Most young conservatives probably haven’t read a Supreme Court opinion recently (or ever). But among legal wonks and politicos Justice Antonin Scalia is known for his sharp wit and even sharper tongue in his Supreme Court writing.
His dissenting opinions in the Arizona immigration case and the Obamacare decision represented Scalia at his very best (or some would argue, very worst). Here are our top six lines Scalia delivered to hit his point home this week that even young people unfamiliar with the day to day of the court should appreciate:
1) “The Government complains that state officials might not heed ‘federal priorities.’ Indeed they might not, particularly if those priorities include willful blindness or deliberate inattention to the presence of removable aliens from Arizona.”
2) “Now, imagine a provision [in the Constitution] which included among the enumerated powers of Congress ‘To establish Limitations upon Immigration that will be exclusive and that will be enforced only to the extent the President deems appropriate.’ The delegates to the [Constitutional Convention] would have rushed to the exits.”
3) “We are not talking here about a federal law prohibiting the States from regulating bubble-gum advertising … We are talking about a federal (immigration) law going to the core of state sovereignty: the power to exclude.”
4) “For all these reasons, to say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it. Judicial tax-writing is particularly troubling. Taxes have never been popular, see, e.g., Stamp Act of 1765…”
5) “[The Constitution] enumerates not federally soluble problems, but federally available powers…Article I contains no whatever-it-takes-to-solve-a-national-problem power.”
6) “The Court’s [Obamacare] ruling undermines [the judicial values of caution, minimalism, and limited government] at every turn. In the name of restraint, it overreaches. In the name of constitutional avoidance, it creates new constitutional questions. In the name of cooperative federalism, it undermines state sovereignty.”