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NINOMANIA

:: A constitutional law blog by Scalia/Thomas fan David M. Wagner, M.A., J.D., Research Fellow, National Legal Foundation, and Teacher, Veritas Preparatory Academy. Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of the NLF or Veritas. :: bloghome | E-mail me ::


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    [::..archive..::]
    ::

    :: Thursday, March 23, 2006 ::
    Justice Scalia, responding to Justice Stevens's concurrence in today's decision on consent searches, Georgia v. Randolph:
    There is nothing new or surprising in the proposition that our unchanging Constitution refers to other bodies of law that might themselves change. The Fifth Amendment provides, for instance, that “private property” shall not “be taken for public use, without just compensation”; but it does not purport to define property rights. We have consistently held that “the existence of a property interest is determined by reference to ‘existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law.’ ”.... This reference to changeable law presents no problem for the originalist. No one supposes that the meaning of the Constitution changes as States expand and contract property rights. If it is indeed true, therefore, that a wife in 1791 could not authorize the search of her husband’s house, the fact that current property law provides otherwise is no more troublesome for the originalist than the well established fact that a State must compensate its takings of even those property rights that did not exist at the time of the Founding....

    Finally, I must express grave doubt that today’s decision deserves Justice Stevens’ celebration as part of the forward march of women’s equality. Given the usual patterns of domestic violence, how often can police be expected to encounter the situation in which a man urges them to enter the home while a woman simultaneously demands that they stay out? The most common practical effect of today’s decision, insofar as the contest between the sexes is concerned, is to give men the power to stop women from allowing police into their homes—which is, curiously enough, precisely the power that Justice Stevens disapprovingly presumes men had in 1791.


    :: David M. Wagner 11:54 AM [+] ::
    ...

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