Justice Antonin ScaliaJustice Antonin Scalia, (1936-2016) American jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Justice Antonin Scalia Quote

“[T]he enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.... Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

Justice Antonin ScaliaJustice Antonin Scalia
~ Justice Antonin Scalia

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)

Ratings and Comments

Perry, Cave Creek Arizona

Very well stated by Justice Scalia, agree or not he is doing his job by adhering to the constitution. If we give up one constitutional guarantee, they will fall like a deck of cards.

L. A. Chitty, III, Columbia, S.C./Long Beach, CA

Perry, Your statement is pure, absolutist rubbish -- on two fronts. What Justice Scalia is saying is that the USSC does not have the right "...to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct." And he is correct -- because there is a PROCESS for changing the Constititution and "...making the Second Amendment extinct" -- and that should not (in theory, anyway) be determined by pronouncements from the bench That's called judicial activism, which, in this case, would involve MAKING law instead of interpreting it within the Context of the Constitution and the public will. However, the Costitution CAN be changed through a constitutional convention and ratification by the states. The Constitution is a creation of man, not God, and therefore, it can be changed by man -- unless you wish to consider as gods the men who wrote prohibitions into the Constitution against, say, slavery , but personally "owned" slaves, themselves. As to your second statement, that " If we give up one constitutional guarantee, they will fall like a deck of cards." This may or may not be the case; it depends upon the time and circumstance(s) but it is not an inevitable reponse. How do you know this, anyway? The fact is that you DON'T. You may BELIEVE that, but you can't KNOW that -- and believing is not knowing. Faith cannot be the sole determinant of public policy, for different people might have supreme faith in diametrically opposed policies. And not only that, but repeal of the Second Amendment might turn out to be in the best interest of "the general welfare". This "slippery slope" argument is an expression of fear and not of reason. To use a common expression, what you say "ain't necessarily so".

J Carlton, Calgary

The reasons for the creation of the Second Amendment are as valid to today as when it was originally written. And without it, the USA would be an absolute Police State. Armed citizens are the only reason the Corporatocracy is kept in check at all...

cal, lewisville, tx

Amen j carlton

jim k, Austin, Tx

I'm with J on this.

Mary - MI
  • 1
  • Reply
Mary - MI    4/2/12

Perry - You are correct! In regards to - L. A. Chitty -- Yes there is a means to amend the U.S. Constitution and that means is through an Article V action which has never, ever taken place in regards to the 2nd Amendment, because so far the people have been wise enough to not let the government dismantle and amend the 2nd Amendment. The U.S. Constitution does not GIVE US our UNALIENABLE RIGHTS - because we were born with them. The constitution was written to PROTECT OUR UNALIENABLE RIGHTS from a despotic, and dictatorial government. It was promulgated NOT to protect the rights of the government, but to ENSURE the unalienable rights of the INDIVIDUAL and to keep the government in check and running rough-shod over WE THE PEOPLE.

Mike, Norwalk

WOW ! ! ! Not shooting the messenger; ABSOLUTELY.

Roxy, Kingsland, TX

Mary tells it like it is! Perry - I can't judge whether or not you are coming from a place of fear when you speak of Constitutional Amendments falling like a deck of cards, or whether you are responding to all that our govt has been doing to "chip away" at our rights. They have indeed been assuming that they have the right and the power to do this, and the previous media watch-dogs are not doing their jobs by expressing the will of the People. If the members of government would do their jobs and not try to expand their powers, we would all be better off.

Neal, Phoenix

Justice Scalia gives some comfort re the Supreme Court. Perry is right, once pronounced from the bench contrary to any amendment as well as the 2nd, then the precedent has been set for the others to fall depending on majority vote. And how can we protect ourselves from a majorty that makes a tremendous mistake so as to elect an Obama. That is where the 2nd Amendment comes in, and I agree with J. Carlton

Elizabeth, Astoria, NY

Virtuous men, like the Founding Fathers, do not attempt to take more power in their hands than that they have been granted.

TravelingSponge, New Hampshire

A perfect lesson in civics 101 and the separation and balance of powers inherent in our form of government. This isn't a pro or anti gun quote; it doesn't even hint at a bias on that issue. Instead it is a contemporary comentary on the role and purpose of the constitution itself.

RBE, somewhere in the USA

What a brown nose......


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.