January 24, 2011

The phony fuss over Scalia's lecture to members of Congress.

Politico writes: 
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will speak on Monday on the separation of powers at an event organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and her Tea Party Caucus.
Organized by... but every member of Congress has received an invitation to attend.
The lecture is going on despite the objections of some observers. The New York Times editorial board called for Scalia to cancel his commitment.

“By meeting behind closed doors, as is planned, and by presiding over a seminar, implying give and take, the justice would give the impression that he was joining the throng — confirming his new moniker as the ‘Justice from the Tea Party,’” the board wrote in December.

The Times said it would oppose a similar event featuring a liberal Supreme Court justice and targeted at Democratic members of Congress. “The ideological nature of the group and the seminar would eclipse the justice’s independence and leave him looking rash and biased.”
Wouldn't it be ironic if that editorial left the NYT looking rash and biased? Some liberal members of Congress will attend the session. If anything fishy goes on, they'll let us know. I presume Justice Scalia will give the lecture he always gives about the proper role of courts in our constitutional system. I look forward to hearing about the supposedly outrageous statements that turn out to be entirely mundane within the set of things Scalia has been saying for decades.

What it all boils down to is: Liberals don't like it that Scalia is on the Supreme Court. They've never liked it. And the NYT is especially dedicated to making people think that his being on the Court is something untoward, some abuse of power. I'm sure there are some NYT readers who are titillated by that sensationalism, but I find it embarrassing.

41 comments:

ricpic said...

And Breyer has spoken to progressive organizations how many times? My guess is many times. And more power to him...provided he spoke civilly. ;^)

Quayle said...

the justice would give the impression that he was joining the throng

This is the violence of liberal orthodox thinking: you can write actual opinions that join the leftist throng of intellectual fad and fashion, but aren't supposed to even utter a word at a conservative seminar lest you create the appearance of joining a conservative throng.

New York said...

The quintessential liberal is someone who gets dewy-eyed upon hearing John Lennon's "Imagine" on the radio. He thinks about the beauty of the brotherhood of Mankind. He ponders why it is that it hasn't happened yet. He thinks of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. He gets enraged. He wants to strangle something ,...

Roger Sweeny said...

I remember when William O. Douglas was on the Court. He wouldn't just speak to, he would actively support organizations like the Sierra Club. I don't remember the Times having a problem with it then.

Perhaps their standards have gotten stricter :)

The Drill SGT said...

I thought all you lawyers had a continuing education requirement?

Since most of Congress are lawyers and in theory interesed in making laws that pass SCTUS muster, wouldn't a lecture by a sitting Justice be job related and qualify for CEU credits :)

Original Mike said...

If you ask me, Congress is in need of a remedial lecture on the Constitution.

Quayle said...

The NY Times didn't seem to have a problem with certain justices sitting quietly and being harangued by the president at last year's SOTU address.

But that wasn't a throng, no - that was civility in its highest form.

virgil xenophon said...

OXEN: Gored, one each.

Roger J. said...

Does ANYONE really give a damn what the new york times says?
Really? let them get their skivvies in a twist--

Floridan said...

@Quayle (8:37am), what follows is the entirety of Obama's "harangue":
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.

I wish all harangues were so mildly put.

David said...

The NYT editorialists hate it that Scalia is obviously smarter than they are. Now that is not so unusual, but they happen to notice it with Scalia.

Scalia is so smart that his opinions are actually comprehensible. Imagine that.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Here is a group that would benefit from a Scalia lecture about the Constitution:

"Corporations aren't people and shouldn't be able to corrupt our democracy. We need as many state legislatures as possible to get behind the call for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United ruling." (Emphasis added)

David said...

"I wish all harangues were so mildly put."

Yes, it would have been better if Quayle called it what it was. A lie.

Fred4Pres said...

Scalia is a very good justice. And a somewhat effective one (made more effective by the inclusion of Roberts). The left needs to get used to that.

Ann Althouse said...

"The NYT editorialists hate it that Scalia is obviously smarter than they are."

I can assure you that liberals in the field of law, both academics and those with high-level journalism jobs at the NYT, do not believe Scalia is smarter than they are. And they are sincere about that.

Treacle said...

Ann Althouse: "I'm sure there are some NYT readers who are titillated"

Me: It's a glorious thing to behold an erection in the body politic.

Peter said...

Ann said, conclusively:

What it all boils down to is: Liberals don't like it that Scalia is on the Supreme Court. They've never liked it. And the NYT is especially dedicated to making people think that his being on the Court is something untoward, some abuse of power.

