Justice Antonin Scalia was on "60 Minutes" trying to explain Originalist constitutional thinking to Leslie Stahl, and he might as well have been talking to the wall:
Scalia has no patience with so-called activist judges, who create rights not in the Constitution - like a right to abortion - by interpreting the Constitution as a "living document" that adapts to changing values.
"It is an enduring Constitution that I want to defend," he says.
"But what you're saying is, let's try to figure out the mindset of people back 200 years ago? Right?" Stahl asks.
"Well, it isn't the mindset. It's what did the words mean to the people who ratified the Bill of Rights or who ratified the Constitution," Scalia says.
"As opposed to what people today think it means," Stahl asks.
"As opposed to what people today would like," Scalia says.
"But you do admit that values change? We do adapt. We move," Stahl asks.
"That's fine. And so do laws change. Because values change, legislatures abolish the death penalty, permit same-sex marriage if they want, abolish laws against homosexual conduct. That's how the change in a society occurs. Society doesn't change through a Constitution," Scalia argues.
Values do change, and that's what the law is for. Bedrock principles do not change, and that is what the Constitution is for. That seems so basic to any understanding of a constitutional republic's operation, but so many people are willing to blur the role of the Constitution and the law. If you really buy into the "living Constitution" argument, you're willing to let nine people tell you what the law of the land is. And they might do things you like or things you abhor, and you will live under the tyranny of the whim of the moment.