Justice Antonin Scalia is known for his brilliant writing, his witty asides and his pointed questions. He is not known, however, for holding his tongue.
So there’s a good chance he’ll have something interesting to say as he launches his book tour and sits down for a TV interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan today at the Supreme Court.
What could he say?
Scalia could address his loss in the health care case. Scalia, joined by Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas wrote a bitter dissent. Here’s a taste:
“The values that should have determined our course today are caution, minimalism, and the understanding that the Federal Government is one of limited powers. But the Court’s ruling undermines those values at every turn. ”
Read Scalia’s Criticism for Political Views in Decisions HERE
Or the language he used in dissent from the Court’s opinion that blocked provisions of Arizona’s immigration law from going into effect:
“The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.”
Or maybe his take, in the same dissent, on an issue not directly in front of the Court: President Obama’s announcement (made after the immigration case had been argued but before it was released) of a new program that allows some young undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children to stay in the country.
“The President said at a news conference that the new program is the “right thing to do” in light of Congress’s failure to pass the Administration’s proposed revision of the Immigration Act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind.”
Maybe, just maybe, he’ll talk about the unprecedented leaks sourced well within the Court that emerged three days after the health care decision came down. Or published reports about the potential of a rift between the conservatives and Chief Justice John Roberts. Note: just last week in Venice, Justice Ruth Ginsburg was still referring to Scalia, her long time friend and ideological opposite, as her “dear colleague”.
But most likely, Scalia will address his second book with Bryan A. Garner, Reading Law: the Interpretation of Legal Texts. Scalia, a brilliant writer, has teamed up with Garner to produce a dream book for anyone who believes that legal interpretation should be rooted in a textualist approach. What does that mean? The authors argue that the current legal system has lost its mooring because it lacks a “generally agreed-on approach to the interpretation of legal texts.” They advocate an approach where judges “look for meaning in the governing text, ascribe to that text the meaning that it has borne from its inception, and reject judicial speculation about both the drafters’ extratextually derived purposes and the desirability of the fair reading’s anticipated consequences.” For another take on interpreting legal text see Justice Stephen Breyer’s own book, Active Liberty.
It’s been a busy few months for Scalia. Even in a term that did not exactly go his way, the 76 shows no signs of slowing down.