March 26, 2013
Today all eyes were on the Supreme Court as it heard the first day of oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in the state back in 2008. Even more than electing Arnold to a second term, Prop 8 is a blemish on California’s progressive political history, and seeing it overturned is high on my SCOTUS wish list this year. Opinion is divided on whether the Court has the will to provide the broad ruling marriage equality supporters hope for—one that would strike down not only Prop 8, but gay marriage prohibitions in all states. The second-guessing and prognosticating will no doubt continue apace, and in the end many Court watchers will be proven wrong. But there’s one thing I feel I can predict with 100% certainty: whatever the outcome, Justice Antonin Scalia will come down on the wrong side of history, and he will act like a huge asshole while doing it. It’s just how he rolls.
You see, Justice Scalia is a jerk, and I use that word advisedly: he is a person for whom being unpleasant is an end in itself. He thinks it’s fun! Whether it’s reviling undocumented immigrants or heaping contempt on the Voting Rights Act, it doesn’t really matter if the way in which he’s being a jerk is relevant to the case he’s adjudicating, or is even constitutional; if Scalia spies an opportunity to compare homosexuals to murderers then by God, he’s going to take it, and the Founding Fathers be damned.
In addition to being a jerk or perhaps as a corollary to it, Justice Scalia is also a shameless corporate whore, the likes of which the SCOTUS has never seen. Indeed, he behaves so badly, lolling about at Koch brothers luaus like some brazen, bespectacled concubine, that he’s left his fellow Justices with no way to properly reprimand him that conforms to the Court’s strict standards of etiquette. They’re not supposed to talk about their colleagues or Court business in public, and they’re definitely not allowed to call each other whores, so Justice Ginsberg has to settle for giving him the side-eye in chambers, and maybe sometimes coughing loudly while he’s questioning lawyers. Yes, Antonin Scalia is a world-class jerk and he’s got that job for life, and there’s not a damned thing poor Ruth, let alone any of us, can do about it.
So what have we learned, at the end of the first day of these historic proceedings? We’ve learned that the Prop 8 defense could maybe have been a teensy bit better prepared, considering that they’ve have five whole years to come up with ideas about how the gays will murder us all with their terrifying nuptials, and we’ve learned that marriage equality opponents apparently spend a great deal of time thinking about sex. And I also hope, dear readers, that we have at last definitively settled the matter of whether Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a jerk, because he totally is. If I’ve managed to convince just one of you of that fact, I’ll consider this day well spent.