Justice Scalia by Public Domain, U.S. Government Photo
In Supreme Court oral arguments this week regarding the Voting Rights Act, Justice Scalia questioned whether the voting rights act might "perpetuate racial entitlement."
First, Scalia reveals a great deal about himself by confusing equal access to voting rights with racial entitlement.
Second, setting aside the dubiousness of his claim, whether a law creates a sense of entitlement is a legislative issue, not judicial. Then again, Scalia fancies himself a one man legislature.
Since when does the Supreme Court invalidate laws because they may or may not perpetuate a sense of entitlement?
Are child endangerment laws unconstitutional because they perpetuate children with a sense of entitlement to safety?
Are minimum wage laws unconstitutional because they perpetuate the laboring class's sense of entitlement to a minimum wage?
Or, taking the current example further, shall we strike all laws that prevent the government from discriminating against race because they perpetuate a racial sense of entitlement to equality before the law?
What Scalia thinks is a clever linguistic jab is actually not an argument against the Voting Rights Act, but instead a powerful argument in its favor! If you have a right, of course you should feel entitled to it!
As usual, when Scalia speaks, the world is worse for it.