MSNBC reports that Justice Scalia is touring the country promoting himself and his “dead constitution” jurisprudence:
Executing someone under 18 was not unconstitutional in 1791, so it is not unconstitutional today. Now, it may be very stupid, it may be a very bad idea, just as notching ears, which was a punishment in 1791, is a very bad idea.
Among those rolling in their graves over Scalia’s insistence on originalism must be Frederick Douglass, who declared in a speech in Glasgow in 1860:
…the intentions of those who framed the Constitution, be they good or bad, for slavery or against slavery, are to be respected so far, and so far only, as will find those intentions plainly stated in the Constitution. It would be the wildest of absurdities, and lead to endless confusion and mischiefs, if, instead of looking to the written paper itself for its meaning, it were attempted to make us search it out, in the secret motives, and dishonest intentions, of some of the men who took part in writing it. It was what they said that was adopted by the people, not what they were ashamed or afraid to say, and really omitted to say.