Scalia: Wouldn't Surprise Me If Death Penalty Struck Down

Justice also talks retirement plans, how the Constitution isn't flexible
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2015 10:35 AM CDT
Scalia: Wouldn't Surprise Me If Death Penalty Struck Down
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of Minnesota's law school on Tuesday in Minneapolis.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The death penalty is not long for this Earth, or at least for the US, if Antonin Scalia's predictions are to be believed. The conservative Supreme Court justice spoke Tuesday at the University of Minnesota Law School, and capital punishment was brought up after Scalia started expounding on his views of how the Constitution is an inflexible, "enduring" document that shouldn't be widely interpreted. "It wouldn't surprise me if [the death penalty] did fall," Scalia said, which the AP reports drew "scattered applause" in the nearly full 2,700-seat auditorium. He went on to say that the court's rulings on the death penalty—complete with mitigating-circumstances mandates and new rules like not making capital punishment automatic for crimes including cop killing—had made it "practically impossible to impose it but we have not formally held it to be unconstitutional."

Which leads us back to that allegedly unmalleable Constitution: Scalia noted it shouldn't be adjusted to match "more enlightened views of the 21st century," notes. He added that if it were up to him, all justices would have a rubber stamp that reads "Stupid but Constitutional" for cases that broach subjects that may seem outdated but are nevertheless legal. He also calls jiggery-pokery on citizens who cherry-pick the parts of the Constitution they like but then say "'The things I don't like … were adopted by dead white males.' You gotta be consistent. If you believe what you say, you should lead a revolution." Per the AP, Scalia also touched upon his own retirement plans, or lack thereof, saying, "As soon as I think I'm getting lazier and I just can't do the job as well, I'm going to get off there. I want to preserve whatever reputation I have." He also said he has no urge to claim the title of Dissent King—he says he ranks third in dissents among the current justices and doesn't want to rise any further. (Get your very own customized Antonin Scalia insult.)

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