Most striking of all, he disdained the hedges, doubts, and qualifications that are the common fare of academic debates.
Richard Epstein in Antonin Scalia, A Most Memorable Friend.
Writes Sean Collins at Spiked:
Scalia was driven by a belief that the Supreme Court had become too powerful and political. He was deeply concerned about judges usurping the role of elected legislators. With respect to issues of morality in particular, he wanted the American people to decide for themselves. ‘If you believe in democracy, you should put it to the people’, he told Georgetown University law students in November. To me, this was his most important insight.
In his dissent to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in favour of same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, Scalia argued it was anti-democratic that five judges could decide such a major change in public policy. It is worth quoting him at length:
‘Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact — and the furthest extension one can even imagine — of the court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.’
Scalia was not saying that same-sex marriage should be illegal. He was saying it was a matter for legislatures to decide, not courts. Essentially, Scalia was defending the right for all to have a voice in a public debate about a moral issue. As he noted in his dissent in United States v Virginia (1996), a ruling that ended a men-only admissions policy to the Virginia Military Institute: ‘The virtue of a democratic system with a First Amendment is that it readily enables the people, over time, to be persuaded that what they took for granted is not so, and to change their laws accordingly. That system is destroyed if the smug assurances of each age are removed from the democratic process and written into the constitution.’
See also I'm Clarence.