred years behind the times, Scalia would apply 6000 year old notions in a modern context. Now that is Fucking Old.

  • Naja pallida

    Do you have any faith, that come 2016, the Supreme Court will not be further polarized than it already is? I know I don’t. Mainly because the Senate is fundamentally broken, and anyone actually qualified for an appointment, and might be a fair jurist gets demonized. One side steadily demands the appointment of partisan hacks, and the other side will only ever appoint someone just moderate enough to be palatable to their own conservative/corporate wing. The process of vetting appointments is a sad joke and should be offensive to the American people, but for some reason we just keep letting it happen. The same terrible vetting process also hurts non-lifetime appointments, like cabinet positions.

    You are right, it is the process, not the person… but there should be some kind of feasible back up plan should the person turn out to be inappropriate for the job even if well vetted. Having to rouse both Houses of Congress to impeach a sitting Justice is all but impossible. Even one who has clearly and plainly stated he has no interest at all in upholding the law nor pursuing justice, and whose written rulings all but state that the Constitution is nothing but an inconvenience to him. Only his personal partisan, corporate bought, and bigoted viewpoints matter. This Justice doesn’t even have to abide by the rules covering all other federal judges from lower courts. Nor does he ever have to recuse himself from cases he would have an obvious conflict of interest on. The system, as designed, was easily corrupted by human nature, and a lifetime appointment that he basically can never be removed from makes it especially damaging. One bad choice from the Senate introduces a malignancy to our highest court that we have no choice but to live with.

  • Hue-Man

    Canadian Supreme Court Justices, Federal Judges, and Senators all face mandatory retirement at age 75. My own view is that a physically or mentally unwell person – regardless of age – should not be taking part in decisions of national importance if their illness affects their ability to understand the law, the evidence, the arguments, and the positions of their fellow justices. Argue about the right age but mandatory retirement age does avoid the similar problem of telling someone who’s been driving for 70 years they are now a mortal danger on the highway…

    BTW, stumbled across a detailed 2012 publication from the Alzheimer’s Association with (scary) information about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. http://www.alz.org/downloads/facts_figures_2012.pdf

  • Sweetie

    Ageism again. Shocking.

    This isn’t about physical ability, which both of your examples involves heavily.

    Try again.

  • dcinsider

    As one who holds a lifetime appointment, let me speak on our behalf.

    Scalia gets to be who he is because he has a lifetime appointment. We disagree with him, vehemently at times, but he represents a portion of America, albeit shrinking. He says what he believes and doesn’t shrink from controversy. While I feel he is less than judicious with his comments, I rather appreciate that he can say it without fear of retribution. I think his decision to speak so openly about his own bigotry is a bad one as a judge, but he is nothing iof not consistent in his bigotry, and will be to the day they carry him our of SCOTUS in a pine box.

    The problem with Scalia isn’t Scalia, its the process that allows this blowhard and intellectual phony to get the job in the first place. Lifetime seniority is not the issue, its the failure of the members of the Senate to properly vet this guy before they approved him. Extremism on the Supreme Court is as unwelcome as it is in the legislature, but one should not blame the snake if one gets bit.

    The process of Senate advice and consent must be more extensive and unforgiving. Clarence Thomas was permitted to sit on SCOTUS even though everyone knew he was a dirtball, and of limited intellectual ability. Nominees must be defeated.

    Elections truly have consequences, and that was why the re-election of the President was so critical. Not because of the fiscal cliff, but because he will name likely 3 additional justices by 2016.

  • Butch1

    I doubt if he knows what his wife’s “woo-woo” looks like. Goodness knows he hasn’t seen his own member for decades without the aid of a mirror. Chances are sodomy only happens in his mind.

  • Stev84

    The average life expectancy was maybe 50 years. That’s because the infant mortality was extremely high. It doesn’t mean people dropped dead at 50. It wasn’t that uncommon for people to become 70 or even older if they could avoid the rampant wars, diseases and other dangers. Especially for the upper class that constituted politicians and judges.

  • Magnus Haraldsson

    For the same reason that nobody wants a centenarian driving a school bus down the highway or performing surgery.

  • samiinh

    At the end of the 18th Century when the Constitution was written, the age span of the average white male was less than 50 years. A life-time appointment, therefore, was possibly much shorter than such an appointment today. Perhaps an age limit, say 70 years, would make more sense in the 21st Century for a life-time appointment.

  • Sweetie

    Why do term limits always come up in discussions about old politicians (judges being part of that category, in my view)?

  • Sweetie

    The basic arguments being made are ageist. Mental competence can be an issue for someone, regardless of their age.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    the barf bag! quick!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s very nice and all, but remember Rehnquist? He spent the last few years on the bench addled and addicted to pain killers. It’s not about ageism but mental fitness. Dementia and Alzheimers don’t trend well on lifetime SCOTUS appointments .

  • http://twitter.com/JafafaHots Jafafa Hots

    Why is being for term limits ageism?

  • Naja pallida

    The process of impeaching a sitting Justice is almost as difficult as impeaching a sitting President. I can’t imagine it ever happening under a modern system, even given the most drastic of circumstances. It doesn’t matter if he is a liar, crook and obviously entirely bought by special interests. He could rape a puppy on the steps of the Justice Building and Republicans in Congress would still vote to keep him on the Court.

  • benb

    Clarence Thomas checked ‘none’ on spousal noninvestment income for 5 years (she earned $700K) on his financial disclosure forms and he’s *still* on the SCOTUS. Gives me the creepy feeling that the other justices have to lock their desks before they go home…

  • Sweetie

    Ageism is stupid. I expect more from the people who frequent this site.

