Al Franken views the Constitution differently than Antonin Scalia – surprised?

Senator (it pains me to think that he is a Senator) Al Franken had the temerity (brass balls) to question Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s understanding of the Constitution. Yep, you read that right, “Stuart Smalley” of Saturday Night Live fame – a comedian – asserted that Justice Scalia had a very different view of the Constitution than he did – implying that Franken’s view was right and Scalia’s was wrong.

Mr. Franken (I refuse to honor him with the title “Senator”) wasn’t funny as a comedian (I remember him) and he’s apparently still trying to be funny when he compares his interpretation of our Constitution with an educated and experienced Supreme Court Justice. I can hardly believe that he said that publically; his dumbassity knows no bounds.

Mr. Franken questioned the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s understanding of the Constitution on Monday during the confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee to the high court, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Franken said that Scalia “embraced a rigid view of our Constitution, a view blind to the equal dignity of LGBT people, and hostile to women’s reproductive rights, and a view that often refused to acknowledge the lingering laws and policies that perpetuate the racial divide.” He continued, “the document he revered looks very different from the one I have sworn to defend.”

Of that, I have no doubt.

Scalia, who unexpectedly passed away last February, served on the Supreme Court for three decades. Prior to serving on the nation’s highest court, Scalia was appointed Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law from 1981 to 1982 and served as a senior figure in the Justice Department in the 1970s. The late Supreme Court justice previously was a professor at multiple top law schools and received his law degree from Harvard University.

Scalia graduated valedictorian and summa cum laude in 1957 from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in history. While in college, he was a champion collegiate debater in Georgetown’s Philodemic Society and a critically praised thespian. He took his junior year abroad at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Scalia studied law at Harvard Law School, where he was a Notes Editor for the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1960, becoming a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University.

Scalia believed that the ordinary meaning of a statute should govern. In 1998, Scalia vociferously opposed the idea of a living constitution, or the power of the judiciary to modify the meaning of constitutional provisions to adapt them to changing times. Scalia warned that if one accepted that constitutional standards should evolve with a maturing society, “the risk of assessing evolving standards is that it is all too easy to believe that evolution has culminated in one’s own views”. He compared the Constitution to statutes he contended were not understood to change their meaning through time.

On the other hand, Franken attended Harvard College, the liberal arts undergraduate college, independent of Harvard University, where he graduated with a B.A. in government.

He was a writer and occasional performer on Saturday Night Live between 1975-80 and 1985-95 where he wrote comedy sketches and occasionally performed in them. He also wrote and starred in a movie, Stuart Saves His Family, which was a critical and commercial failure. He also hosted a “progressive” talk radio show on Air America for three years and occasionally contributes to The Huffington Post.

He won election to the Senate in 2008 during a contentious election battle with Norm Coleman. Election night results had Coleman winning by over 700 votes, but by the time the votes were certified, Coleman’s lead had been reduced to 215 votes. Over the coming weeks, recount after recount were done when ballots kept (magically) appearing or ballots were challenged until finally, Franken was certified as the winner by 312 votes. Cries of foul play were rampant, and numerous challenges were brought, but Franken was sworn in as Senator in July of 2009.

So now Stuart Smalley Al Franken is a United States Senator, will wonders never cease.

I guess that Franken should be given credit for a satirical comparison of his interpretation of the Constitution with that of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – it would be funny if it wasn’t so ludicrous.


A “day after” update: Each time I read the piece, one statement by Scalia jumps out and I think that it captures nicely why the Constitution can’t be interpreted as a “living” document. He said, “the risk of assessing evolving standards is that it is all too easy to believe that evolution has culminated in one’s own views“.  I think that nails it.


Categories: Political


10 replies

  1. Excellent work, Garnet. I agree with you that Scalia nailed it with his quote on the living Constitution, and sure enough Al Franken proved him right. Leftists like Franken like that the Constitution protects THEIR rights but hate that it protects the rights of conservatives as well. Their notion of a “living Constitution” is heads I win, tails you lose.

    I saw part of Franken’s questioning of Gorsuch yesterday and as always everything about him disgusts me. One of the most ironic contrasts between Scalia and Franken is that the conservative with the unparalleled resume was a humble man, while the smarmy comedian who got his seat by cheating acts like he’s the smartest guy in the room. The idea that this creep gets to vote on a Supreme Court nominee shows how messed up this country is.

    I have to say that, like AfterShock, watching Gorsuch in action raised some concerns for me. I don’t know if he’s just trying to play to the crowd for the sake of getting 60-plus votes but hearing him refer to illegal aliens as “undocumented immigrants” wasn’t a good sign at all.


