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« Airport Screenings: Annoying, Invasive and Apparently Useless The RantsBoxjam Explains It All For You »

Scalia Doesn't Deny Sodomizing His Wife
2005.04.16 (Sat) 01:07

As reported throughout the blogosphere — by many of our Usual Suspects — Justice Antonin Scalia was shocked — shocked! — by the effrontery of one student's question. Scalia is a big fan of allowing government to regulate private, consensual acts between competent adults. As reported in The New York Post:

"The room was packed with some 300 students and there were many protesters outside because of Scalia's vitriolic dissent last year in the case that overturned the Texas law against gay sex," our source reports. "One gay student asked whether government had any business enacting and enforcing laws against consensual sodomy. Following Scalia's answer, the student asked a follow-up: 'Do you sodomize your wife?' The audience was shocked, especially since Mrs. Scalia [Maureen] was in attendance. The justice replied that the question was unworthy of an answer."

Timothy Sandefur on Freespace has some good stuff to say on the subject, including a follow-up to his first post. As Sandefur says:

But the question itself is a pertinent and legitimate question. Justice Scalia's repeated derision of the right to privacy, in Lawrence as in other cases, rests on his belief that the government has the legitimate authority to control private, adult, consensual sexual activity. That belief, in turn, is based on the idea that such private conduct has attenuated negative moral effects on "society at large." Why can we not investigate the effects of Scalia's private conduct?


It has been rightly said that the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to remove some things entirely from political discussion. Justice Scalia believes that private, adult, consensual sexual activity is not among those things. Therefore, it is entirely legitimate for a citizen to demand to know what Justice Scalia does in private.

Quite right. Ed Brayton, on Dispatches from the Culture Wars, spells it out:

If the social conservatives like Scalia are going to argue so stridently for the right of the government to peek into other people's bedrooms and demand the authority to regulate what others do there, then they of course also grant to government the authority to regulate what they do as well.

Of course, this plays right into the true meat of Scalia's reaction — a reaction we expect of most (if not all) of the high mucky-mucks who are running this country into the ground. The fact is, these people apparently think they're above the law. It doesn't even seem to occur to someone like Scalia that granting the government certain regulatory and investigatory powers over citizens would have any effect on him — he's not a citizen, he's a Supreme Court Justice!

Over on Thoughts from Kansas, Josh Rosenau sees this for what it is:

If Justice Scalia does not feel that the question is worth answering on privacy grounds, that means he is demanding a level of privacy he does not accord other citizens.
[our emphasis]

Exactly, Josh — you nailed it. Scalia couldn't care less about our rights, we're just measly citizens. Heck, we don't even get to vote on his appointment to or removal from his office.

Scalia's dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas makes his position very clear. Bluntly: no butt sex, no way, no how, no time. Of course, he also delivers the following curious statements:

On its face §21.06(a) applies equally to all persons. Men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, are all subject to its prohibition of deviate sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex. To be sure, §21.06 does distinguish between the sexes insofar as concerns the partner with whom the sexual acts are performed: men can violate the law only with other men, and women only with other women. But this cannot itself be a denial of equal protection, since it is precisely the same distinction regarding partner that is drawn in state laws prohibiting marriage with someone of the same sex while permitting marriage with someone of the opposite sex.
[our emphasis]

Antonin, once again you're missing the boat. Putting aside, for now, the fact that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are also outrageously unconstitutional, can Scalia really be completely unaware of the unequal treatment being applied here?

According to Scalia, there's no harm because any man, straight or gay, has permission to have sex with a woman, and any woman, straight or gay, has permission to have sex with a man. Since everybody's allowed to have sex with someone of the opposite gender, all's well in Scalia's narrow little view of the world. What he can't seem to grasp is that, under these conditions, straight people can have sex with individuals who fucking turn them on, whereas gay people can only have sex with those to whom they are not attracted. How the hell is this "equal" protection? How much more obvious could this be?

Of course, Scalia doesn't give a crap, because he's not gay (right?). So who cares if gays don't get the same rights that heterosexuals do?

The student who questioned Scalia was, reportedly, a gay male. He was making a very good point: Scalia thinks the government should have control over citizens' private lives, but — judging by his reaction to the follow-up question — doesn't think his private life should be held up to scrutiny. Josh Rosenau points out the dissonance:

He compares regulation of sexual behavior between consenting adults to regulation of drugs, prostitution, or the work week. Would he assert that a question about his working hours is "unworthy of an answer"? Would a question about his use of drugs be brushed aside? What if he was asked about his or his wife's participation in prostitution? I imagine that after an angry retort about the propriety of asking the question, he'd flatly deny it.

But when asked about his private sexual activity, he felt that the question was inappropriate, like a question about heroin use, but he didn't feel like it even deserved an answer. That's significant.

Absolutely significant. And damning. Scalia — and all you far right fanatics — wake the fuck up and get out of our private lives.

In the dissent for Lawrence v. Texas, we see the following statement from Scalia:

The key qualifier here is "acting in private"—since the Court admits that sodomy laws were enforced against consenting adults. I do not know what "acting in private" means; surely consensual sodomy, like heterosexual intercourse, is rarely performed on stage.
[our emphasis]

Hey, Antonin. You know how you were offended and you didn't think that question was worthy of an answer? You know why? Because when you are in bed with your wife, you are "acting in private," and no one else has a right to know what it is that you do. Whether it employs motor oil and jumper cables, or if it's missionary with the lights out, it's no one else's business. Brush aside all of your rhetoric and political bullshit, and it's pretty clear from your answer that you sure as Hell do know what "acting in private" means — or at least, you know it when you do it.

— • —
[  Filed under: % Civil Liberties  % Government & Politics  ]

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