Court Watch: Antonin Scalia says State Of The Union Is A ‘Childish Spectacle’
Justice Scalia is probably right. He also hasn’t been to the SOTU Address for the past 16 years, regardless of who is president. Scalia says he doesn’t want to give dignity to the event. Salia further adds that the justices can’t clap for much of anything other than when the president says, America is a great country. The rest of the time, they keep their eyes on the Chief Justice to see when clapping is appropriate.
Justice Scalia also told tales out of school. He revealed that on a hunting trip, Justice Elena Kagan is turning into quite the hunter. She dropped a white tail doe with one shot while some of them were on a hunting trip in Wyoming. . She had no hunting experience before joining the court. Scalia quipped that even though they had a license for shooting mule deer and antelope, they never saw any. He said Kagan could have shot the white tail in his driveway without having to go to Wyoming. (yea, Tony, but was it doe season?)
In other court gossip, it seems that Justice Sotomayor and Justice Thomas both disagree on affirmative action from their own perspective. Sotomayor feels that affirmative action helped her gain entrance to an institution that would have been closed to her. Once she was in, it was up to her to do the difficult work.
Justice Thomas felt he was always stigmatized by being given admission as a minority student. He also revealed that he was a sitting justice in his third term before he finished paying off his student loans. Holy cow.
So who is right about affirmative action? I would say in this case, both are right, especially since opinions are really not right or wrong but opinions.
In an interview on National Public Radio last month, Sotomayor addressed the difference. “As much as I know Clarence, admire him and have grown to appreciate him, I have never ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. And I know one thing: If affirmative action opened the doors for me at Princeton, once I got in, I did the work. I proved myself worthy. So, I don’t look at how the door opened.”
Thomas stopped in at Harvard Law School recently, and the school this week posted a 70-minute video of the justice’s conversation with law school dean Martha Minow and hundreds of students.
In it, Thomas reveals that he was still repaying student loans after he joined the Supreme Court in 1991. “I made my final payments on my student loans my third term on the court,” he said.
Thomas also added the following about his colleagues:
Of Justice Elena Kagan, a former Harvard dean and the court’s newest member, Thomas said he told her, “It’s going to be a joy disagreeing with you for years to come.” He called Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “delightful” and said his seatmate for the past 19 years, Justice Stephen Breyer, draws stick figures during arguments and makes Thomas laugh.
The famously silent justice – he has said nothing at arguments for seven years, except for a brief joke last month that was seemingly about Ivy League lawyers – said Breyer occasionally asks questions that Thomas has first whispered to him on the bench.
It sounds to me like those justices are sometimes naughty while sitting on the bench. Seriously though, its good to know that there are personalities under those robes. Stick figures and whispering….tsk tsk tsk.
The Supreme Court justices meet privately on Friday and then return to work on Tuesday.