Later this month, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will speak before members of the House of Representatives at the invitation of Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). According to many liberal critics, this move signifies nothing less than an unholy union between the legislative and judicial branches. "Justice Scalia should protect the integrity of the Court and cancel his appearance at this blatantly partisan, right-wing event," declared Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron. Similarly, The Nation's John Nichols asserted, "the justice has removed any doubt about his ideological preference within the Republican Party."
Do they have a point? The Los Angeles Times thinks not. As the paper argues today in an unsigned editorial:
These objections strike us as far-fetched. We have no doubt that Scalia's conservative views were a factor in Bachmann's decision to invite him. But that doesn't mean that by accepting, Scalia is endorsing her agenda or promising by a nudge and a wink to vote her way. Even so, if some representatives worry about Scalia's lecture being interpreted as a "tea party" event, they can dispel that impression by showing up.
We disagree with many of Scalia's views, such as his archaic belief that women aren't protected against discrimination by the 14th Amendment. Still, he is a learned and provocative legal thinker. If Congress is going to conduct an adult education course on the Supreme Court, his views belong in the curriculum. But so do those of his liberal colleagues. If Bachmann won't extend an invitation to them, one of her colleagues should. Meanwhile, let Scalia speak.