This post first appeared on July 11, 2011
Remarks rumored to have been delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia at an Opus Dei gathering on July 4, 2011
Eleven score and fifteen years ago our Incorporators brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in free markets, and dedicated to the proposition that all corporate persons are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great financial and legal crisis, testing whether those markets, or any markets so conceived and so dedicated, can long remain totally free. We are met on an inflated balance sheet of that crisis. We have come to extend a mighty portion of assets, as a book value preserving holding place for corporate persons who finessed enormous fortunes through beggaring men and women so that those corporate persons might prosper. It is altogether fitting and proper that we, the free market acolytes of corporate persons, should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot hypothecate — we cannot market rate — we cannot estimate – these assets. The financially engineered persons, living free on the indebtedness and taxes of men and women, are the true heroes who innovated here. They have hypothecated and traded these derivatives far beyond our poor imaginations to do more than extend and pretend. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us their nominal trustees, rather, to be dedicated to the unfinished work that they who morally hazarded and secreted away so much have thus far so nobly advanced. It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining — that from these free and mighty and untaxed persons we take increased devotion to that cause for which every day they insist on the last full measure of Constitutional personhood — that we here highly resolve that these legal persons shall not have incorporated in multiple jurisdictions in vain — that our free markets, under Mammon, shall have a new birth of corporate freedoms — and that government of the persons, by the persons, for the persons shall not perish from the earth.