by Asa Gordon
George Mason University leaders have renamed their law school the Antonin Scalia School of Law, officially establishing a law school for ASSOLs in exchange for receiving $30 million in gifts.
George Mason’s ASSOL Board of Visitors mistakingly honor the late U.S. Supreme Court justice as the father of ORIGINALISM, whereas history establishes that he is in fact an unoriginal stepchild in the advocacy of the idea of originalism. ORIGINALISM purports to ascertain the original intent of the original authors of the Constitution in order to determine the correct interpretation and meaning of the text of the Constitution.
Scalia’s “methodology and reverence for the nation’s founding ideals that made Justice Scalia so special,” as lionized by Neal Katyal and Viet Dinh of Georgetown School of Law, in fact proves Scalia to be no more then a disciple of the God-father of ORIGINALISM, “His Accidency” President Andrew Johnson, as a consequence of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Indeed, Scalia even appropriated the purpose and intent of the original ideals expressed in the fist invocation of the salient ideals of ORIGINALISM in President Andrew Johnson’s State of the Union Address of December 4, 1865, which preserved White privilege by denying the extension of voting rights to non-whites. On that day, Andrew Johnson invented ORIGINALISM and established its original intent by declaring:
“The relations of the General Government toward the 4,000,000 inhabitants whom the war has called into freedom have engaged my most serious consideration. On the propriety of attempting to make the freedmen electors by the proclamation of the Executive I took for my counsel the Constitution itself, the interpretations of that instrument by its authors and their contemporaries, and recent legislation by Congress. When, at the first movement toward independence, the Congress of the United States instructed the several States to institute governments of their own, they left each State to decide for itself the conditions for the enjoyment of the elective franchise.”
Thus, the articulation of an ORIGINALIST argument (framed within the context of the “Tenther” states rights) that preserves the political and social status of White supremacy is not even original with Scalia and his minions.
On the same day that ORIGINALISM was born, Dec. 4th,1865, Thaddeus Stevens, speaker of the House, and House Clerk Edward McPherson conspired in parliamentary maneuvers that literally saved this country for posterity from the original legacy of ORIGINALISM.
Presidential reconstruction, pursued under the ideal of Johnson’s ORIGINALISM within the context of States Rights, with Congress in recess, had engaged in a wholesale pardoning of former officers of the rebel states and allowed those states to hold Congressional elections that excluded freedmen from the franchise. The former rebel states elected former rebel Generals to Congress, and Georgia had the audacity to elect the former Confederate Vice President, Alexander Stephens, to the Senate. However, Stevens and McPherson evolved a plan with trusted followers in the House to deny congressional seats to former Confederate representatives of the rebel states, thus saving the country. On that day the Speaker of the House declared:
“I cannot yield to any gentleman who does not belong to this body — who is an outsider. We will not admit those who have slaughtered half a million of our countrymen, until their clothes are dried and until they are reclad. I do not wish to sit side-by-side with men whose garments smell of the blood of my kindred.”
On that day congress rejected the President’s “Originalist” plan for Reconstruction under the banner: “The union as it was, the Constitution as it is.” On that day, the Hon. Stevens offered a resolution to create the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, declaring: “Congress alone can do it… Congress must create states and declare whether they are to be represented.”
Thus the representation of Scalia as creator of the the methodology of ORIGINALISM is ahistorical and he is exposed as a fraud. Furthermore as a practitioner of ORIGINALISM he is revealed to be a hypocrite, by holding as sacrosanct the intent of the framers of the original articles of the Constitution that preserves White supremacy and purposefully ignoring the intent of the abolitionist reconstruction amendments to reconfigure the the nefarious articles of origin to comport with the Nation’s “founding ideals,” i.e. the DECLARATION.
Asa Gordon is Chair of the DC Statehood Green Party Electoral College Task Force and Executive Director of the Douglass Institute of Government.