President Donald Trump today awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 7 distinguished individuals. This prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, which may be awarded by the President to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
One of the recipients the president chose to give the medal to is the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The posthumous award honors his contributions to jurisprudence and his devotion to the Constitution.
The White House bio of Justice Scalia on its web site for the awards reads this way:
Antonin Scalia was one of the greatest Supreme Court justices in American history. Confirmed unanimously in 1986, Justice Scalia authored nearly 900 Supreme Court opinions. He was a champion of the Constitution, insisting that the role of Federal judges is to uphold the original meaning of the Constitution—never to impose their own beliefs on the country. Justice Scalia’s legal philosophy is rooted in America’s founding principles, legal heritage, and constitutional obligations. He never backed down from the bedrock proposition that the Constitution “means and will always mean what it meant when it was adopted.”
Scalia was one of the minority of judges on the nation’s highest court who is pro-life and supports overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions. Scalia frequently talked about his views on abortion and the high court case that allowed for unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason.
“You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it,” he said in an interview previously with California Lawyer.
For those wanting to make abortion legal, “Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
Scalia often reiterated his position that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment doesn’t guarantee equal protection for women in a way that could be construed as allowing abortion on demand.
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Scalia told the California Lawyer publication that, while the amendment doesn’t offer equal protection for women, state legislatures are free to legislate such protections. He said the amendment, when it was adopted, was not intended to offer legal protection for women. Abortion advocates have used it to constitutionally justify legal abortions.
“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex,” Scalia said. “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 indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society,” he said. “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. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box.”