In a speech at the University of Richmond in Virginia on Friday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia confirmed again his view that the Constitution contains no so-called abortion rights.
He told the audience during his speech, that is only now drawing attention, that the founders of the nation never envisioned a right to an abortion when drafting the Constitution that is supposed to guide the federal courts.
Scalia criticized, according to an AP report, those who misinterpret the 14th Amendment’s due process clause to include abortion.
“But some of the liberties the Supreme Court has found to be protected by that word—liberty—nobody thought constituted a liberty when the 14th Amendment was adopted,” Scalia said. “Abortion? It was criminal in all the states.”
Scalia repeated his view that the Constitution should be taken literally, as written, rather than interpreting it to include rights not intended to be protected under law.
“The Constitution says what it says and it doesn’t say anything more. For flexibility, all you need is a legislature and a ballot box,” he added, in terms of how abortion advocates should attempt to change the constitution if they want to have legal abortions.
By allowing the Supreme Court to create rights not enumerated by the Constitution – “you’re allowing five out of nine hotshot lawyers to run the country.”
“Unless the words have meaning and unless judges give them their fair meaning, democracy doesn’t work,” Scalia said during an address entitled “Do Words Matter?”
Earlier this year, Scalia spoke at a conference sponsored by the Mississippi College School of Law and condemned activists who back the use of international law in the U.S. legal system, saying they are selective when they want to use it.
“If there was any thought absolutely foreign to the founders of our country, surely it was the notion that we Americans should be governed the way Europeans are,” he said, according to the Jackson Free Press newspaper.
“I dare say that few of us here would want our life or liberty subject to the disposition of French or Italian criminal justice—not because those systems are unjust, but because we think ours is better,” the pro-life jurist added.
But Scalia says those who advocate using foreign law do so selectively and ignore how many foreign laws oppose abortion and foreign courts have issued decisions allowing pro-life laws and abortion restrictions.
“I will become a believer in the ingenuousness, though never the propriety, of the Court’s newfound respect for the wisdom of foreign minds when it applies that wisdom in the abortion cases,” Scalia said.