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Justice Antonin Scalia Questions Logic Behind Gay Rights Protections

The New York Times logo The New York Times 11/17/2015 By ADAM LIPTAK
Justice Antonin Scalia waits during an introduction before speaking at the University of Minnesota in October. © Jim Mone/Associated Press Justice Antonin Scalia waits during an introduction before speaking at the University of Minnesota in October.

The Supreme Court’s decisions protecting gay rights were not rooted in the Constitution, and their logic could as easily apply to child molesters, Justice Antonin Scalia told a room filled with first-year law students at Georgetown University on Monday.

“What minorities deserve protection?” he asked. “What? It’s up to me to identify deserving minorities?”

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He said those decisions should generally be made by the democratic process rather than by judges.

He also allowed that the First Amendment protects political and religious minorities but suggested that there was no principled way for courts to make further distinctions based on the text of the Constitution. “What about pederasts?” he asked. “What about child abusers?”

“This is a deserving minority,” he said sarcastically. “Nobody loves them.”

He said he took special pride in his dissents, aiming them at law students.

“I write the dissents for you guys,” he said, to appreciative laughter. “I write my dissents and try to make them not only clear but interesting and even fun.”

Justice Scalia expressed frustration with how little debate goes on when the justices meet in private to discuss and vote on cases.

“I thrash out the cases with my law clerks much more than with my colleagues,” he said.

“They write the first drafts of my opinions,” Justice Scalia said of his clerks, “but I tell them how it comes out.”

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