Justice Antonin Scalia (Jewel Sawad/Getty Images)

He's famous for his biting dissents, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia didn't disappoint Friday in his dissent in the Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage across America. This time, Scalia takes issue with the fact that his fellow justices are making social policy from the bench -- not acting as jurists, in his view -- even though they hardly represent America. He points out that they all got law degrees from Harvard or Yale or grew up on the coasts. None of them are evangelical Christians or even "a Protestant of any determination." It is a striking attack on, in Scalia's words, the "unrepresentative" biographies of the nine men and women on the Supreme Court. A New Jersey-born Catholic educated at Georgetown and Harvard, he necessarily would be among this group.

Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant. Not surprisingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination. The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.

Scalia's comments are notable not only for their biting tone but for underscoring the cultural disconnect over gay marriage. As you can see in the chart below, it's states away from the coasts that have resisted allowing gay marriage.


 

Meanwhile, certain religious groups have shown the least support for gay marriage, as seen in this report from the Pew Research Center. White evangelical Christians lead the opposition.