At the 2013 Utah State Bar Summer Convention in Snowmass Village, Colo., ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Holocaust was brought about, in part, by activist judges and that judges should not be policymakers.
Speaking to the group on Saturday, Scalia called himself an “originalist,” and that the U.S. Constitution is a “static document” that should be interpreted strictly.
He argued that elected officials should determine society’s views on moral issues such as abortion, capital punishment and gay sex between adults, rather than a court.
“Who in a democratic society should have the power to determine the government’s view of what natural law is?” the Aspen Times reports Scalia as saying. “In an open, democratic society, the people can debate these issues.”
Scalia also reiterated his stand against the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling on Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated all state laws against sodomy.
“I accept, for the sake of argument, that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged,” he said, drawing chuckles from the Utah attorneys. “Rather, I am questioning the propriety, indeed the sanity, of having a value-laden decision such as that made for the entire society by un-elected judges.”
Scalia opened his talk by referencing the Holocaust, sayint it occurred in a society that was, at the time, “the most advanced country in the world.” He said that a mistake Germany made in the 1930s was allowing judges to interpret the law in ways that reflected “the spirit of the age.” Scalia said that judges and courts should reject the role of moral arbiter.
An earlier speaker also noted Hitler’s role in the judicial system of Nazi Germany. Dr. William Meinecke, of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, noted that the Germany’s courts failed the country.
“When Hitler came to power, he promised to restore judges’ authority and shield them from criticism even as he curtailed their independence and instituted reeducation programs designed to indoctrinate jurists in the ideological goals of the party,” Meinecke wrote. “Then, step by step, and always under the guise of safeguarding the state, the Nazi leadership imposed legislation that fulfilled its ideological goals of rearmament, military expansion, and racial purification.”