My guest today is Mark Karlin, editor of BuzzFlash at TruthOut. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Mark.
JB: We spoke just a few weeks ago but there's plenty to talk about today. You wrote a piece called Scalia's Only "Originalism" Was in Cloaking Right Wing Extremism in Legal Jabberwocky [2.19.16]. You don't appear to be partaking in the current Scalia nostalgia wafting around our nation's capital. Why not?
MK: Supreme Court Justice Scalia wore a judicial cloak over his body when he was performing his official duties, and he wrapped himself at the same time in a cunningly crafted image of having a "brilliant" legal mind. Washington insiders and the mainstream media helped Scalia build his brand image of "originalism," which is a hokum right-wing manufactured concept propagated to justify extremist Supreme Court rulings.
As far as Scalia's personal ideology and beliefs - which he was quite frank and brash about stating when speaking publicly - he was a pre-Vatican Opus Dei Catholic and Koch Brothers style partisan Republican zealot. His legal opinions were based on his personal political and social outlooks, not the Constitution or legal precedent. In short, he was a guileful hypocrite.
Take his most infamous role in the theft of democracy: Bush v. Gore. Scalia accepted a filing from the 2000 Bush campaign to stop the Florida Supreme Court mandated recount in Florida that would have likely found Al Gore the winner of the state and the presidency. Then, Scalia issued a stay to halt the recount so the full Supreme Court could consider the Bush campaign's objections to the Florida recount court order.
In the end, as we all know, the 5-4 right-wing majority on the Supreme Court essentially nullified the votes of the majority of Americans (Gore won the national popular vote by more than 540,000 ballots cast) and installed George W. Bush in the White House.
Scalia shepherded the Bush coup through the Supreme Court. Beyond the issue of the theft of democracy, it was a betrayal of the "originalist" view that state's were responsible for overseeing voting as part of the state's rights credo of the Republican Party. Also, Scalia had on numerous occasions adopted the so-called originalist interpretation that voting issues were to be deferred to state legislatures and courts.
Furthermore, the majority five members of the Supreme Court ruled that the installation of Bush in the White House through the halt of the Florida recount was a one-time decision only and not a precedent. Say what?
The Bush anointment was pure Scalia, providing evidence that he was a partisan thug who wrapped himself in "originalist" jabberwocky while often violating the clear intent of the Constitution.
Basically, Scalia was sort of a Donald Trump in the disguise of being a former University of Chicago law professor who revered the Constitution, when he really didn't give a fig about it if it interfered with his personal ideology and worldview.
JB: I'd like to go back to something you said earlier. "he was a pre-Vatican Opus Dei Catholic and Koch Brothers style partisan Republican zealot." Many of us know who the Koch Brothers are but are not equally well-versed in Catholicism and could use a little help here.
MK: In December of 2013, I wrote a BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary, which addresses your question:
Antonin Scalia is rumored to belong to the secretive Catholic Opus Dei Society, which is said to number about 100,000 world wide. Its main tenets are that God is an authoritarian and, therefore, Opus Dei adherents support dictatorial societies; that women stand behind men in life; that mass should be in Latin; and that God created a natural order of life in which the rich are rich and the poor are poor -- and the divine order of inequality shouldn't be disrupted.
In fact Opus Dei, which is so covert that it won't even reveal its membership, has neither denied nor confirmed if Scalia belongs to the highly conservative theological church within a church.
Nevertheless, these and other beliefs of the renegade right wing Catholic cult are basic to Scalia's rulings on the Supreme Court.