Scalia's most incendiary comments

Scalia's most incendiary comments
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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks suggesting African-American students perform better in “less-advanced schools” has stoked a firestorm of criticism.

Scalia has been rebuked by the White House and compared to Donald Trump by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who called the remarks racist.

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The conservative justice made the comment Wednesday during oral arguments in a case challenging the University of Texas’s admissions policy.

Scalia questioned whether considering a prospective student’s race in the admission process actually helped blacks, going on to question whether many might be better off at less-selective universities.

Scalia highlighted a friend-of-the-court brief, making it clear he did not necessarily agree with the arguments in the brief.

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African­-Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less­-advanced school, a slower-­track school where they do well,” he said.

“One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas.”

Those comments were far from the first controversial remarks by Scalia. Here are some other statements of his that drew criticism on a host of subjects.

Same-sex marriage/gay rights

Scalia’s characterization of gay marriage has sometimes been put in terms that have offended many of his critics.

In his dissent to the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country, Scalia questioned the court’s majority opinion that intimacy and spirituality were freedoms.

He did so in his typically pugnacious voice.

“Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie,” Scalia wrote.

In November, Scalia spoke to a group of law students at Georgetown University and likened the court’s decision to protect gay rights to protecting child molesters.

“What minorities deserve protection?” Scalia said. “What? It’s up to me to identify deserving minorities?

“What about pederasts? What about child abusers? This is a deserving minority,” he joked. “Nobody loves them.”

Scalia also courted controversy in his 2003 dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned state anti-sodomy laws. Scalia compared sodomy and oral sex to bestiality and adult incest.

“The Texas statute undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable,’ … the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity,” he wrote.

Torture

Scalia defended some of the toughest forms of physical interrogation in a 2008 interview.

“Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the Constitution?” Scalia said.

National Security

Scalia argued that the court’s June 2008 decision to grant terrorism suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts would make the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“America is at war with radical Islamists,” adding that this ruling “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed” and that the country “will live to regret what the court has done today."

President Obama/ObamaCare

Scalia has been a fervent opponent of President Obama’s signature healthcare law and has frequently weighed in on the law.

Not all of his comments have been controversial, but the justice’s way with words has drawn attention.

When Scalia questioned ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the 2012 oral arguments on the healthcare law, he challenged the definition of the federal healthcare marketplace and wondered if the government could force people to buy broccoli — just as ObamaCare mandates that people buy insurance.

“Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli,” Scalia said.

In June, Scalia ripped the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold subsidies provided to millions of people. In his dissent, he noted the Supreme Court was responsible for the law’s existence, accusing it of “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” Scalia said in one of his most memorable comments.