Fitness Questioned after Ties to Anti-Gay Group Revealed
March 9, 2004
By Doreen Brandt, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Washington
Washington, D.C.—Details are
emerging about a controversial speech delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia to
an anti-gay lobby group while the Supreme Court was deliberating in the Texas
sodomy case that calls into question his impartiality on the bench.
The speech was delivered to the Urban Family Council in
Philadelphia, a group that while not a party in the sodomy case was fighting
that city’s ordinance allowing benefits for the partners of gay and lesbian
Details of the $150 a plate dinner were made public today
by the Los Angeles Times.
William Devlin, who founded the council, is lead
plaintiff in the Philadelphia lawsuit, which is pending before the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Both sides say the case has a good chance of
reaching Scalia’s court.
Scalia declined to comment on his appearance before the
group, and the organization refused to make available a copy of the speech.
But, a month after the dinner, he sharply dissented from the high court’s
decision overturning the Texas law.
“The court has largely signed on to the so-called
homosexual agenda,” Scalia wrote for the three. He took the unusual step of
reading his dissent from the bench.
“The court has taken sides in the culture war,”
Scalia said, adding that he has “nothing against homosexuals.”
Justices frequently address legal groups such as bar
associations but in the past they avoid any connection with or appearances
before partisan or activist groups that fight for those issues in court.
The Philadelphia dinner marks the third instance in which
Scalia’s outside activities have created an appearance of partiality on
issues before the court.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Scalia flew in
January on Air Force Two with Vice President Dick Cheney to go duck hunting in
Louisiana, shortly after the high court decided to hear a legal challenge to
Cheney’s intent to keep information secret about his energy policy task
The Times also found that in November 2001, Scalia was
the guest speaker at Kansas University’s Law School at a time when the
school’s dean was spearheading two cases before the court.
In October Scalia ridiculed the court’s majority
decision overturning the Texas sodomy law in a speech before an extreme right
wing group, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
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