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Scalia defends constitutional approach in debate with ACLU president

[JURIST] US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia [LII profile] engaged in a rare televised debate [recorded video, via C-SPAN] Sunday with ACLU President Nadine Strossen [ACLU profile]. The two clashed on issues of constitutional interpretation and fundamental rights, with Scalia defending his "textualist" approach [backgrounder] to constitutional interpretation, which asks what constitutional language meant at the time it was adopted.

In the past Scalia has held that this approach clearly precludes the constitutional recognition of any right to abortion, but he noted Sunday that he actually agreed with the ACLU on several issues, saying for instance that the language of the Constitution clearly prohibits public entities from making distinctions based on race. Strossen nonetheless drew cheers from the crowd when she said, "I'm very distressed about your failure to find protections in the Constitution for the right of consenting individuals in their homes to decide what they see and read, and what type of sexual relations they have." AP has more.

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