In a recent interview, he said that the Constitution doesn't protect women or gays and lesbians from discrimination. Though many interpret the Constitution's 14th Amendment as prohibiting discrimination, Scalia, a strict constructionist, disagrees.
He said in part: "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date."
It's not the first time Scalia has shared his controversial views on the law of the land. Surge Desk has collected some of his other most eyebrow-raising remarks.
- Combatant rights: In 2006, while talking to Swiss students, Scalia said that detainees have no rights under the U.S. Constitution or international law. "If [a detainee] was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son (Matthew Scalia) on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy."
- Torture: Scalia believes that the constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment applies to punishment, not interrogation, and thinks that physical or mental stress could be used in certain interrogation situations. "How close does the threat have to be? How severe can the infliction of pain be? I don't think these are easy questions at all, in either direction. But I certainly know you can't come in smugly and with great self-satisfaction and say, 'Oh, it's torture, and therefore it's no good.' You would not apply that in some real-life situations."
- Separation of church and state: Scalia had to recuse himself from a Supreme Court case after saying that it wasn't for courts to decide whether to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Watch Scalia explain that "torture is not unconstitutional":
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