The late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia understood that the foundation of democracy is an accountable federal government. In the clip below, he takes the Supreme Court to task for dictating rights and values to the American people -- and calls for an Article V Convention of States to keep them in their place.
"I have talked about the need for a convention because somehow the federal legislature has gotten out of our control, and there is nothing we can do about it. One can say the same thing about the federal judiciary," Scalia said. "And that is one reason I am willing to take the chance in having a convention despite some doubts that now exist. I am not sure how much longer we have. I am not sure how long a people can accommodate to directives from a legislature that it feels is no longer responsive, and to directives from a life-tenured judiciary that was never meant to be responsive, without ultimately losing its will to control its own destiny.
"It utterly amazes me that we are all sitting breathlessly, waiting for the Supreme Court to decide our fundamental beliefs with respect to this particular issue, without having a hope of getting anything done about it if the Supreme Court should find that our fundamental beliefs are, in fact, different from what we think they are," he continued. "We have no recourse. There is not a chance that the Congress will overturn any decision that the Supreme Court hands down in the Weber case. And unless this alternative method of amending the Constitution is adopted, we will continue to live under what I consider an innately nondemocratic system. It is foolish to sit, wringing one's hands, wondering what the Supreme Court is going to tell us the Constitution requires on an issue such as this.
"It is not as though we have had a sacrosanct, untouched Constitution," he concludes. "The Constitution has been changed, whether we have liked it or not, during the last 200 years, and not merely by the ratification process. Many of the decisions of the Supreme Court have made fundamental alterations without giving us any opportunity to say whether we liked them. So it is not a matter of whether we leave the Constitution untouched, but whether we prevent somebody else from touching it in a way that we don't want."
Be sure to check out Justice Scalia's other comments from this 1979 American Enterprise Institute forum!