Most interviews with Supreme Court Justices are not even worth that. The Justices say such predictable things that I might pull out the most interesting thing or, not finding one, I skip blogging it altogether. But this interview by Jennifer Senior is so good (and long) that as I read it (before getting out of bed just now) I decided I'd pull out 9 items (the number 9 pops into my head when I'm thinking about Supreme Court Justices) and do something like:
1. He calls DVDs "CDs" (and the "CDs" in question are episodes of "Seinfeld").
2. He thinks "blurbing" on the internet is narcissistic and interferes with the process of becoming a good writer.
3. He's most proud of his opinion in Morrison v. Olson (where he's the lone dissenter in the decision that found the Independent Counsel law constitutional).
4. He thinks Congress is truly dangerous — if only it would actually use the powers it has.
5. He's not "a fan of different levels of scrutiny" in constitutional interpretation.
6. He believes in the Devil, because it's Catholic doctrine, but maybe because it's a helpful metaphor.
7. He plays poker, claims to be good at poker, but is unfamiliar with the term "tell."
8. He has friends that he knows or "very much suspect[s]" are homosexual, and doesn't like the interviewer's suggestion that — re homosexuality — he's "softened."
9. To imitate Rehnquist, he "turns his nose up theatrically, flutters his hand in dismissal."
There are more than 9 things worth treating that way...
10. You have to be very careful picking law clerks because "one dud will ruin your year."
11. His dissents have the tone they do — "breezy" and with "some thrust" — because they're written for law students and law students will read that sort of thing.
12. Back in the 80s, Supreme Court opinions were loaded with the "garbage" of legislative history (and they're not anymore, and he takes credit for that).
13. He wants the Catholic Church to be more evangelistic.
14. He blames "The Gipper" for turning the State of the Union Address into the "childish spectacle" it's become.
15. He likes Bill Bennett's radio show.
16. He won't read The Washington Post anymore because it became so "shrilly, shrilly liberal" that he can't "handle it."
17. The worst thing about the Constitution, he thinks, is that it's way too hard to amend it.
18. He "repudiate[s]" his old statement that his originalism is "fainthearted."
But I decided (at the point of finally getting out of bed) that I wanted to do a series of posts on a number of topics, taking them on individually and blogging — or blurbing — my way through and going somewhere with the idea. It's the Devil topic in particular that made me want to do that. I know there are people who are linking to this interview just to say Scalia believes in the Devil, but — is the Devil making me do this? — I feel there's a lot in his discussion of the Devil that needs to be taken apart and examined. The blog will blurb and burble.
ADDED: Here's the promised Devil post. And here's a post about a topic that isn't represented on that list of 18 things.