February 13th, 2016| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, died yesterday, after almost three decades on the U.S. Supreme Court. An outsize personality with a trenchant wit, and a passion for the Constitution and its “original” interpretation, he was an intellectual leader both within the Court and without.

Declared Chief Justice Roberts:

He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”

As regards his legal philosophy, he was proud to call himself an originalist, one who sought to interpret the constitution in the way it was intended by those who drafted and ratified that document. He claimed:

I am a textualist. I am an originalist. I am not a nut.”

We Christians should echo that. As far as the Bible is concerned, “we are textualists, originalists, … and not nuts!”

The sum of Thy word is truth,
And every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.
Psalm 119:160

Because it is the word of God, absolutely essential for living a life pleasing to God.

How sweet are Thy words to my taste!
Than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103

In 1993, there was a case that reached the Supreme Court regarding a man who swapped his automatic rifle for cocaine. Six of the justices on the Court said this constituted “use” of the weapon during a crime, for which a longer prison term would have to be imposed, based on a law Congress had passed against those who “use” a firearm “during and in relation” to a drug crime.

Scalia wrote, in an acid dissent:

When someone asks, ‘Do you use a cane?’ he is not inquiring whether you have your grandfather’s silver-handled walking stick on display in the hall; he wants to know whether you walk with a cane.”

This was a jurist who sought to understand what the authors were doing with what they were saying in the Constitution. As should we Christians, in the Bible.

Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.
Psalm 119:18

Scalia’s burden was, of course, that it should be the legislature that creates change in society, not the Constitution. In a “60 Minutes” interview in 2008, he noted:

Because values change, legislatures abolish the death penalty, permit same-sex marriage if they want, abolish laws against homosexual conduct. That’s how the change in a society occurs. Society doesn’t change through a Constitution.”

Christians, though, hold that it is the Spirit of God, the Author, working in the hearts of men and women, through the Scripture he authored, that change happens.

I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Thine ordinances before me.
Psalm 119:30

Scalia’s championing of originalism was not always one that pleased political conservatives, as one might suspect. Memorably, he voted in 1989 to strike down a law making it a crime to burn an American flag. He said his fidelity to the Constitution overrode his sympathies:

I don’t like scruffy, bearded, sandal-wearing people who go around burning the United States flag.”

But the text is the text ….

Forever, O LORD,
Thy word is settled in heaven.
Psalm 119:89

Explained Scalia to his “60 Minutes” interviewer:

It’s because I’m in love with the Constitution.”

Amen! Would that we children of God would be in love with Scripture, more and more.

O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:97

Scalia—may his tribe increase!

How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the LORD.
Psalm 119:1

Share Your Thoughts

Copyright © 2012 Homiletix  |  Blog theme by ThemeShift customized by Gurry Design  |  Full sitemap