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Takei To Supreme: Recuse Yourself!

Posted by T'Bonz - 13/12/12 at 11:12 am


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Gay civil rights activist George Takei has a message for Antonin Scalia; recuse yourself from the two gay marriage cases set to come before the Supreme Court.

Takei believes that Scalia is “clearly biased” after making “repugnant” statements about homosexuality recently.

Scalia, speaking at Princeton University, said “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

“I really do think – first of all, that statement was a repugnant statement to equate homosexuality with murder,” said Takei. “And any Justice who has so little thought before he speaks should not be participating in ruling on the cases involving DOMA or Proposition 8. I’m not a lawyer.”

Takei wants Scalia to follow the example of fellow Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. “Well, it seems to me that if Justice Elena Kagan can recuse herself from the Boston case, Justice Scalia needs to consider recusing himself,” said Takei. “He is obviously not unbiased. He is clearly biased in this situation. So how can he look at the issue and make a judgment fairly?”

In the video below, Takei’s comments about Scalia begin at the 2:42 mark.

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Source: The New Civil Rights Movementvia MSNBC

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  • Horatius

    Well, we can all jump on the witch-burning wagon, because this is one of the trendy issues where it is encouraged to do so, but without delving anymore into the issue, my first cut would be to ask, before lynching the man–I have a few seconds to spare, after all–well, my first cut would be to ask if the good jurist was talking about what foundation moral judgments, and hence laws, lie upon–if you have decided there can be no moral judgment against “X”, then what allows you to base a decision to have a moral judgment against “x”? I would have thought this was a perennial chestnut of late-night college dorm discussions–upon what moral basis does the law lie? Certainly it is front and center of “The Republic”. What is good? What is evil? Etc., etc.

    So, I think I’ll forgo the stoning quite yet.

    Besides, people decide things for many reasons. Why, I can name you a man who enthusiastically voted for Prop 8 because he strongly feels changes such as desired by a certain community should be enacted by legislatures to the maximum extent possible, and in California that situation did not occur. A decent respect for the opinions of mankind, as it were, on this issue of marriage expansion.

    Have a nice day.

  • Horatius

    As an exit question–should Vaughn Walker have recused himself? If not, what is the difference? Also if not, and if there is somehow a difference, are you basing it on anything deeper than “I feel thus, I must be right, therefore that which I desire, it must be done”. And does this line of reasoning sound like anything tangentially related to what Antonin Scalia might possibly be talking about?

    No one doubts each side feels it is right. One side at least has some time-honored motivations, consistent across many different societies, across millenia. Now, one doesn’t have to believe in them to concede it has been the belief of the majority of men since day one, and that societies have thrived under those standards. Not does that mean they should necessarily stand. On the other hand, I’m fully aware societies in fact can and do fail. One messes with their underpinnings with trepidation.

    That’s one side. The other side would appear to have nothing but heart-felt belief independent of any other justification. If otherwise, then they should be better at explaining why a concept should be expanded, and should have no troubles doing so, instead of acting as if it is they who have been the status quo since time-immemorial.

    And this, I think, gets at the heart of what Justice Scalia might be asking. Do you have any better arguments than “we think thus”? Because, you know, everybody has an opinion, often strongly held. What makes yours right? Could you sell it to an uninterested observer without being able to resort to ostracism? Could you actually win a debate?

    Or, to put it another way–I woud think if someone was trying to introduce something that had never really existed in the entire history of the race, they could at leadt be bothered to explain themselves, rather than demanding others justify not immediately jumping on board.

  • trekker670

    I didn’t watch the video, but Takei is looking old in the freeze-frame. Nothing wrong with that at all, just an observation.

  • Nick

    What they’re talking about is denying equality, pure and simple. You shouldn’t be able to impose your values on other people if it means denying them equality- gay people aren’t trying to change anything about how straight people live their lives, we just want to be able to live ours without being treated like second class citizens; by having the same rights as the straight majority.

  • Nick

    Hope I look as good as he does at that age quite frankly.

  • JT

    I am responding to the posting by Horatius, but I am also addressing you – the reader.

    Slavery was also time-honored – dating back as early as recorded history allows. It was also consistent among many different societies, across millenia. Just because something is time-honored and prevalent in society does not make it right.

    Furthermore, homosexuality (as we know it today) did not exist in many ancient cultures. That is not to say that there were not people who were predominantly attracted to members of the same-sex. There were. But sexuality to the ancient Greeks, for example, was not considered a characteristic of a person, but rather a personal taste. They no more thought to categorize people by who they were attracted to than we would think to categorize people by what their favorite food may be. Marriage, to the Greeks, was not about love. It was about power. It was very common (some argue prevalent) for a man to have a wife (for childbearing and domestic labor) and a lover (either male or female). There are many documented cases of two men (or women) living together as couples in the Greek society. But no one seemed to notice. To them, there was no difference. They weren’t considered wrong or outcasts. Just people whose tastes were not mainstream (akin to someone saying that their favorite dessert is fruitcake). I use the Greeks as an example, but there were many others. The Romans had a very similar outlook. Many Native American tribes considered effeminate men to be divinely blessed by the spirits, and thus elevated them to tribal shamans. Perhaps we should follow the Greek example? That way, everyone would be equal. The males, anyway. The women might beg to differ, for it was not acceptable for women to have lovers (although many did).

    The problem here is that people only have a rudimentary understanding of history and human civilization. They watch the history channel and suddenly believe that they are historians. They then go off and spout what they hear (because we all know that whatever the majority believes and repeats MUST be true) instead of understanding the much deeper truth. History is not simply a collection of names, dates and places. History is meaningless without context. So while you argue that because gay marriage did not exist throughout history – that must be correct and good – your argument is meaningless. Gay marriage did not exist because the concept of gay people did not exist. It is a recent social construct.

