Highlights from an angry justice’s dissent.
When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.
Good government and unalienable rights. Tell it, brother.
The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government.
Clutch my stars and garters. Here comes some World-Class Wanking.
Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.
[dig·ni·ty: the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. –ed.]
Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.
I think I understand what Thomas is driving at here. By “unalienable rights” what the Founding Fathers were trying to say was “Buck up there, pal.” Or more succinctly “Chins up, grins up.” Or more grudgingly “Kids are starving in China by the way.” Just because they happened to be discussing the Rights Of Man in close proximity to declarations about how government should behave is no reason to think the one had anything to do with the other. Thank God Clarence only sits on some poor sap country’s supreme court, right? If he were, for instance, a high school teacher he could really fuck up a student’s day.
This took me about two seconds of googling:
Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins…
Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.
…Einstein on the Negro Question. Sadly Al wasn’t sharp enough to get that the slaves couldn’t be “degraded” by slavery because the wingnut Constitution and the circumspection of Clarence the Clown. If we were perhaps to come up with a corollary to Thomas’ corollary, we might say “Because you always have your dignity, our government may do whatever the hell it likes.” I’m sure that’s what the Founding Fathers intended.