Judge Scalia and the Problem with Government

Government always wants more power, and it is served by people who do not understand that danger. Judge Antonin Scalia, of the US Supreme Court recently said:

…Thursday in an interview conducted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg talked about their views of the First Amendment. Moderator Marvin Kalb questioned Scalia about whether the NSA wiretapping cloud be conceivably be in violation of the Constitution:
Justice Antonin Scalia said, “No because it’s not absolute. As Ruth has said there are very few freedoms that are absolute. I mean your person is protected by the Fourth Amendment but as I pointed out when you board a plane someone can pass his hands all over your body that’s a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against it’s not an unreasonable intrusion. And it can be the same thing with acquiring this data that is regarded as effects. That’s why I say its foolish to have us make the decision because I don’t know how serious the danger is in this NSA stuff, I really don’t.”


I find his opinion, especially as a “supreme, final arbiter” of the US Constitution, to be ridiculously dangerous.  Moreover, I think by now he should already recognize that danger.  It is an unreasonable intrusion for government to run its hands on me without probable cause. The problem with airline crime can be solved by private means that do not eviscerate the Constitution. Not reining in the NSA is a clear invitation to a police state. Scalia, who I one time thought was a responsible justice, makes it clear that he thinks there are no limits to government power. The individual takes a back seat in his world to the desires of government. His way always leads to privilege, corruption, injustice, lack of public trust and ultimately violence when people feel the effects, personal and economic, of losing their liberty.

I thought Judge Scalia went off the rails a few months ago when he said unfortunate happenings such as the government internment of Japanese US citizens in World War Two, without charge, would “probably” happen again. He said it almost like “Well, whatcha gonna do?” as if he was discussing the bad behavior of children. He should have stood up and said “As long as I’m alive I will fight crimes perpetrated on US citizens such as happened to the interned Japanese.” These matters are not merely intellectual exercises.  At Manzanar concentration camp, in California, in 1942 a group of young interned Japanese had had enough of their imprisonment in the desert, watching their lives and property being taken away by an omnipotent government. They thought they were citizens, like any other, who were incarcerated unjustly, and that there was no reason to hold them. They saw nothing but hardship for their families, economic ruin, and government theft. As good citizens, they marched against the camp gates. The US Army guards opened fire killing two of them and wounding eight more. There were no more uprisings at Manzanar. Nowadays, the whole country is becoming a Manzanar.

Scalia does not know that the purpose of government is to defend individual rights. Or it could be he knows, but does not care. Both are frightening in one so high.