Sunday, February 16, 2014

50 People to Have a Beer With, # 38: Antonin Scalia

A few weeks ago, while visiting Washington D.C. to see my daughter and her boy-friend, my daughter, Sarah, mentioned how much she was enjoying the "50 People to Have a Beer With" series. She asked who I had on my working list of people. When she saw Antonin Scalia on the list, she said: "Oh wow, can I write that one?". Sure, Sarah, you can be a guest contributor. A Father / Daughter project. How fun.

For those not familiar with the rules, you can find them HERE.

So, without further a-do... We hand the keyboard over to my daughter, Sarah.

# 38: Antonin Scalia 

Legal genius, conservative icon, and the Supreme Court Justice I love to hate.

The Constitutional Law class I took in my junior year of college required that we attend a Supreme Court oral argument; a requirement my professor had deemed “the best free show in town.”  I don’t remember the arguments of the case in the slightest. I do remember the notoriously silent Justice Thomas leaning so far back in his chair he couldn’t be seen over the bench, and Justice Scalia, on the literal edge of his seat, waiting for the attorney in front of them to take a breath so he could jump in. And when he did, the room roared with laughter at his sarcastic remark. And I couldn’t wait until he spoke again.
I disagree with Scalia about a lot.  But damn it if the man, besides being a character, isn’t brilliant.  In law school, students (OK, maybe just me…) usually skipped the dissents of the assigned cases, if for nothing else than to save time. But I usually read his out of almost sheer curiosity as to how he got to a conclusion that, to me, seemed as irrational as calling the sky green (though if the framers wrote that in the constitution, he’d argue that too). And usually, with all self-awareness, he wrote a dissent that was so snarky you just knew the other Justices rolled their eyes when they read it too. And one that was also, to my 1L brain, rock solid. 

This, from a recent interview (a highly entertaining and recommended read) he gave with New York magazine:
 “A lot of stuff that’s stupid is not unconstitutional.  I gave a talk once where I said they ought to pass out to all federal judges a stamp, and the stamp says—Whack! [Pounds his fist.]—STUPID BUT CONSTITUTIONAL.  Whack!  [Pounds again.]  STUPID BUT ­CONSTITUTIONAL!  Whack! STUPID BUT CONSTITUTIONAL … [Laughs.]”
Touche Tony.

So, please, Justice Scalia, pull up a stool and let's talk about that D.C. v. Heller majority opinion you wrote, cause I'm not really following you on that one. And not for nothing, just what do you and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, your SCOTUS BFF and liberal lioness, talk about? And what does really scare you about the America we live in today? (Spoiler Alert: It's probably liberal, millennial, guest-bloggers like me).

Nonetheless, your Honor, I'm sure spending a few hours with you in a D.C. watering hole (your choice!) would be a fascinating, albeit at times startling, and altogether humbling hang. Oh! And hey, if Ruth is free, by all means, bring her along. I got the first round.


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