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Luis M. Alvarez, Associated Press
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addresses the ACC America, Association of Corporate Counsel Washington Metropolitan (WMACCA) Chapter, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in McLean, Va.

McLEAN, Va. — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says using the courts, rather than elected legislatures, to assert abortion rights is akin to "sneaking it in through a back door."

Scalia is one of the court's most outspoken opponents of the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that declared a woman's right to an abortion. He repeated his long-held view Thursday that the Constitution is silent on abortion and that judges should stay out of the issue.

The 75-year-old justice calls himself an "originalist" in interpreting the text of the Constitution as it was understood by the people who adopted it. In a colorful attack on those high court colleagues who don't share his approach, Scalia said it's "absolute madness" to allow the nine justices to decide the Constitution means whatever they say.