On Justice Scalia, some thoughts by Philosophical Apprentice

Here is a still from pages 186 & 187  from  Rudiger Safranski’s Philosophical Biography of Nietzsche, available as a PDF here: (Thank you to Ross Wolfe!)

Click to access rucc88diger-safranski-nietzsche-a-philosophical-biography.pdf


I had read this essay at The Financial Times on the death of Scalia and its effect on American politics last night, before going to sleep:


Besides the report on the continuing political melodrama in Washington D.C.: will or won’t the Republicans display, in an election year, their self-destrutive penchant, their  utterly  persistent nihilism- the pronouncement of McConnell being an unsurprising yes to that question. What is also here is the usual Party Line on Scalia: witty sometimes scathing commentary lodged in his his finely crafted legal opinions, that are markers in the history of American Jurisprudence. The usual postmortem complementary chatter: one wonders at the lack of judgement, that reeks of bourgeois conformism

In this long quotation from Mr. Safranski’s biography of Nietzsche supplies a highfalutin description of what might be a self-conception, that was central to the life of Justice Scalia. He conceived of himself as ‘noble’ and most others as ‘base’ or just ‘insignificant’. I think he was more like a bully, who exercised his judicial will from a position of power, that could not be challenged.The radical political nostalgia for an imagined past of white, male,heterosexual power. In an age that was hostile to claims that more properly belong in 1859 America.

If you read both the majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, written by Justice Roberts and maladroitly ‘doctored’ by Scalia, and then compare it to the Ginsberg dissent- one comes to the conclusion that Ginsberg utterly eviscerates the notion that ‘things have changed’,the central metaphor that anchors the Roberts/Scalia majority opinion, as rationale for striking down the ‘pre-clearance clause’ in the Voting Rights Act. Even given the unimpressive retaliatory remarks in the majority opinion aimed at the Ginsberg dissent: a dissent that provides ample evidence that the ‘pre-clerance clause’ is still essential to the protections of voting rights that that clause provides.

Philosophical Apprentice


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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