Justice Scalia Predictably Sassy in DOMA Dissent


One of the joys of Justice Antonin Scalia is the sass he often exudes in his dissents. His dissent from the majority opinion's striking down DOMA, penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, is a prime example. Scalia gets the ball (of sass) rolling right from the get-go:

There are many remarkable things about the majority’s merits holding. The first is how rootless and shifting its justifications are.

Scalia then notes Kennedy's discussion of the states' traditional rights in the realm of marriage, and asks, "What is the point of devoting seven pages to describing how long and well established that power is?" 

This would not be the last time Scalia sassily expresses his befuddlement at Kennedy's reasoning. Addressing Kennedy's claim that the "equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment makes [the] Fifth Amendment [due process] right all the more specific and all the better understood and preserved," Scalia, wonders, "What can that mean?"

The sassiness persists throughout the dissent. Scalia claims that Kennedy portrays the crafters and supporters of DOMA as the "unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob" and "hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race." He says Kennedy's opinion is full of "scatter-shot rationales" and "legalistic argle-bargle."

However, the passage with the highest sass-per-word ratio is the baking-themed paragraph at the top of this post. We imagine that, for Scalia, losing a major vote is almost worth it for the sassing opportunities such losses afford him.