Supreme Court

Scalia Says Supreme Court Not in Strife Over Obamacare Ruling


NPR's Nina Totenberg sat down with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who's out promoting his new book Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, and the discussion inevitably turned to the Court's controversial ruling upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the recent reports that Chief Justice John Roberts' vote in favor of Obamacare had enraged the Court's other conservatives. As Totenberg writes:

Citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the court's internal deliberations, CBS reported that Chief Justice John Roberts had changed his mind while considering the health care case, and that his reversal infuriated the four other court conservatives, who dissented.

Scalia, however, disputed any notion that the decision sparked anger and acrimony inside the court.

"That's just not the way justices of the Supreme Court behave, going into pouts. I mean that — it's absurd," he said. "If you can't disagree even vehemently on the law without taking it personally and getting angry at the person, you ought to look for another job." As if to prove the point, Scalia added that his "best friend on the court is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and God knows she doesn't vote my way much of the time."

The justice refused to discuss the court's internal deliberations, but added pointedly, "You shouldn't believe this stuff that you read in the press [about internal deliberations]. It's either made up or comes from an unreliable source."

Read the whole thing here. Read Reason's Obamacare coverage here.

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  1. It ought to be you sorry fat papist bastard.

    1. Why? What would be the point?

  2. Good. Can we put to bed the canard that Roberts changed his mind now? Or are anonymous CBS sources (the network that gave us Rathergate) more reliable than an actual justice.

    1. I didn’t exactly parse a denial that Roberts changed his mind out of what he said (at least what’s in the post above).

      Maybe somewhere else he says “Roberts voted to uphold the mandate the day after oral arguments.”

      1. The only firm denial I saw is that he’s pissed at Roberts.

      2. I agree with RC here. Roberts changed his mind, but I also believe that the Jurists are professionals, and are by the nature of their work, in disagreement on some of the nations most pressing issues. If they were pouters, the job would be impossibly unprofessional.

        But Roberts changed his mind. Scalia just isn’t as pissed about it as Slate (or Reason) might have you think.

    2. Is Scalia disputing that point? He’s just disputing that they got all pissy about it.

      And I don’t believe him for a second anyhow. They’re not Vulcans FFS. They’re going to get emotional. And yes, even angry. That doesn’t mean they still can’t go out for cocktails afterwards.

      1. Tulpa’s point is that the credibility of the source is in question since it sounds the “conservative wing of the court had a hissy fit” claim was made up.

        1. Exactly. And the credibility of the source was in question as soon as the story was published. A source that knew what they claimed to know would also have known what the court’s decision was going to be and didn’t leak it for much more $$$; why would they leak something like this after the fact, which will get them in just as much trouble if they’re found out?

          My guess is that the reporter made up an unfalsifiable story to garner name recognition. If she had made up a prediction of the decision she actually would have been taking a risk, but there’s no risk in this.

          1. Which source is in question? Why are you assuming all of the supposed leaks came from the same source?

            1. Why assume that all of the leaks occured after the decision?

              1. This leak would give away what the decision was, no? You’re telling me that CBS knew beforehand what the decision was going to be but didn’t report it?

                1. I’m saying that someone knew what the decision was beforehand, and used that information to pressure Roberts to change his vote.
                  And it worked.

                  That “someone” might not have been a journalist.

            2. Why are you assuming all of the supposed leaks came from the same source?

              Because the whole thing originated with that one CBS report, and nobody else is claiming to have independent sources.

        2. The “conservative wing of the court has a hissy fit” thing was made up by lefties who wanted to claim that the leaks came from the conservative justices.

          Actually, it’s clear that Roberts did switch his vote, and it’s likely that his original no vote was leaked before the switch. That’s what prompted the pressure that everyone was being reported being directed against Roberts in mid-May. Which is about the time he supposedly changed his vote.

          The “hissy fit” was the flurry of responses from conservative commentators to that pressure campaign.

