Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (searchridiculed his court's recent ruling legalizing gay sex, telling an audience Thursday that the ruling ignores the Constitution in favor of a modern, liberal sensibility.

The ruling, Scalia said, "held to be a constitutional right what had been a criminal offense at the time of the founding and for nearly 200 years thereafter."

Scalia adopted a mocking tone to read from the court's June ruling that struck down state antisodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere.

Scalia wrote a bitter dissent in the gay sex case that was longer than the ruling itself.

On Thursday, Scalia said judges, including his colleagues on the Supreme Court (search), throw over the original meaning of the Constitution when it suits them.

"Most of today's experts on the Constitution think the document written in Philadelphia in 1787 was simply an early attempt at the construction of what is called a liberal political order," Scalia told a gathering of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

"All that the person interpreting or applying that document has to do is to read up on the latest academic understanding of liberal political theory and interpolate these constitutional understandings into the constitutional text."

Scalia is a hero those who favor a strict adherence to the actual text of the Constitution.

The 50-year-old Intercollegiate Studies Institute is a private education organization that sponsors lectures and conferences and scholarships. The group says its mission is to, "enhance the rising generation's knowledge of our nation's founding principles — limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise and Judeo-Christian moral standards."

ISI draws much of its funding from conservative foundations, including three controlled by or associated with billionaire philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife, a vehement critic of former President Clinton (search).

Scalia spoke after standing with some 800 others to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Supreme Court announced last week that it will hear a case testing the constitutionality of the current version of the pledge as it is recited in public schools and that Scalia will not take part.

Scalia apparently sidelined himself because of remarks he made earlier this year critical of a lower court ruling in the case. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had found the pledge was unconstitutional in public school classroom because of the phrase, "one nation, under God."

The Supreme Court could decide to strip the words "under God" from the patriotic oath or rule that the mention of God does not violate the notion of separation of church and state.