On a mission from God.

The law, lawyers, and the court.
March 9 2005 5:37 PM

We're on a Mission From God

Is the Ten Commandments case turning Scalia into a devotee of natural law?

(Continued from Page 1)

Interestingly enough, abortion is one area in which natural-law conservatives think their approach to judging would give them some purchase. If one subscribes to the view that the Declaration of Independence, with its attribution of political rights to a Creator, is a controlling legal precedent, one consequence (if one assumes that fetuses are persons, a big if) might be the judicial evaluation of pro-choice legislation. If that seems outrageous, natural-law types would argue, then so was the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling outlawing laws against interracial marriage, a ruling they say cannot be justified on positivist grounds. They have a point—but that point may just be that liberals and conservatives have a weakness for results-driven jurisprudence.

Is Scalia susceptible to that temptation where the Ten Commandments are concerned? That might be one way to interpret his aggressive unmasking of the "secular" rationale for displaying the commandments and his repeated references during oral arguments to the notion that laws come from God. Perhaps on this one issue he was offering a judicially significant nod to the natural-law lobby. Or maybe he was just venting the religious views that, however regretfully, he can't allow into the positivist cathedral of his legal method.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.