The Althousian response to this should be obvious:

"Really? All liberals have never liked that Scalia is on the court? That is false as a matter of fact: many liberals are perfectly happy when Scalia comes down strongly in favor of free expression or against unreasonable searches. And as rhetoric, it is pure bluster. Indeed, it is the kind of bluster that allows one to inflate one overcooked claim about one Scalia extra-judicial decision into an corporate 'dedication' to delegitimize Scalia's entire 25-year term."

"And yet, in a broader sense, why shouldn't liberals -- whoever they are -- dislike Scalia's presence on the court, if they feel that he makes poor decisions, holds a disreputable theory of constitutional interpretation, and so on? Indeed, it is in their interest to undermine efforts -- like Bachmann's -- to reaffirm Scalia's leadership and promote his point of view. And it is in their interest to proclaim their ideological disinterestedness while doing so. (In the same way, it is in Bachmann's interest to invite Scalia to her event, all the while proclaiming that the proceedings are open and unbiased.)"

"This is how the vigorous discourse of politics works, and it's a little odd to see someone so shocked that it operates this way. I'm sure there are blog readers who find such sensationalist rhetoric titillating, but I find it embarrassing."

"Posted by: Ann-Other Althouse"

traditionalguy said...

A "Phony Fuss" is the slickest way to fool uneducated by standers. The pretense of a righteous fight over a non existent event draws support against the evil actions of ( fill in the blank...Palin, Scalia, etc.)that NEVER happened. The well known evil deeds of the Polish Terrorists against Germans justified the German's righteous military invasion in 1939. How could those Polish folks have been such violent fools?

PaulV said...

Is Floridian is favor of book burning? Is he unaware that foreign contibutions to US political campaigns are still illegal under CU, despite the fact that Obama campaign turned off control for credit card campaigns and receive plenty of foreign political contributions in 2008?
LOL!

PatCA said...

He better not accept any dinner invitations from grad students.

Floridan said...

@PaulIV (10:17am)"Is Floridian is favor of book burning?"

I isn't.

I'm not sure what your point might be. Mine was that whatever you think about Obama's comments regarding the SC decision, the tone or wording of it did not rise to the level of a "harangue."

tom beebe said...

I've posted this elsewhere...Ifeel it's apropos to this discussion in that the Scalia called for state legislatures to initiate an ammendment to exclude special interess from campaign finance. Let's all remembr that special interests can and should include all kinds...corporations, unions, even Justice Douglas' beloved Sierra club. How? here's my suggestion"
No candidate for the Presidency or either house of Congress shall accept contributions in cash or in kind from any organization or group of persons for expenses incurred in a campaign for that office. All such contributions shall be made only by individual citizens who shall attest that the funds or other items of value are from their own resources and that they have not received, nor have they been promised, offsetting items of value from any other party in exchange for their contribution. The identity and extent of contributions to such campaigns shall be made public for a period of thirty days from receipt before being employed or used as collateral for a loan by such campaigns. Organizations of any type may, without restriction, expend money to advocate a position on any issue before or likely to come before the electorate insofar as no candidate’s name or description is included in their expressions of advocacy.

No person may be elected or appointed to either house of Congress more than two times.

former law student said...

Let Dennis Kucinich organize a closed door talk by Anthony Kennedy. No conservative would see a problem with that, right? As long as it was open to all of Congress.

former law student said...

Let's all remembr that special interests can and should include all kinds...corporations, unions, even Justice Douglas' beloved Sierra club.

These are three very different sorts of groups.

1. Voluntary advocacy groups, like the NRA or the Sierra Club. These advertise their point of view well in advance, so that people who join them do so because their personal views are aligned with the group's views. This would include Citizens United as well.

2. Unions whose membership may be involuntary, but who are supposed to represent their members' interests.

3. For-profit corporations whose point of view may or may not align with their shareholders', who often do not even know who their shareholders are because the shares are nominally held by brokerage houses, mutual funds, 401K plans, etc.

PaulV said...

FLS, CU was a non profit corp for your information.
Floridan, why accept BO' false statement about legality about of foreign contributions, especially since his campaign accepted foreign
Credit card contibutions. I noticed you failed to repond to that part of my post. I joked about book burning, it was a DVD, but US attorneys said that book banning was OK. Please respond if you can.

PaulV said...

FLS, a meeting with Kennedy might would educate Kuninich more than you would like. Not good for Kennedy to be exposed to left wing loons anyway.

tom beebe said...

