Scalia knows his job

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on October 22, 2006

Unfortunately, too many of Justice Antonin Scalia's colleagues on the high court don't want their own jobs, they want the legislators' and the president's job -- without the accountability.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Deeply controversial issues like abortion and suicide rights have nothing to do with the Constitution, and unelected judges too often choose to find new rights at the expense of the democratic process, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Saturday.

Scalia, during a talk on the judiciary sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation, dismissed the idea of judicial independence as an absolute virtue. He noted that dozens of states, since the mid-1800s, have chosen to let citizens elect their judges.

"You talk about independence as though it is unquestionably and unqualifiably a good thing," Scalia said. "It may not be. It depends on what your courts are doing."

Scalia added, "The more your courts become policy-makers, the less sense it makes to have them entirely independent."

Scalia, a leading conservative voice after 20 years on the court, said people naturally get upset with the growing number of cases in which a federal court intrudes on social issues better handled by the political process.

"Take the abortion issue," he said. "Whichever side wins, in the courts, the other side feels cheated. I mean, you know, there's something to be said for both sides."

Too bad we can't clone him.

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