Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently spoke at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) law school. During his speech, he said that the federal Constitution is “not a living document: It’s dead, dead, dead.”
That statement stirred some controversy. I’ve received several email from readers who cite Scalia’s comments as proof that “even the Supreme Court now admits that the Constitution is dead and of no force or effect!“
These readers don’t understand that Scalia is exactly right. It’s unfortunate that the debate over the reading of the Constitution has fallen into a “living Constitution” vs. “dead Constitution” dichotomy. It’s hard to fight for a “dead Constitution”. But that’s the fight we should wage.
Those who argue that the Constitution is a “living” document, argue that the meaning of the Constitution changes or evolves with time and context. The people who favor the “living Constitution” concept are those who want rule by man (themselves) rather than rule by law (the Constitution). Under the pretext that the Constitution is a “living” document, the Constitution can mean anything anyone in a position of power says it means at any time. It can mean one thing today, another thing tomorrow and a third thing next week.
The meaning and effect of various sections of the Constitution can be lawfully changed–but only by means of the amendment process found at Article V. I.e., if 2/3rds of both Houses of the Congress deem it necessary, they can propose a new amendment to ratified by either 3/4ths of the State legislature or 3/4ths of State conventions of the people. These requirements make it very difficult to amend the Constitution.
Those liberals and treasonous whores who want more power and find the Constitution to be an impediment to their ambitions (exactly what the Constitution was intended to be), know that the Amendment process is too difficult to achieve. They can’t easily change and amend the actual words of the Constitution.
Therefore, they seek to violate the terms of the Constitution by unilaterally changing the meanings and definitions of the words of the Constitution without input from the State legislatures or the People. The words remain as originally written but new definitions are ascribed to the original words. Such unilateral and unconstitutional attempts to change or deny the original meaning of the Constitution are acts of treason. The proponents of such acts have tried to disguise their treason with the claim that the Constitution is “living” document subject to continuous reinterpretation and redefinition by those in positions of power.
Scalia, on the other hand, is an outspoken conservative and a self-described “textualist” who believes the exact text and words of the Constitution should be interpreted by their literal and original meanings. In other words, Scalia correctly believes that the meaning of the words of the Constitution must mean exactly the same thing today as they did when the document was first ratified in A.D. 1788 (except, of course, for whatever Amendments have since been lawfully added).
In Scalia’s view the Constitution is “dead, dead, dead” in the sense that it’s meaning is fixed, fixed, fixed. The Constitution is “dead” in the sense that the meaning of the Constitution is not lawfully subject to continuous meddling and reinterpretation by those who advocate the “living Constitution”. Scalia insists that the Constitution is “dead, dead,dead” in order to prevent liberals and treasonous whores from arbitrarily changing the meanings and definitions of the words in the Constitution.
It’s unfortunate that the liberals favoring continuous reinterpretation of the Constitution were clever enough to frame their argument under the guise that they favor the “living Constitution” (that they can reinterpret and amend at will) while the conservatives were left to argue that the Constitution is “dead, dead, dead“. Everyone automatically favors the idea that the Constitution is “living”. Everyone automatically disfavors the idea that the Constitution is “dead”.
But, regardless of how the argument was framed, if you believe the meaning of the Constitution is and must remain fixed, then you’re obligated to support the idea that the Constitution is “dead, dead, dead” = “fixed, fixed, fixed“.
Therefore, those of you who are troubled by Scallia’s statement can relax. Insofar Supreme Court Justices go, Scalia’s one of the good ones.