With the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Christians must understand that the 2016 presidential election is more significant now than ever. Justice Scalia represented a stalwart conservative, an outspoken voice on America’s most influential seat of power and his equal will be difficult to find. It is yet unknown whether President Obama will nominate a replacement, or if the process will be delayed until after the election. Either way, this is historically a critical moment. As we have seen from the Supreme Court’s ruling last year supporting gay marriage, the decisions made by this Court cut to the moral fiber of our nation and impact the freedoms of religious and individual liberty that we thought could never be taken away.
In 2004 he said these words which seem especially resonant given the situation we find ourselves in at this moment, “As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.”
A poll recently revealed that 32% of Americans had “never heard” of Scalia and another 12% had no opinion whatsoever about his performance (Gallop.com). Our country has lost interest in steering itself, we’ve handed the moral compass over to a small number of elitists who in exchange promise us “free” this and that, while they rewrite history and change our country into something most of us, if we were awake enough, barely recognize. But this exchange has been made so easy. No longer does the individual have to think about where morality or lack of it leads the nation. We have made the exchange, we have handed our minds and the minds of our children over to the creators of the latest electronic devices and reality TV. It tells us how to feel, how to think and how to be satisfied with inaction.
Scalia was a man willing to stand his ground, and he had the ability to make people like and respect him whether they agreed with him or not. Scalia was a Constitutional Originalist. And, while I greatly respect this position as a fellow student of the law, his originalist position spoke to me just as potently as a preacher as it so easily corresponds to the interpretation of the Bible.
“Our manner of interpreting the Constitution is to begin with the text, and to give that text the meaning that it bore when it was adopted by the people … This is such a minority position in modern academia and in modern legal circles that on occasion I’m asked when I’ve given a talk like this a question from the back of the room — ‘Justice Scalia, when did you first become an originalist?’ — as though it is some kind of weird affliction that seizes some people — ‘When did you first start eating human flesh?” (Scalia, 2015).