Monday, April 28, 2008

Rare Spoken Interview with Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has agreed to a few select interviews to promote his new book,Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, written with lexicographer Brian Garner. This is the first of a three-part interview with NPR.

Justice Antonin Scalia has carried the conservative banner in the U.S. Supreme Court for more than a quarter century. Though he has failed to persuade a majority of his colleagues on many high profile cases, supporters and critics alike agree that he has changed the terms of the debate.

What more, with the addition of two appointees during President George Bush's time in office, he is on the verge of prevailing in most cases for the first time in his tenure on the court.

Scalia is a man of many contradictions. An only child, he is the father of nine children. Tough-minded and thick-skinned in public, in private he suffers when attacked. Often confrontational on the bench, and sarcastic in dissent, he is charming and funny in private.

Scalia has made his biggest mark, so far, in those famous biting dissents. He has mocked Chief Justice John Roberts, a fellow conservative, accusing him of "faux judicial restraint." He's said that former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's view on abortion "cannot be taken seriously." Just this month, he derided Justice John Paul Stevens' views on the death penalty, calling them "the purest form of rule by judicial fiat," even though Stevens agreed with Scalia on the end result.

"I think when it's wrong, it should be destroyed," Scalia says, when asked whether such language might not alienate potential allies. "[If] it is profoundly wrong, [it] should be pointed out and pointed out forcefully. And I don't mind people doing that to my opinions. A good hard-hitting dissent keeps you honest."

Read complete article and listen to interview at: npr

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