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During a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia said that U.S. Constitution is vastly inferior to that of one of our long defunct enemies:
The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours. I mean it literally. It was much better. We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press, big deal! The guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press of street demonstrations and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account.
“The bill of rights of the former ‘evil empire,’ the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours,’’ Antonin Scalia told a congressional panel last October. “I mean it literally: It was much better. We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. Big deal. They guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of street demonstrations and protests, and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account. Whoa, that is wonderful stuff!’’
Why no outrage? Because Scalia went on to make the point that the Soviet constitution was nothing but “words on paper,’’ a fig leaf for tyranny. By contrast, America’s constitutional system — with its careful separation of powers and government institutions checking and balancing each other — has proved a bulwark against tyranny. Only someone brazenly yanking Scalia’s words out of context could have accused him of revering the Kremlin’s Potemkin constitution more than the one drafted in Philadelphia in 1787….