      2. Picture him and Ginsburg waking up in a cheap beltway hotel after a night of disagreeing over cocktails.

        1. Can I not? I do like to have an appetite.

      3. I don’t believe him either.

        I think he’s engaged here in a pretty transparent attempt to try and preserve what tiny little amount of credibility the Scrotus and the robes on it still have left.

  3. made-up and unreliable is a staple for entertainment whether comedy or wingnut radio. pass the brocolli please…

    1. or ABC, NBC or any other mainstream “news” cast.

  4. A nice blood fued would be entertaining.

    1. Thunderdome: SCOTUS. 9 geezers enter, none leave, we all win.

  5. Who gives a shit what these fucks are feuding about, or whether they aren’t? It doesn’t change the fact that they’ll continue to make strangely arbitrary rulings that can effect most of our lives, and from their track record, it seems most of those rulings are going to be for the worse.

    1. bachmann and glen beck could lead the investigation into their un-american activities.

      1. Rush Limbaugh. You forgot Rush Limbaugh. And does Shrike know you’re using his computer?

    2. Yep. About the only area that I’ve been encouraged about wrt their rulings has been on the second amendment, and even then it’s been those stupid 5-4 rulings that could go the other way in the future.

      1. Exactly. When the only positive rulings are always squeakers at 5-4, it’s not exactly a reason to be positive about things. It means the majority of the time they’re conclusively making shitty rulings. Yay!

        1. How was traffic in your area the other day? Apparently the emperor raised a little over $4m from the suckers around here.

          1. Every southbound avenue was a parking lot. And 1st was terrible northbound too.

            Luckily for me, I walk to work.

            The Big O was hosted by a Cisco CEO or something like that. It was over in Bellevue and it still fucked shit up bad. Imagine if it had been on Mercer Island or even…downtown.

            1. When I was in Austin he did a fundraiser downtown at rush hour.

            2. Good times. I stirred a lot of shit up on the Times comment pages about that. I said something like “I wonder if he’ll go to Boeing, point to one of the aircraft on the production line and tell the assemblers ‘you didn’t build that.'” It’s like shooting fish in a bucket.

    3. They are top men Episiarch. They went to the best schools. That means they are smarter than you. If you don’t believe me, just ask Scalia. He will tell you all about it.

      Those decisions just seem arbitrary because you are not a top man like they are.

      1. I guess that makes us all bottoms.

      2. Top men: reminds me of this stooges bit:

        1. Trivia at 5:42
          “Grab them in the name of the New World Order!”

  6. “That’s just not the way justices of the Supreme Court behave, going into pouts. I mean that ? it’s absurd,” he said.

    “We just don’t get that worked up over the Constitution around here.”

    1. I’d vote the opposite of Roberts for one year as punishment.

      1. That’d probably, on balance, turn out to be good for us.

      2. “Very beautiful trick, if not careful top man breaking every bone”

  7. Come on Root, that is screaming for alt-text.

    1. “I once didn’t give a fuck thiiiiiiiis big.”

    2. “I could have put my foot up his ass this far.”

  8. You shouldn’t believe this stuff that you read in the press [about internal deliberations].

    Often good advice, even without the brackets.

  9. Nina Toadenberg?!

  10. As if to prove the point, Scalia added that his “best friend on the court is Ruth Bader Ginsburg,

    *Considers the result of a Scalia/Ginsburg cross.*


  11. Scalia added that his “best friend on the court is Ruth Bader Ginsburg…”

    I seem to remember a SugarFree story that started that way.

  12. I thought the other day that if he wanted to, the Chief Justice could always vote with the majority. Basically, be like the VEEP and be a tie-breaker vote.

    If the rest split 4-4, you decide. Otherwise always vote with the majority. It would lessen the number of 5-4 decisions, turning 5-3 votes into 6-3 votes. And etc.

    Not sure if it would be a good idea or not, but I could see doing it, if you considered leadership of the court to be the most important factor and not your specific vote on specific issues. It would preclude the Chief from writing dissents.

  13. Maybe not proper behavior for a supreme court justice, but if he cared about the constitution, and the law of the land like he should, he’d be pissed.

  14. What a bunch of pompous windbags!

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