Right-Wing Hero Justice Scalia’s Tea Party Class Draws Criticism
January 24, 2011
(ChattahBox Politico News)—Today marks another step in the disturbing transformation of our once revered and independent U.S. Supreme Court into a extremist right-wing think tank. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a right-wing hero, who has called for the repeal of the 17th Amendment, will “teach” the House tea party caucus led by the unhinged Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) about his radical tenther views on the “separation of powers.” Scalia’s class, closed to the press and the public, will kick off a series of “conservative constitutional seminars” sponsored by Bachmann’s tea party group. The specter of a sitting member of our nation’s highest court “teaching” extremist Republican lawmakers on how to interpret the Constitution has drawn criticism, and rightly so. The New York Times editorial board slammed Scalia’s tea party class as a “bad idea” that could certainly “raise reasonable doubts” about Scalia’s impartiality and make him appear “rash and biased.”
Justice Scalia and Rep. Bachmann are a good fit. Bachmann, known for her deranged bomb-throwing right-wing rhetoric, once advocated a McCarthy-like witch hunt of the “anti-America” activities of some members of Congress. She also attacked President Obama as “anti-American.”
Scalia, who has attended ethically questionable conservative fundraising events, including one sponsored by the right-wing Koch brothers, has also said that the 14th Amendment does not protect women from gender discrimination. Scalia also argued in a recent dissenting opinion that the constitution doesn’t protect innocent prisoners from the death penalty.
Bachmann is thrilled to have Scalia instruct her tea party caucus on his extremism.
“It is a special privilege to have him address the first of what will be regular seminars featuring constitutional scholars,” she said when Scalia’s participation was announced late last year. “In his 24 years of service on the high court, Justice Scalia has distinguished himself by his ‘originalist’ approach to constitutional interpretation,” added Bachmann.
Many critics of Scalia’s decision to closely align himself with a partisan group from a separate branch of government, are concerned his extracurricular activities will further damage the already tainted independence of the conservative dominated U.S. Supreme Court.
Jonathan Turley, a respected professor of public interest law at George Washington Law School and frequent television contributor, condemned Scalia’s tea party class for politicizing our nation’s highest court. “At best, Scalia’s appearance can be viewed as a pep talk. At worst, it smacks of a political alliance,” said Turley.
Turley added that when Supreme Court justices engage in partisan activities, the citizenry will begin to question the legitimacy of the Court’s decisions.
“If justices merely carry the torch for their political allies, law becomes little more than a part of politics,” Turley said, adding Justices do not have a “base.” They must ask more of themselves by offering less to their respective constituencies.
Justice Scalia does not seem to care that he is damaging the very institution that he has served since 1986.
Photo Source: Wikimedia/Stephen Masker/Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia testifies before the House Judiciary Committee 2010/Creative Commons Attribution.