I obviously disagree with law students assertion that we can consistently differentiate between voluntaary and involuntary memberships in groups. Under debate right now are the terms inder which one must/can join a union. My point is that ALL groups exist for a "special interest" and thus blot out the common interest of all individuals. Some will say my ideas leave he wealthy individuals more power. So? I heard no objections from those "some" to Joe Kennedy, Jay Rockefeller or George Soros to name three. I do hear complaints about the Koch family.
I have another separate cause and discussion I'd enjoy discussing with law student. He hit the nail on the head entifying "voluntarism" as an important priciple. If he'll email me tbeebe6535@yahoo.com, I'll continue it there without detracting from this blog.

PaulV said...

FLS, CU was voluntary group.
Why does Dept of labor refuse to enforce federal law saying that forced union dues used for political purposes should be refunded to workers who ask for it?
Forgot insurance compamies ran favorable ads for Obamacare extorted by corrupt administration?

former law student said...

Why does Dept of labor refuse to enforce federal law saying that forced union dues used for political purposes should be refunded to workers who ask for it?

Define "political purposes." Only voluntary contributions to a union's PAC are supposed to go to candidates, not union dues.

Alex Ignatiev said...

The idea that it is beneficial for our highest court to be insulated from the world is absurd. Do you want a trial judge who steadfastly maintains an ignorance over every subject that may come before him, or that he has ruled on, or indeed the very attorneys who appear before him? Judges are people too. The idea that judges should be barred from having private conversations on public policy with policymakers is handsdown the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Alex said...

The quintessential liberal is someone who gets dewy-eyed upon hearing John Lennon's "Imagine" on the radio. He thinks about the beauty of the brotherhood of Mankind. He ponders why it is that it hasn't happened yet. He thinks of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. He gets enraged. He wants to strangle something ,...

This is basically how 99% of liberals are.

Alex said...

Only voluntary contributions to a union's PAC are supposed to go to candidates, not union dues.

BULLSHIT!!!!!

Alex said...

Let Dennis Kucinich organize a closed door talk by Anthony Kennedy. No conservative would see a problem with that, right?

That's because Kucinich is a shithead and Kennedy is a fucking RINO.

Skipper50 said...

The scandal isn't the lecture, but the fact that Congress needs such lectures to understand the Constitution they're sworn to uphold.

Cedarford said...

(organized by) Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and her Tea Party Caucus.

I don't think the average Tea Party member is a supporter of Republican far Right fringer Bachmann. And don't like their movement being opportunistically exploited be her claiming to be one of their bosses. Nor does Republican leadership like or respect her demand that despite her junior status she is now a Top House Republican Leader because she "is the voice of the Tea Party".

A good slapdown is in order.

Worth reminding the "ideological purity" means being to the right of Reagan crowd that if they lose the next election on Purity, the actuarial odds are Obama names replacements for both Ruthie and Antonin.

MadisonMan said...

...followed by the tedious blogstorm fuss about the phony fuss over Scalia's lecture....

tom beebe said...

Ale:
Surely you don't think our DOJ, under the esteemed Attorney General Eric Holder, would be anything less than diligent in monitoring the sources and uses of big union funds.

Stephen said...

How about Justice Thomas's multi year failure to disclose his wife's employment! Also trivial?

Maguro said...

How about Justice Thomas's multi year failure to disclose his wife's employment! Also trivial?

According to the Supreme Court Ethics Office...yes. Yes it is.

Saint Croix said...

Ann is right, completely phony fuss.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/139827-scalia-no-plans-to-attend-state-of-the-union

At least four Democrats attended the unusual briefing with Scalia. Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Mel Watt (N.C.) participated in the event alongside many GOP freshmen lawmakers and a handful of veteran GOP members.

Only four Democrats, and five of the Republican old guard, are interested in hearing a Supreme Court Justice talk about the Constitution?

Everybody else in the crowd is Tea Party, apparently. That speaks volumes.

McIntyre called Scalia “engaging and entertaining,” a common reaction from lawmakers who attended.

Lawmakers said a number of hot-button issues came up, as members asked Scalia’s views on the constitutionality of earmarks, the line-item veto and the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Scalia weighed in on issues that the Court has already ruled on, like the line-item veto and the EPA, but he would not discuss issues that could come before the justices in the future.


So his talk was about as controversial as a Supreme Court nominee discussing the caselaw.

What an embarrassing paper the New York Times is now.

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