We now continue with the Mildly Relevant Law Journal’s interview of Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia (AS) and Clarence Thomas (CT). Standing in for me once again is the googly-eyed pile of money from the Geico commercials (GM). If you missed it, check out Part One here.
GM: Now that we’ve discussed the methodology you use to determine Originalist legal theory, I wanted to talk about some of the other implications of that philosophy. For instance, in advocating a position that adheres so strictly to 18th century thinking, does that also pigeonhole you into other 18th century social/political beliefs, i.e. black people being only three-fifths of a human being?
AS: Um, hmm. I mean, of course not, on that particular account… Yeah, I’m not really sure how to answer that one. Clarence?
GM: Okay, I guess that was a loaded question. What about the technology of that time? If you’re convinced that the people of that era were so perspicacious as to foresee almost every possible issue we’d be facing more than 200 years later, then wouldn’t that mean their entire lifestyle is something to be emulated?
AS: I don’t follow.
GM: Well, do you ride a horse and carriage to work?
AS: Of course not. I have a driver.
GM: Justice Thomas?
GM: What about agriculture? I assume both of you refuse to use anything beyond steam power when cultivating your crops?
GM: Okay, it looks like this line of questioning isn’t really going anywhere. Moving on from Originalism, let’s take a different tack. With the Citizen’s United ruling you overturned decades of campaign finance law, especially the McCain-Feingold act. Leaving aside the strict legal interpretation of the case, did you consider the real world implications of your decision?
AS: The what?
GM: You know, how your ruling would actually effect the people of the United States?
AS: Well, obviously we though about how it would effect people. Corporations are now granted complete and total free speech. In that way it was a great civil rights achievement.
GM: No, I was talking about people, how it effects people.
AS: Right, so am I.
GM: I’m sorry, but I think you’re talking about corporations.
AS: Exactly. Corporations are people.
GM: They are?
GM: So then, are people also corporations?
AS: They can be.
GM: Uh-huh, what?
AS: Who is a corporation.
GM: Wait, then what exactly is a corporation?
AS: No, a ‘what’ wouldn’t be a corporation, since corporations are a ‘who’.
GM: Then what would a ‘what’ be?
AS: A ‘what’ is a thing, not a person.
GM: So, it’s not a ‘who’?
AS: No, a ‘who’ is a corporation.
GM: Then what’s a person?
AS: A person is a ‘who’, too, not a ‘what’.
GM: Like a corporation.
GM: Exactly, what?
AS: No, exactly ‘who’.
GM: I’m confused.
AS: Clarence, would you like to handle this one?
AS: I guess not.
GM: Okay, let me try to get this straight. People are people, correct?
GM: But corporations are also people?
AS: Indeed they are.
GM: So then, corporations have the same rights as people?
AS: Pretty much.
GM: Who would advocate and/or believe such a ridiculous idea?
GM: Because they’re a ‘who’.
AS: You got it.
GM: And in what universe is that even a remotely reasonable argument?
AS: No, we’re not talking about ‘what’, we’re talking about ‘who’. Remember?
GM: Right, ‘who’ is a corporation. Got it… But… How?
CT: Third base!
AS: Not now, Clarence.
End of Part Two. Part Three coming soon.