I have always admired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Like me, he is a proud Sicilian-American. I once had the chance to meet him at a little Chinese restaurant on Capitol Hill.
I always felt a connection to the Justice – through our Italian/Sicilian heritage and from knowing his son, Gene Scalia, who served as the Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor. Gene worked quite a bit on human trafficking issues and wage issues in the garment industry and I admired his intellect and support for workers who needed help.
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice gave a lengthy interview to CNN’s Piers Morgan. He talked about his favorite pasta dish – a Sicilian dish with sardines. (You won’t find it in my recipes section at Mama’s Italian Cucina but perhaps someone else will share a recipe.)
Scalia would not specifically address the health care decision or other recent cases nor would he discuss how the court reached its conclusions on the health care ruling in their internal deliberations in the 5-4 decision.
However, Justice Scalia questioned media reports of personal fallout among the Justices. He was on the losing side of the ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s government-mandated health care law.
“We are not a political institution,” Scalia said. “I don’t think any of my colleagues on any cases vote the way they do for political reasons.”
Scalia was specifically unhappy with the treatment by the media of Justice Roberts who surprised many judicial scholars with his opinion on the case. After all, the Supremes are the final word.
Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson once said -
“We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”
It’s true. SCOTUS is the last word and we as citizens should respect the Justices for their judicial temperment, intellect, and recognize that their appointments by Presidents with confirmation by the U.S. Senate places them in their lifetime-appointed roles.
And what was the most contentious disagreement? Scalia stated that it was the Bush-Gore decision of 2000.
My usual response is “Get over it. The court didn’t bring the case. Al Gore brought the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. The only question in Bush vs. Gore was whether the Florida Supreme Court would decide the Presidential election or if that decision would be left to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Justice Scalia’s contention is that Gore would have lost anyway.
Scalia has written a new book Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts which you can find on Amazon.
See the interview and related posts here.