PRINCETON, NJ — On December 10, during a lecture at Princeton University, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was grilled by an openly-gay student about legal opinions he has written that have been called homophobic.
Speaking on Monday at the Ivy League school, Scalia was asked why he considers laws that ban sodomy the equivalent of laws that prohibit murder and bestiality.
“It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,’” Scalia, 76, told student Duncan Hosie.
“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?” added Scalia, who is touring the nation to promote his new book, “Reading Law.”
He said that lawmakers can prohibit behaviors that they consider immoral, an opinion that is consistent with his dissent in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, a 6 to 3 high court ruling that struck down sodomy laws.
Scalia’s Princeton lecture came on the heels of the high court’s decision to hear two appeals that could have far-reaching impact on the federal definition of marriage (see analysis, “The Supremes: Does ‘14’ Add Up to Equality? The Key to Gay Marriage is in the 14th Amendment” in this week’s POLITICS).
Scalia, who is the longest-serving justice on the current court, also took a swipe at those who consider the Constitution to be a “living document.”
“It isn’t a living document,” he countered. “It’s dead, dead, dead, dead.”