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Letters: Inside the mind of Justice Scalia

December 16, 2012

Re "The 'animus' of Justice Scalia," Editorial, Dec. 13

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's argument is, as you say, "abstract and not terribly helpful," but it is anything but logical.

Scalia commits the fallacy of false analogy. In the case of murder, it is not mere disapproval that grounds the law; murder directly harms other individuals and society, so the state must use its power to protect its citizens. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are private, self-regarding behaviors that do not harm others in any material way. Hence, anti-gay laws rest on mere disapproval (animus), which cannot be a legitimate reason for intruding on individual liberty.

The irony of Scalia browbeating that law student for not appreciating his "logic" is almost too much to bear. It is not the pro-gay rights position that has been reduced to absurdity, it is Scalia himself.

James S. Stramel

Los Angeles

Scalia would make being "morally reprehensible" sufficient justification for deciding whether a law violates the Constitution. Strange, but I cannot find that phrase anywhere in the document itself. Perhaps Scalia can find it in the minds of those who wrote the Constitution, which he claims to be able to read.

The important judicial question in this case is whether being morally reprehensible is also sufficient justification for removing a Supreme Court justice.

Angus Andrews

Westlake Village

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