|NASHVILLE (BP) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking at Princeton University, said some of the most controversial questions in today's culture are among the easiest to solve according to the Constitution.
At Princeton Dec. 10, a freshman from San Francisco identified himself as homosexual and asked Scalia why he equates banning sodomy with banning bestiality and murder. The student was referring to Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down an anti-sodomy law, according to The Daily Princetonian.
"If we cannot have moral feelings about homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against these other things?" Scalia said during a question-and-answer time.
During his lecture, Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the current court, took issue with people who view the Constitution as a "living document."
"It isn't a living document. It's dead, dead, dead, dead," he said.
People who contend the Constitution is changing often argue for a more flexible approach, Scalia said, but their goal is to set policy permanently.
Scalia said he believes that focusing on the text and the original meaning of the Constitution is the best approach to protect the Constitution and democratic ideals, the Princetonian reported. His view, though, is rarely taught in law schools anymore, he said.
"I don't know how we got to this stage," Scalia said, referring to the preponderance of living document adherents.
"At the end of the road is the destruction of the Constitution," Scalia told the students. "Unless you give the meaning of those who enacted them, you're destroying democracy."
In comments at the American Enterprise Institute in October, Scalia said some supposedly hard questions are easy to answer by the Constitution.
"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," Scalia said.
Scalia's comments at Princeton came just days after the court agreed to take up two cases that could either lead to the legalization of gay marriage nationwide or affirm the rights of legislators and voters to protect traditional marriage.
EXPLORER STILL TRYING TO PROVE NOAHIC FLOOD -- The underwater explorer who found the wrecked Titanic continues to look for evidence consistent with the great Noahic flood, according to news reports.
Robert Ballard, who has been trying for more than a decade to prove the flood and Noah's Ark, discussed his latest explorations in Turkey with ABC's Christiane Amanpour.
"We went in there to look for the flood," Ballard said of his work in Turkey. "Not just a low moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed.... The land that went under stayed under."
ABC reported that Ballard, using advanced robotic technology, is able to explore events from nearly 12,000 ago, when much of the earth was covered in ice. Geologists theorize that the melting ice of that age would have surged through parts of the globe.
Ballard's findings will be revealed in a two-part ABC News special "Back to the Beginning" on consecutive Fridays Dec. 21 and 28 at 9 p.m. Eastern. The special will retrace the Bible from Genesis to Jesus.
Geologists say the rising Mediterranean Sea would have pushed a channel through what is now the Bosporus Strait, submerging the shoreline of the Black Sea in waters rushing about 200 times the volume of Niagara Falls and covering 100,000 square miles.
As early as the 1990s, geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman gathered evidence of a flood in the Middle East region about 7,500 years ago, PBS has reported.
Ballard found evidence in 1999 of a submerged ancient shoreline and in 2011 found a sunken vessel and one of its crew members in the Black Sea, according to ABC. Ballard has enjoyed success as an underwater explorer, having found not only the Titanic but the battleship Bismarck and a U.S. fleet lost off the coast of Guadalcanal in the Pacific, according to news reports.
The Bible records Noah's flood in Genesis 7-8.
OKLA. COURT REJECTS RU 486, ULTRASOUND LAWS -- The Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down two laws, one prohibiting off-label use of abortion drugs and the other mandating that a woman receive an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion.
The high court of one of the country's most conservative states upheld lower court rulings in its Dec. 4 invalidations of measures supported by pro-life advocates.
The justices decided both laws violated Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that affirmed a legal right to abortion but said states could regulate the procedure within certain guidelines.
Pro-life leaders said the Oklahoma Supreme Court misinterpreted the 1992 opinion.
The court "ignores the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly determined that states have an interest in the outset of pregnancy in protecting maternal health, and that regulations aimed at such impose no constitutional violations," said Mailee Smith, staff counsel for Americans United for Life, in a blog post.
Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life, said, according to the Associated Press, "The ultrasound law does not prohibit abortion. It regulates abortion."
Scott Pruitt, the state's attorney general, said he is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, AP reported.
The law restricting off-label use of abortion drugs required abortion providers to abide by the guidelines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It called for a doctor to examine a woman seeking an abortion before providing her with RU 486 or another drug. It also mandated such a drug be administered in a clinic.
Some providers have instructed women to use RU 486 vaginally, though the FDA approved the drug only for use orally. At least 14 women have died in the United States after taking RU 486, and critics have blamed its "off-label" use in at least some of those cases.
In October, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled an Ohio law regulating RU 486 is not "unconstitutionally vague," is not a violation of a "woman's right to bodily integrity" and does not act as an "undue burden" on a woman's right to abortion.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD ELECTION SPENDING HIGHLY EFFECTIVE -- The country's No. 1 abortion provider received a great return on the money it spent in this year's election.
An analysis by the Sunlight Foundation showed more than 98 percent of Planned Parenthood Action Fund's spending in election races produced the desired result, The Washington Post reported Dec. 5. That made Planned Parenthood No. 1 for effectiveness in the 2012 election cycle.
Planned Parenthood, which spent about $15 million in this year's election, succeeded with a two-part approach, pollsters and strategists told The Post. It used Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's words against him, and it identified about 1 million women voters, mostly in swing states, who were especially open to its message.
"Those were the women that we were going to relentlessly target over and over again between June and November," said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood's executive vice president, The Post reported.
Planned Parenthood used Romney's opposition to the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and federal funding of Planned Parenthood to influence those voters. It was part of a dramatic shift by campaigns and outside groups, which spent $39 million on advertising related to abortion, according to The Post.
"There was a huge increase in the number of spots in these issues 2012 versus 2008," said Ken Goldstein, president of the media tracking company Kantar Media, The Post reported. "Overall, the Democrats aired over six times as many spots on abortion as Republicans." Continued...