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Justice Scalia Debates the ACLU on Civil Liberties

On October 15th, Justice Antonin Scalia debated ACLU president Nadine Strossen on civil liberties. The debate was carried on C-SPAN and has been uploaded to their website. You can view it here.

At the beginning of the debate, NBC correspondent and moderator Pete Williams talked about the cases where Justice Scalia sided with the ACLU. These included the Kyllo case, which discussed whether infrared scanning of houses constituted a search, the Hamdi case, and Texas v Johnson, which discussed the constitutionality of flag burning.

Justice Scalia said that the results in these and all of his opinions are not always where he wants to be personally. However, his interpretation of the Constitution has led him this way. He sees his job as preserving the original intent of the Constitution, regardless of his personal views.

Justice Scalia also reaffirmed his belief that controversial issues must be debated openly and then voted on by the public. There are exceptions, but those are contained in the Bill of Rights. Those are the issues that have been taken out of the debate. However, those issues that have not been taken out of debate, including abortion and homosexual rights, can be decided by the public. Justice Scalia maintains that he is not saying whether particular laws or regulations are good, just that the public can regulate it.

The debate is an excellent discussion of Constitutional law and Justice Scalia's views on it. He forcefully and capably defends his philosophy.