Weekend at Antonin’s: A Suggestion on how to solve the Scalia Problem
Let’s just disinter him, pop him in formaldehyde, and keep him on the Supreme Court
The Grotesque, in all its perverse glory, has been one of the delights of this election, but, so far, it hasn’t really embraced the Gothic.
He almost managed himself to supply it with the Gothic-ish trappings of his death; expiring – Umberto Eco would have enjoyed dramatizing this – while at the gathering of a robe-wearing, centuries-old hunting society called the Order of St Hubertus.
In an article yesterday, the Washington Post described the Order of St Hubertus as a “secretive society”, although considering they maintain a website complete with a contact page they appear to have missed the secrecy memo. Despite the whiff of conspiracism to the Post’s article, I’m personally feeling pretty positive about the Order. I’m certain that a society dedicated to the ancient rituals of hunting would only allow members – like the late, lamented Scalia – sophisticated enough to understand that they are uses, both practical and decorative, for a corpse – and, indeed, the benefits of keeping Scalia’s corpse on the Supreme Court are practical and decorative.
Firstly, it would allow both parties an easy out on the matter of who to replace Scalia. McConnell has claimed that any candidate put forward by Obama as Sacalia’s replacement will be rejected. Keeping Scalia would put a stop to such political brinkmanship. Indeed, I envisage putting the mummified corpse of Judge Scalia on the Supreme Court as being the first step in returning a sense of decorum to Washington politics.
Secondly, and this was is delightful, it would allow Justice Ginsberg to keep her occasional dates with her bestie – evenings at the Opera, summer afternoons spent para-gliding.
The finer details can be worked out later, but I would like to see the Jim Henson Workshop involved in putting some kind of animatronic system into the cadaver – Frank Oz can then use the corpse to perform with. Oz can improv some bitchy legal put-downs, it really would be like we never lost Scalia. Having the Jim Henson Workshop involved would also be a great way of introducing children to the nuances of constitutional law. There’s lots of opportunities here – Scalia Corpse appearing on Sesame Street, Tickle Me Scalias, etc.
Is it a little too out there? Well, the law does like precedence, and so if it’s acceptable to put a corpse on trial, as Pope Stephen VII did when he exhumed a predecessor, Pope Formosus, and put him on trial in the Cadaver Synod of 897, then is it so weird if we have a cadaver on the Supreme Court?
As a Constitutional Originalist, I think Scalia would approve of this as this could be the first brave step in taking Originalism to its logical conclusion. If it works well we could have John Jay, the first Chief Supreme Court Judge, dug up from his grave in Rye, New York. Through a healthy mixture of grave desecration and seances we can have a truly Originalist Supreme Court to help us navigate through the constitutional ambiguities so often found in C21st America (even if such a Supreme Court bench being made up entirely of dead, white males might be lacking in the diversity the Democrats would probably like to see).
I am certain, however, that Scalia would not have wanted his body rotting in the grave, his bodily tissue breaking down and feeding the surrounding natural landscape, helping that Poplar near to his headstone grow – doesn’t that sounds a little too like the Living Tree Doctrine of constitutional interpretation? This idea of putting him back where he should be, this is what he would have wanted.