Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More Scalia

Scalia Showing His Softer Side (washingtonpost.com): "Scalia made the case that his 'originalist' jurisprudence should be welcome to all -- even liberals. 'I have my rules that confine me,' he said. 'When I find it, the original meaning of the Constitution, I am handcuffed.' He said that's why he allows flag burning 'even though I don't like to' and strong jury-trial guarantees. 'Though I'm a law-and-order type, I cannot do all of the mean, conservative things I'd like to do to the society,' he said.
Scalia's message to Democratic senators: Hold your filibuster.
The justice made a point of showing that he can be crosswise with conservatives, even on a matter involving sexual orientation. 'Conservatives are willing to grow the Constitution to cover their favorite causes just as liberals are,' he said."
In his talk yesterday, Scalia acknowledged a certain notoriety. He expressed amusement that he is often asked " 'When did you first become an originalist?' like it's a weird affliction that seizes people, like 'When did you start eating human flesh?' " And he observed, with some pride: "My most important function on the Supreme Court is to tell the majority to take a walk."

He also showed there is no danger of him succumbing to the whims of political correctness. Discussing a case about the BMW painting process, he surmised that the vehicles' coating is "baked seven times in ovens deep in the Alps by dwarves."

But Scalia suggested that he is a last voice of reason and sanity at a time when much of the nation has been tempted into a nihilist theory of the Constitution as a "living document" capable of being stretched to fit whatever a judge wants. By contrast, he acknowledged that he is dispensing some "tough medicine" in leading people away from the "lovely fields" of former chief justice Earl Warren.

When it came time for questions, the newly visible justice made reference to his customary secrecy. Asked whether he'd like to answer on the dais or from the lectern, Scalia chose the latter. "I like to hide behind something," he said."

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