By now you are probably aware that Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court Justice most likely to haunt your dreams, got asked some really solid questions by New York Magazine lady Jennifer Senior, and some of his answers turned out to be rather wacky. He doesn’t know for sure if he knows any gay people! He literally believes the Devil walks among us! He doesn’t even watch Duck Dynasty all that much! Oh and also, he gets all his news from right-wing fishwrappers and talk radio. Have you ever suspected that you are better informed than Antonin Scalia? CONFIRMED!
But here’s the thing — he said some fairly sane, reasonable stuff too. Actually, shouldn’t that be the headline here? ‘Old, Bellicose Man Has Brief Moments of Lucidity’? See for yourself!
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.] And then somebody sent me one.
Aside from how he recycles material here, we like this one. The repetition — it has a bit of a “we’re all mad here” vibe.
Do you think there are flaws in the Constitution?
The one provision that I would amend is the amendment provision. And that was not originally a flaw. But the country has changed so much. With the divergence in size between California and Rhode Island—I figured it out once, I think if you picked the smallest number necessary for a majority in the least populous states, something like less than 2 percent of the population can prevent a constitutional amendment.
This by itself is a very good point, but doesn’t it also sort of argue for a more flexible interpretation of the Constitution? Scalia thinks we should be nailed to the cross of the precise text of the Constitution, but he also thinks that the Founders made the Constitution too hard to amend? Ow, our brains.
What about sex discrimination? Do you think the Fourteenth Amendment covers it?
Of course it covers it! No, you can’t treat women differently, give them higher criminal sentences. Of course not.
This was too reasonable, we guess, because he goes on to ruminate dickishly on the nature of discrimination. However, he (virtually) redeems himself by saying there is “virtually” no good reason to discriminate based on skin color.
People who get used to blurbing things on the Internet are never going to be good writers.
Seinfeld was hilarious.
Troo 2. Here, Senior follows up on Scalia’s comment that liberals and conservatives have walled themselves off from each other:
True, though earlier you expressed your preference for conservative media, which itself can be isolating in its own way.
Oh, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon! [Laughs.] Social intercourse is quite different from those intellectual outlets I respect and those that I don’t respect. I read newspapers that I think are good newspapers, or if they’re not good, at least they don’t make me angry, okay? That has nothing to do with social intercourse. That has to do with “selection of intellectual fodder,” if you will.
YES okay we just quoted this for “social intercourse,” we are weak.
Fifty years from now, which decisions in your tenure do you think will be heroic?
Oh, my goodness. I have no idea. You know, for all I know, 50 years from now I may be the Justice Sutherland of the late-twentieth and early-21st century, who’s regarded as: “He was on the losing side of everything, an old fogey, the old view.” And I don’t care.
We snarklessly loved this. We also loved the part where he literally “[Punches the air.]” as he recalls how utterly brilliant and perfect was his dissent in Morrison v. Olsen. What a dick! Finally, this was fun:
[Congress] can do anything — it can stop the Vietnam War, it can make its will felt, if it can ever get its act together to do anything.
Yeah, when’s Congress gonna get around to ending that Vietnam War, already? We could use those boys in Grenada!