Statement on Justice Scalia's Dissent in Lawrence V. Texas

June 26, 2003

In today's landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down the Texas sodomy law, six Justices understood that private consensual sexual conduct is just that private.  It is none of the government's business, and it was unconstitutional for the State of Texas to make it a crime.

Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist opposed the civil rights of homosexuals.  Scalia wrote a harsh dissent filled with words that will be hateful to many Americans.  He spoke darkly of "the homosexual agenda" and echoed Senator Rick Santorum by writing that laws against homosexuality further "the same interest" as laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity. 

As a former Governor who appointed many judges to the Vermont bench, I value the quality of judicial temperament.  Scalia's intemperate dissent in this case shows why he should never have been appointed to the Supreme Court in the first place and why he is not fit to serve as Chief Justice should a vacancy occur.  His increasingly shrill opinions have become an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.

President Bush says we need more Justices like Scalia.  I say we cannot afford more Justices like Scalia, and we cannot afford four more years of the President who would appoint such Justices.

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