    I’ll take Justice Stevens over Justice Alito any day.

  • Sweetie

    Ageism is wrong. The fact is that there were sensible non-bigoted people around long before Scalia was born.

    Are we going to dismiss the research of Dr. Hooker because she was born in 1907?

    What a ludicrous idea.

  • Naja pallida

    Let’s be real here… Republicans have been making utterly absurd comparisons to pretty much anything they deem left-wing for years. Comparatively, Scalia’s behavior isn’t really all that erratic, it’s just matching his pathetically absurd partisan cohorts blow for blow. He’s just embedded firmly in the bubble, with no concept that there is anything called ‘reality’. Not unlike Michele Bachmann… Louie Gohmert… et al.

  • http://twitter.com/gadflyonthewall Peter Williams

    Our Great Mikado, virtuous man,
    When he to rule our land began
    Resolved to find a plan whereby
    Young men might best be steadied
    So he decreed in words succinct
    That all who flirted, leered or winked
    (Unless conubially linked)
    Forthwith should be beheaded!

  • Skeptical Cicada

    lol. sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/damiano.iocovozzi Damiano Iocovozzi

    Good points. I think what we’re seeing as far as gay rights are concerned are the sociological changes that take place as generations take their place in history and a younger generation takes its place. Scalia is a vestige of a generation that is unlike our younger generations. Those young people 18-45 years old are very different from their grandparents as demonstrated by polls at election time. The young seem more baffled by divisions regarding ethnicity, color, gender or sexual orientation. I think that as the older generation dies off, a new vision will take hold: a more inclusive, peaceful, enlightened world view. I’m very hopeful that the younger generations will bring us community, secularism & tolerance.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Mostly agree, but 20 years is still too long.

  • MyrddinWilt

    How about a constitutional amendment limiting justices to 20 years on the court?

    If term limits are valid for Presidents, why not have them for SCOTUS justices? They would have a single non-renewable 20 year term.

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    Anti-gay folks love sodomy, as long as it occurs between people with their preferred configuration of genitalia: multiple women.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    A better question would be whether Scalia has worn out his wife with all the children she’s born!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I think that Scalia’s increasingly erratic and irrational behavior over the last several years raises valid questions about his mental fitness to remain on the bench.

    There are plenty of people who remain psychologically spry and rational right up until they die in their 80s or 90s. And then there’s men like Antonin Scalia who just equated homosexuality with murder and said the government is in danger of losing the ability to outlaw masturbation — and we’re merely outraged at the content of the remarks and not at all concerned what this says about the mental state of the man, serving on the highest court in America, who just said them?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I think I just threw up a little.

  • colleen2

    I hope you’re correct. Scalia is also angry, spiteful and insulting in victory

  • A reader in Colorado

    With emphasis on the ‘absurd’.

  • nicho

    I think we have definitive proof that life-time appointments to the
    Supreme Court, and being completely unaccountable to anyone, is and has
    always been a terrible idea.

    No, I think it was a good idea when first devised. Those were days when you were dealing with men of integrity who had the best interests of the country and the people at heart. The idea was that the justices could make ruling without having to worry about keeping their jobs. But the Founders were idealists and they had utopian concepts.

    The whole thing went off the rails when presidents started appointing justices not because they were eminent jurists and people of integrity, but because they met certain litmus tests and could be counted on to rule certain ways on certain issues. It’s all part and parcel of the corporatist corruption of US society.

    Perfect example of how the system is corrupted was Thomas. He is a third-rate lawyer with personal problems. The only reason he was appointed was because he was replacing Thurgood Marshall on the so-called “black seat” on the court. Poppy Bush said, in effect, “You want a black justice, then here, take this douchebag.” It was all done simply to make liberals attack a black guy.

    Just a totally cynical move — like so many other cynical moves from Bush I. There have been so many bad GOP presidents in the last 50 years that Bush I gets lost in the crowd, but he was a truly despicable person — and a bad president.

  • Jim Olson

    Eww. Just eew.

  • Don Chandler

    Sounds like a job for getequal–a thankless job! nn to answer, scalia, if we can’t question your bedroom life, how will we be able to ask moral questions about bestiality and murder?

    afterall… It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd’.

  • FLL

    Scalia’s recent bigoted outburst at Princeton amounts to a public temper tantrum, and I think that’s a very good sign for how things will pan out in June. The Supreme Court could overturn Prop 8 based on its merits, overturn it based on a technicality (such as standing) or uphold Prop 8. The only thing that would satisfy Scalia is upholding Prop 8, and the ugly rant at Princeton is a big tell: he knows that he’s not going to get the one result he wants. Otherwise, why would he be having public temper tantrums? He’s just being angry, insulting and spiteful in defeat.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    One suspects it isn’t his wife that he’s sodomizing–or being sodomized by.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Of course, if Scalia were to answer that question, he would say “that’s private”.

    But, in Scalia’s view, there is no right to privacy to be found implied in the U.S. Constitution. He doesn’t believe in privacy from the government. So, I think the government should find out one way or another,since there is no right of privacy.

  • Naja pallida

    Scalia isn’t too old for the job. He’s just too bigoted for it. Between Scalia and Thomas, I think we have definitive proof that life-time appointments to the Supreme Court, and being completely unaccountable to anyone, is and has always been a terrible idea. Absolute power corrupts absolutely… and when you put someone who was absolutely corrupted to begin with in to such a position, what can you possibly expect to get out of it?

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