BY HOWELL WELLS
Scientists emerged from Justice Antonin Scalia’s Washington home last night, regretful that they had failed to save the Supreme Court mainstay’s time machine. “The unique and near-mythical device that allowed this jurist to see deep into the past is no more,” lamented Dr. Reel E. Nayeef, a researcher from the Brookhaven National Laboratory who attempted to repair the machine. When he entered what Justice Scalia called “the mystic portal” (his basement door), Nayeef was surprised to find little more than a few dusty cardboard boxes and tubes. “It looked crude, but it must have worked,” Nayeef asserted. “How else could we have maintained Justice Scalia’s brave jurisprudence of originalism up to this day?”
With the breakdown of the time machine, Scalia will have lost all communication with the Founding Fathers. “How will we ever know about what Jefferson would have thought about fake Twitter accounts as grounds for libel claims?” he asked. “It’s a good thing I found out early on that these establishmentarian Anglicans and committed deists would never look unfavorably on my fanatical Catholicism and metastasizing family.”
Details about the time machine began to leak in the early 1990s, when Scalia started to produce increasingly erratic opinions grounded in original intent, but little historical evidence. “I was forced to finally admit,” the Justice noted in a retrospective interview, “that I had actually conquered time.” Still, Scalia warned against visits to the device, which he insisted was unstable and dangerous. He silenced critics by noting that, should he fail to return from the 18th century, President Clinton would be empowered to appoint his successor. Reports did leak around 2001 that Vice President Dick Cheney had used the apparatus. Rumors even flew that the “secret, undisclosed location” in which the notoriously secretive Vice President was hiding was, in fact, the year 1957.
Among the most famous outings of the machine was a late 1990s debate Justice Scalia held with Justice Breyer over internet child porn. “He was insisting,” said Scalia, “that there was no way I could know what John Adams had to say about it. And I said, oh yeah? I asked him myself. And he insisted that no democracy could survive that deprived its citizens of such a basic freedom. Then he asked me whether he could see what I had described as ‘magic box molestation’ himself”.
Scalia is concerned that, without the time machine, he may be forced to interpret the Constitution in accordance with contemporary social needs. “Before, when I visited 1788, I could describe things like television to the Founders in terms they could explain,” Scalia said. “Take the recent election. They were somewhere between amused and alarmed when I told them that a Mohammedan Negro from the Spice Islands – and one with Jacobin leanings, no less – had seized the executive office. Actually, there’s a funny story behind this, because they asked me why Obama had not arrived a slave, and I said, ‘whoa, look at the time back in the 21st century … and bounced.'”
Asked what the Founders had directed him with regard to constitutional interpretation after he had introduced Obama, Scalia noted that “when they heard this, they told me they had, in fact, never wanted to give the president so much power. It was a good thing that they had realized they had given me a mistaken impression just then, considering how eager they had been to prop up the office after I told them, back in 2004, that the office was in the capable hands of WASPs descended from the Mayflower. Just imagine if Bush had used my interpretations to abuse the powers of his office!”
Now, Scalia said, he was concerned that, when documents failed him and the times felt like they had changed beyond the capacity of the founders to imagine, he was going to have to rely on pure reason. “Is there a compelling state interest to regulate inciteful Facebook status messages?” Scalia asked. “If I can’t get [Gouverneur] Morris’ opinion on it, how will I ever know?”