Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Scalia: Animal Cruelty and Nazism Preferable to Depictions of Sex

An LA Times article on the Supreme Court arguments about animal cruelty videos says:

Justice Antonin Scalia, an avid hunter, insisted the 1st Amendment does not allow the government to limit speech and expression, unless it involves sex or obscenity.

"It's not up the government to tell us what are our worst instincts," said Justice Antonin Scalia. He repeatedly cited German dictator Adolf Hitler and his policies of extermination. "Can you keep him off the screen?," Scalia asked, just because his deeds were vile.

Doesn't he claim to be an originalist? Does he really think the founders meant "except for sex" but thought it was too obvious to be left in? I'm willing to line up with Scalia on this one, I just wish he'd be consistent about it. (Oral transcript isn't up yet so I can't grab a better quote.)

Update: Looks like we're going to have to blame LA Times for "sex", Scalia was careful to limit himself to "obscenity":

And unless it's a subject like obscenity, which from the beginning had not been considered protected speech, it seems to me that side of the debate is entitled to make its point as -- as forcefully as possible. That's it seems to me what the problem is here.

... it's not up to the government to decide what are people's worst instincts. If -- if the First Amendment means anything, that's what it means. Except for those areas that have traditionally been outside the area of -- of protected speech, and -- and once you allow this one, what other -- what other base instincts do people have ,besides this one?

But I still find this an incoherent rationale--- "it's not the government's job to decide which base instincts to suppress, except for the ones that traditional jurisprudence has decided really are base."
Tags: free speech, politics, sex
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