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Justice Scalia's Fundamental Rights - Research Paper Example

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[Author’s Name] [Class] 06 June 2012 Justice Scalia’s Fundamental Rights In one of his recent interviews, Justice Scalia expressed his opinion on the relevance and effectiveness of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the context of gender and sexual discrimination in the U.S…
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Justice Scalias Fundamental Rights
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Download file to see previous pages Constitution as an instrument to protect the fundamental rights of citizens in America. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is concerned primarily with the fundamental rights of citizens of the United States. Based on the, 14th Amendment, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (Legal Information Institute). Simply put, the 14th Amendment limits the power of Congress and other federal and state powers to discriminate against individuals. The 14th Amendment is the document of equal protection that outlaws individual rights violations. Since the 1970s, the 14th Amendment has been used as one of the central tools of legal defense against labor and employment discrimination. However, not everyone agrees that the 14th Amendment is a valid argument against discrimination. When a public figure as popular as Justice Scalia expresses a divergent opinion, it is natural and logical that the public reaction will be immediate. In one of his recent interviews, Justice Scalia expressed an opinion that the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with discrimination and individual rights: according to Scalia, the U.S. Constitution by itself does not outlaw discrimination (Terkel). Rather, the Constitution simply provides the basis and creates a legal context, which allows passing legislation that outlaws different forms of discrimination against individuals (Terkel). Justice Scalia is confident that the Constitution does not prohibit discrimination, and it is within the power of U.S. legislators, not the Constitution, to enact laws that defend the fundamental rights of American citizens. As a result, the Fourteenth Amendment can hardly serve a relevant ground for legal protection against sexual and gender discrimination in the workplace or in courts. To some extent, Justice Scalia is correct: the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed with the intent to keep illegal immigrants and aliens from accessing and using the benefits provided by U.S. Government. This is why the 14th Amendment limits the scope of the legal rights protection to citizens or those naturalized in the United States (The 14th Amendment). It was not before the 1970s that the legal meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment was changed to become one of the key instruments and legal arguments against sexual and other types of individual discrimination in the U.S. Even today, the 14th Amendment remains the source of major legal controversies, since there is no explicit statement that could be directly related to the issue of sexual or gender discrimination. However, the role which the Fourteenth Amendment plays in the protection of individual rights and the elimination of inequality and discrimination cannot be ignored. Simultaneously, Justice Scalia’s homophobic prejudices are well-known to the American public. It is no wonder that Scalia does not believe the 14th Amendment and its equal protection clause applies to women, gays or lesbians (LaVictoire). In the notorious case of Lawrence v. Texas Justice Scalia claimed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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