Wednesday, March 25, 2009


For anyone who hasn't seen Fiddler on the Roof, the word 'tradition' has particular meaning about the roles of the sexes in that play. Of course, there is no reason for roles that sex plays in determining one's role in a family, so it has been sloughed off on 'tradition'.

Wonderfully, in writing for the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia referred to that 'tradition' for attitudes regarding homosexuality. I wonder if he even considered the musical and its pointing out the absurdity of it, when he chose to ascribe homophobia to 'tradition'.

Representative Barney Frank yesterday defended his use of the term "homophobe" to describe Antonin Scalia, the conservative Supreme Court justice who has ruled in favor of limiting legal protections for gays.

"What a 'homophobe' means is someone who has prejudice about gay people," Frank told WBZ radio, arguing that Scalia's judicial writing "makes it very clear that he's angry, frankly, about the existence of gay people."

A Supreme Court spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Scalia.

In particular, Frank cited Scalia's opinion in the 2003 case in which the Supreme Court struck down state laws barring consensual acts of sodomy.

In his dissent, Scalia wrote that the 6-to-3 vote served to ratify an "agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct."

That he sees tradition as a reason for anything certainly puts Justice Scalia in the camp of practicers of baby-splitting. Justice Alito seems to cling to the same absurdity when he denies women the right to choose their own medical procedure.

Yes, I proposed splitting babies recently in conversation at eschaton's comments, and certainly impressed Moe, who parades a distaste for kids. It is a Mosaic, or at least biblical, tradition that it brought about peace to propose splitting a baby; that makes it something of a milestone in justice that we can easily say is best honored by avoidance.

The role of a justice on the Supreme Court calls for a much higher standard than has been exhibited by the majority. In his choice of the next Justice for our highest court, we expect President Obama to look much higher than a regrettable tradition of choosing ideologues that has been the practice of right wing presidents of our past.

Any practitioner of real justice will avoid using a standard other than fair treatment when deciding matters that determine our treatment of fellow citizens.

In Fiddler on the Roof, 'Tradition' denies a girl the partner of her choice because she comes from a poor family. That seems to be the court's modus operandi, under the right wing ideololgy that dominates it.

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