Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Scalia on the "Living Constitution"

From the transcript of a recent speech by Scalia:
What are the arguments usually made in favor of the Living Constitution? As the name of it suggests, it is a very attractive philosophy, and it's hard to talk people out of it: the notion that the Constitution grows. The major argument is the Constitution is a living organism, it has to grow with the society that it governs or it will become brittle and snap.

This is the equivalent of an anthropomorphism equivalent to what you hear from your stock broker, when he tells you that the stock market is resting for an assault on the eleven-hundred level. The stock market panting at some base camp. The stock market is not a mountain climber and the Constitution is not a living organism for Pete's sake, it's a legal document, and like all legal documents, it says some things, and it doesn't say other things.
Reminds me of what Clarence Thomas said in 2000 in a question-and-answer session after a speech in Oklahoma City:
One unnamed state politician asked, "Isn't the Constitution a living, changing document?"

Thomas answered: "His may be living and breathing, but mine's inanimate."

2 Comments:

Blogger Joseph said...

If we think of the government as a ferocious monster, I prefer my monsters to be dead.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Strange Doctrines said...

You might take a gander at my post "Living Constitutionalism for the Formalist."

1:07 PM  

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