The Problem With Justice Scalia
Insofar as a member of the federal judiciary has a "rock star" it is almost certainly Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia is feted at Federalist Society gatherings and he enjoys giving speeches at law schools and to civic organizations across the country. He is beloved by conservatives for his acid pen -- his dissenting opinions have been collected by an acolyte into a book -- although Scalia says, disingenuously, that his dissenting opinions are written for law students (who will read them in their casebooks). Don't believe it: Scalia's dissents are written for Scalia. See how clever I am, I can really turn a phrase.
Photo by Stephen Masker Vaffanculo
So given Scalia's love of attention, it was not surprising that he gave a long interview to New York magazine shortly before the kickoff of this year's Supreme Court term. A couple things stand out about Scalia's interview. First, he lives in a conservative media echo chamber:
What's your media diet? Where do you get your news?
Well, we get newspapers in the morning. I usually skim them. We just get The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times.
We used to get the Washington Post, but it just ... went too far for me. I couldn't handle it anymore. It was the treatment of almost any conservative issue. It was slanted and often nasty. And, you know, why should I get upset every morning? I don't think I'm the only one. I think they lost subscriptions partly because they became so shrilly, shrilly liberal.
So no New York Times, either?
No New York Times, no Post.
And do you look at anything online?
I get most of my news, probably, driving back and forth to work, on the radio.
Sometimes NPR. But not usually.
Talk guys, usually.
Do you have a favorite?
You know who my favorite is? My good friend Bill Bennett. He's off the air by the time I'm driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I'm shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It's very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people
So, Scalia listens only to other conservatives' arguments in his media diet -- I suppose this makes sense because he bought into the (inane) conservative talking point about the government can make you eat broccoli vis-a-vis the Health Care case (Obamacare's individual mandate), actually bringing it up at oral argument. Scalia has reached the stage of intellectual stasis -- I know what I know because I know it.