  2. Being from Minnesota, yes it’s true, Al Franken is a dumbass and yes it’s true… he’s not really funny, but he looks stupid so that gets him by. Often mistaken for funny, is the fact he’s being laughed at for looking stupid rather than for his “humor”. That said, today it was revealed that Niel Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia, is closer to Franken than to Scalia on the unalienable right to life issue. Asked his opinion on Roe v Wade and whether he had been asked about repealing it by Trump, Mr. Gorsuch told the Senate judiciary committee that he would have walked out (on Trump) if Trump would have wanted him to overturn Roe. Gorsuch further elucidated his position, saying that Roe was law, decided by SCOTUS and reaffirmed by SCOTUS… In other words, it’s settled law — COURT created law, and dare I say BAD law from a purely Federalism point of view if not just the fundamental right for which the constitution was written and ratified to protect! He’s no Antonin Scalia, not by a long-shot and in my opinion, he’s about as trustworthy as John Roberts or Justice Kennedy. Many tried to warn that Niel Gorsuch wasn’t who he was being hyped to be.Just as Gen. Mattis appears not to be who he was hyped to be, just as Mike Flynn wasn’t who he was hyped to be, and just who Trump proves constantly, that he’s not who he hypes himself to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t like Roe any better than you do, but unless the court was about to hear another case against it and the court was believed to be split 4-4 before Gorsuch was confirmed, he singlehandedly could do nothing to repeal it.

      He didn’t offer a personal opinion on abortion, only that Roe had been law since 1973 and has been reaffirmed since – a true statement. He did say that established precedent was the first thing to consider when making a ruling, but only as a starting point.

      I did do a bit of research on Gorsuch and I’m not sure that you’re giving him a fair shot. His leanings, based on his history, seems to show that he is a serious judge, one whose rulings are based on what he perceives the law to be and not one likely to create new law based on his personal politics. He is purported to be a strong proponent for interpreting the Constitution “as written” – an “originalist.”

      Of course, a new Justice can always surprise us, like Roberts did, but so far, I think he deserves a chance. He is all we’ve got at the present and we’ll have to accept him, like him or not.


      • I’m not thinking about what Gorsuch can or can’t do single-handedly to repeal Roe, it’s about the process of moving the court back to a conservative position — one justice at a time — that could one day repeal Roe. In my opinion, Gorsuch is a serious judge but that’s beside the point, hell John Roberts was touted as a serious conservative judge. I’m saying it’s time to pay attention to red flags. Judge Gorsuch may be great on 75% to 80% of the issues conservatives think important, but Scalia, was in my opinion 100% and we need a Scalia for this appointment or the weight of the Ct. shifts that much further left considering the judicial bent of Kennedy and Roberts.

        What’s telltale here, is that Judge Gorsuch in reference to Roe said he considers it “settled Law” and “the law of the land”. For a judge, that means something more than merely accepting it in the moment as the law of the land, it means ya don’t mess with it. Combine that with his statement that he would have walked out on the meeting with Donald Trump if Trump had asked him to overturn Roe and you’ve got a judge that sees judge-made law as an unassailable precedent. Trump needed to ask that question, how else do you know you’ve got the right man?

        Unfortunately according to Gorsuch, Trump never did ask. The problem is, he didn’t just artfully sidestep the questions as one would expect on Roe or Obergefell (which btw he said is “absolutely settled law”), as he did with many other questions, he jumped right in and offered statements upholding those decisions. In the context of the coupling of one male and one female being the only definition of marriage, his position seems to be that moving in that direction would “take the country back to horse and buggy days.”

        The one thing Judge Gorsuch hasn’t said but should have is that the SCOTUS, by Constitutional prohibition, cannot make law. A SCOTUS decision is not the law of the land though he clearly said it was in responding to Al; Franken.

        But a Supreme Court decision is a legal opinion and nothing more, albeit the highest opinion in the land, it’s based on a majority interpretation of a statute, or other claims of right compared to the black letter “law of the land” which is the Constitution. If SCOTUS decisions themselves are considered the law of the land, not just good or bad opinions and, therefore, a legislation, unassailable, unrepealable, uncorrectable, then why even have a Supreme Law of the Land called the Constitution in the first place? It can just be erased by a majority of 5 Justices.

        Now as for Judge Gorsuch the newbie, given the already tilted left Court we have, I don’t agree that we should find out the hard way that he’s perhaps another Roberts or Kennedy by “giving him a [lifetime appointment] chance. He’s either unquestionably the right guy for this time in history or he’s not.


  3. Of course, the Constitution itself acknowledges inherently that culture and society “evolve” and change, and defines the procedure for allowing itself to “live” with the times: the amendment process.

    Naturally, that’s WAY too cumbersome for the Dem/socialist schmucks. FAR easier to load the Court with like-minded revisionists.


    • It isn’t surprising that the dems choose not to follow the procedures expressively designed to support “evolution” of the Constitution (amendments) ’cause they know that they’d never ger their hairbrained schemes enacted. For them, lawfare is a more dependable solution.


  4. Even as the senator from Minnesotastan he is still doing lousy comedy. Just take a look at the demographics in his state and it’s easy to see what his interpretation of the Constitution has done. People refer to him as the senator from Somalia for a reason.


  5. He’s a friggin a. I watched him grill Sen Sessions and what followed made me sick. The hypocrisy with the Democrats is unmatched anywhere. And what made me even more upset is they do t care


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