LOCAL L.A. Now
Column

Hey California, Antonin Scalia discovers the 10th ring of hell, and we are it

As the United States of America evolves, slowly becoming a more tolerant and inclusive nation, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is getting left behind, and now he’s taking out his wrath on California and hippies.

It’s not hard to understand why Scalia has worked himself into a lather. This has been a horrible week for him, as he voted with the losers on two landmark court rulings: Obamacare and gay marriage.

He began with a somewhat rational dissent on Obamacare, hand-wringing over the “discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”


But then he went from hand-wringing to knuckle-dragging on the gay marriage decision, arguing that the court was patrician, pretentious, egotistical and out of touch with America because its justices are successful lawyers (would we want otherwise?) who went to elite schools and grew up in either the elitist East or the wifty West but not the heartland or the South.

“Not a single Southwesterner or even,” Scalia wrote, “to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner. (California does not count.)”

Do you hear that, Californians?


We are so peculiar that Scalia put us in parentheses, like we had to be quarantined. (Is there any coincidence that the swing vote came from a California native, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy?)

We are west of the West, chiseled off the map and sent floating out to sea in our flip-flops and board shorts, an island of the lost and irrelevant.

I’m not sure how the vast millions who live in the solidly conservative inland and valley empires of California feel about being told they are not true Westerners, here in the state that gave the nation Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

(Associated Press)

But apparently in Scalia’s world, they are off the scales like the rest of us. That might not seem entirely rational, but we’re talking about Justice Scalia, after all, who still seems to be twitching over the hippie movement a half-century after it happened. In mocking a majority opinion reference to intimacy and spirituality, Scalia wrote:

“Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.”

Hippies at the Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, Calif., in 1969. (Associated Press)

I don’t know what hippies have to do with it, but we’ve got plenty of them in California, and no shortage of carnal malefactors of all sexual persuasions.

Justice Scalia has discovered a 10th ring of hell, and we are it.

There’s only one thing to do, California.

I say we tear our clothes off, fill the streets and party like hell.

steve.lopez@latimes.com
Twitter: @LATstevelopez

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
56°