SocraticGadfly: Antonin Scalia — fundamentalist

September 11, 2015

Antonin Scalia — fundamentalist

The Supreme Court associate justice, well-known for his forceful (if often vague and sometimes changing) exposition of a doctrine of Constitutional law jurisprudence known as "originalism," would surely reject the charge of being a fundamentalist.

But, in my first essay at the new philosophy-related webzine, The Electric Agora, I argue that this is indeed the case. I argue that there are definite parallels with religious fundamentalism, especially in its Christian fundamentalist stripe, and that Scalia's line of thinking, rather than being new, arguably goes back to Chief Justice Roger Taney of Dred Scott fame.

I also argue, following on my review of his most recent book, that pop historians of a certain stripe, like Joseph Ellis, perpetuate the fundamentalist type textual reification of the Constitution, and the reification of the thought and intent of the founders, as expostulated by the likes of Scalia, Samuel Alito and others. On the Christian fundamentalism side, my inspiration in part comes from the selectivity of the fundamentalism of anti-Constitutional Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her backers, or eggers-on.

Anyway, if you're looking for more in-depth writing on the intersection of philosophy with the social sciences and the arts, head to The Electric Agora.

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