By Sandy Fitzgerald. June 23, 2013.
Judges should stop setting moral standards concerning homosexuality and other issues, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who believes constitutional law is being threatened by a growing belief in the “judge moralist.”
The conservative jurist, speaking at a meeting of the North Carolina Bar Association on Friday, just days before the Supreme Court is to hand down its decisions on California’s Proposition 8 this coming week, told attorneys that judges are being bestowed with expertise to determine right vs. wrong on moral issues, The Charlotte Observer reports.
As moralists, judges are tasked with determining matters such as abortion, doctor-assisted suicide and same-sex marriage.
But Scalia said the courts have no “scientifically demonstrable right answer,” and that it’s the community’s job to determine what it finds morally acceptable, not courts.
Scalia admitted his opinion isn’t shared, as many legal scholars and judges believe in a “living Constitution” that reflects “evolving standards of decency.”
The justice said he knows the Constitution must change and evolve as times change, but he thinks it should remain connected with its founding principles, and moral issues don’t qualify as new issues.
Scalia could not speak specifically about the case coming up in his court this week, but said homosexuality and same-sex marriage should be issues for the public to decide on, not justices like him.
“When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?” he asked, echoing a statement he made in March about the issue.
In past speeches, Scalia, also said the issue was a moral one that should be decided by Americans, who have the right to enforce moral restrictions “to protect themselves from a lifestyle they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
Scalia’s words also echoed a poll earlier this month shows that many Americans agree that states, not the federal government, should decide whether same-sex marriage should be legal, even though most support marriage equality for gay people.