Geof Stone on "Justice Scalia, 'Originalism' and Homosexuality"
In a speech at the University of California this week, Justice Antonin Scalia, an advocate of the doctrine of "originalism," was asked by a student how an orginialist should apply the First Amendment's guarantee of "freedom of speech" to modern forms of communication. After all, television, radio, movies, email and the Internet did not exist at the time the First Amendment was adopted. Does this mean, the student asked, that the use of such technology does not constitute "speech" within the meaning of the First Amendment?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Justice Scalia responded by explaining that "technological change rarely presented serious obstacles" to his method of interpretation, "because the principles underlying speech and press freedoms . . . can readily be extrapolated to new media."
Another student then asked whether under Justice Scalia's approach to constitutional interpretation the Constitution should "similarly be interpreted to recognize new social phenomena, such as gay relationships," a reference to cases currently pending in the Supreme Court on the issue of same-sex marriage.