April 9, 2014

"Do you see what I have to go through every time we have one of these goddamned conferences?!" said Justice Scalia...

... to Andrew Napolitano, one time at a dinner, where Sandra Day O'Connor was also present. Justice Scalia was saying something and — as Napolitano tells it, "Justice O'Connor said something about how his general point didn't apply to the specific area of maritime law. He turned to her and said, 'Let me finish!'" And then Scalia whispered the snark in the post title.

I'm sure that anecdote provokes — in some circles — the countersnark: If he doesn't like it, he ought to retire. And, in fact, the linked article describes a recent Brooklyn Law School appearance at which a student asked:
"There have been many calls for Justice Ginsburg to retire... Would you take some of the pressure off her and retire instead?"
We're told there was "a roar of laughter." Scalia said: "Sure, I'll retire. As soon as there's a decently conservative President in office to appoint my successor." I'm just kidding. He said: "I said I would take questions—I didn't say I would answer them."

Which is almost as cheeky as the time Chief Justice Rehnquist, asked if he'd retire, said: "That's for me to know and you to find out."

7 comments:

EDH said...

When another student asked, referring to Mr. Scalia's originalism, "Why should society be bound by laws that were passed only by white male property owners," he hesitated for a few seconds, longer than he had all evening. "That's a reasonable position," he smiled. "You people wanna make a revolt? Do it!"

After Althouse told us this morning that John Lennon is 'dead'.

You say you wanna a revolution
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world...

You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We'd all love to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead

Ann Althouse said...

@EDH That's his standard answer to that question. I heard him give it years ago here at Wisconsin. I think the quote I heard was: "Then go start a revolution."

He is absolutely and intentionally referring to revolution.

We're inside the constitutional system now, governed by that writing, which Scalia interprets according to original meaning, and he's hardcore about that. If you pressure him, he'll inform you that you're talking about revolution.

He fully means to say that.

Ann Althouse said...

A corollary is: He's a judge, so he performs the judicial role, interpreting and applying the law. He cannot do anything else. If something else ought to be done, his answer is that he can't do it, he stays within his role within the existing system, but other people can do it. They can overthrow the whole system.

EDH said...

He's a judge, so he performs the judicial role, interpreting and applying the law. He cannot do anything else.

"Don't cha know that you can count me out... in."

Gahrie said...

We're inside the constitutional system now, governed by that writing, which Scalia interprets according to original meaning

There is no point in having a Constitution if you are not going to follow the original meaning. What is the point of writing it down if you are going to change what it says?

Gahrie said...

Personally, i think we are fast approaching the point where we will need to take Jefferson's advice and water the tree of Liberty again...

Dan Hossley said...

We get a chance at revolution every two years for the House, six years for the Senate and four years for the President. If that doesn't do it, we can always amend the Constitution.

Maybe that is what he means.