    So to your point that gay people should be bothered to explain themselves – they have. But their arguments have fallen on deaf ears. Social progress is never an easy transition. The civil rights movement took on many forms. It was, at times, both peaceful and violent. People, by nature, are uncomfortable with change. They are happy with the status quo, and when someone or something comes along and challenges that, they resist. Sometimes the only way to be heard to to scream.

    I understand Scalia’s argument. But his argument presupposes that homosexuality is a moral issue. THAT is the debate here. We could substitute homosexuality with any number of things. His argument is like saying that we have the right to “have moral feelings against” persons with blue eyes because we have the right to have those feelings against murder. One is an immutable characteristic (which has existed throughout time in humans and in other species), while the other is an act. Now, if you want to have a moral feeling about the BEHAVIOR of gay people, then by all means – be my guest. But that means that you have to judge the individual based on his or her behavior, and not a group of people because of who or what they are.

    The true test of morality is to put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine that you (the reader) are a heterosexual living in a culture dominated by homosexuals (ignore for a second the issue of procreation – or imagine that in this alternate universe – homosexuals were the ones who procreated). How would you feel about being unable to have the same rights and benefits as your homosexual counterparts? Imagine that you were the woman in New York who was legally married in the state of New York, but whose marriage was not recognized by the federal government – thus, you had to pay $435,000 in estate taxes when your partner died that you would not have had to pay if your marriage had been recognized. Imagine living your life knowing that in most states, your employer could legally fire you simply for being heterosexual – with no legal recourse for you.

    Or, since you are a Star Trek fan (otherwise why would you be on this board), then go back and watch the TNG episode “The Outcast” from the 5th season. If you don’t understand then, well…then I guess you are just one of those “deaf ears.”

  • fainodraino

    I think Takei is a funny guy and a good entertainer, but he is dead wrong on this issue. There is absolutely NO reason for him to recuse himself. It’s just ridiculous. Stupid, even. Unintelligent, actually.

  • Guest

    I’m sympathetic on the issue, but Scalia was NOT equating homosexuality to murder—he was making a comparison to illustrate basic issues at stake in jurisprudence, and Takei isn’t doing anyone any favors with his radical oversimplification (if not outright misunderstanding) here.

  • Guest

    The Constitution isn’t okay with discriminating against anyone for Federal recognition (in this case, marriage benefits) based on gender. To not have marriage equality is to go against the Constitution in this regard; it would be irrelevant how long people had been doing so or how strongly they felt about it or how much larger they, as a majority, were than the minority who were being denied equal treatment.

  • John (not McCain)

    I don’t have to justify myself to ignorant bigot goons no matter what court they sit on. If any given IBG can’t restrain itself from leaving me and my family alone, then I’d be more than happy to demonstrate my 2nd amendment beliefs to them.

  • Eileen8

    Did Takei want the federal judge in the CA Prop 8 gay marriage case to recuse himself because he was in a long term gay relationship and stood to clearly personally benefit from his ruling on its legality? No, I’m sure he did not. Scalia was not even making the comparison Takei claims but maybe the philosophical component went over George’s head.

  • Horatius

    I’m more than aware of the ancient Greek experience, though I challenge you on the idea that it would be “marriage”. I would say the idea of having a lover would be standard. I disagree with you on the Romans, as far as widespread cultural acceptance, but then I think we need to say which Romans we are talking about. I usually lose interest with Actium, though there is much of interest, about the abuse of power, to learn from the early Principate. And the cultural mores of the Senatorial class of the middle and late Republic were interesting in this respect, but beyond this I am not a specialist in the field. Of the middle and late Empire I know little and care less.

    Never watch the History channel. Nor do I read the original authors.

    In their original language, that is. A poverty of my upbringing.

  • brathor1

    Scalia should never have been appointed to this position. The right accuses liberals of using ‘judicial activism’ to push an agenda, but no one is more guilty of such a crime than Justice Scalia. Sadly, this man will continue to be a ornery curmudgeon for years to come.

  • brathor1

    Scalia should never have been appointed to this position. The right accuses liberals of using ‘judicial activism’ to push an agenda, but no one is more guilty of such a crime than Justice Scalia. Sadly, this man will continue to be a ornery curmudgeon for years to come.

  • milojthatch

    This is just my opinion, but I agree with a new opinion piece I read recently that the Supreme Court will up hold Prop 8 and tear down DOMA. By doing that, they up-hold the voters choice in the state of California (thus protecting states rights), and making the clear case that the Fed can’t regulate such things. In that way (legally specking of course) everyone “wins.”

    Personally, I stand by traditional marriage. I can understand how people without a faith in God can see this the way they do, and respect them for doing what they feel is right. However, I’d love to get the same respect back. Living in Los Angeles, all I get from the “loving” gay community is hate for not seeing it the way they do. We need to re-discover the art of showing respect for folks we disagree with. I realize there are plenty of “traditional marriage” folks who act like children and show no respect to the other side. That does not however make it ok for gays to do the same back to us that are willing to find peace.

    I can in fact see homosexuality as a sin and not want every gay man to die a horrid death, believe it or not. My view don’t make me a bigot anymore then someone who supports gay marriage and disagrees with me. Spewing hate towards the religious for being religious however does make you as much of a bigot as any man who actually hates gays would be!

    Takei needs to take a break. Since he came out, he’s proven to be a world class jerk, and I’m not talking about his being gay at all. I find it sad, as I used to like him as a persona and an actor.

  • SGLITZ

    Did the Supreme Court Judge Elena Kaganwho was the Solicitor General that helped write Obamacare recuse herself when that came before the court? Nope.