Scalia on equal protection and votes:
kashford at WCSR.COM
Wed Dec 13 16:12:25 PST 2000
I thought I'd throw this in the mix for y'all to chomp on. It's an excerpt from a speech by Scalia at Catholic Univ. on October 18, 1996 (full text at www.courttv.com/legaldocs/rights/scalia.html). To me, it is clear indication that at Scalia was half-heartedly (quarter-heartedly?) joining the PC opinion:
That they thought the way I think is demonstrated by the 19th amendment, adopted in 1920. That is the amendment which guaranteed women the right to vote. As you know, there was a national campaign of "suffragettes" to get this constitutional amendment adopted, a very big deal to get a constitutional amendment adopted. Why? Why did they go through all that trouble? If people then thought the way people think now, there would have been no need. There was an equal protection clause, right there in the Constitution in 1920. As an abstract matter, what in the world could be a greater denial of equal protection in a democracy than denial of the franchise. [sic] And so why didn't these people just come to the court and say, "This is a denial of equal protection"? Because they didn't think that way. Equal protection could mean that everybody has to have the vote. It could mean that. It could mean a lot of things in the abstract. It could meant that women must be sent into combat, for example. It could meant that have to have unisex toilets in public buildings. But does it mean those things? Of course it doesn't mean those things. It could have meant all those things. But it just never did. That was not its understood meaning. And since that was not its meaning in 1871, it's not its meaning today. The meaning doesn't change.
There have been a lot of reasons why you could deny the vote, not only on the basis of sex, but also on the basis of property ownership. On the basis of literacy. It was never regarded as a denial of equal protection. And since it never was, it isn't. That's how they thought. Now you know that that wouldn't happen today. You know that that issue today would be resolved in the Supreme Court. People would come to the court and would say, "The equal protection clause should mean this, and therefore it does meant that. Nevermind what it originally meant."
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