Antonin Scalia is determined to make his private reputation as a hothead his public image.
The private reputation as a bully has long been whispered. (It’s all through Joan Biskupic’s bio of Sandra Day O’Connor (S.D.O: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice)).
But Scalia wants to play that part on the world’s stage. Last month he gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute http://www.aei.org/events/eventID.1256,filter.all/event_detail.aspand when impudent students in the audience baited him about Cheney’s shooting accident, the justice rose to the challenge like a bar-lout, sparring with the questioners.
Now it’s a speech he gave in Switzerland, aired on NPR yesterday, in which he calls the idea of trials for prisoners at Gitmo “crazy.” http://www.npr.org/dmg/dmg.php?prgCode=ATC&showDate=27-Mar-2006&segNum=11&mediaPref=RM&getUnderwriting=1 Once again he does so with a red face.
One point for the intemperate justice: he understands the price of citizenship. He told the Swiss loudly that his son served in Iraq. At last– a hawk whose own family is exposed to danger.
And another one. The NPR piece demonstrated the famous but oft-denied liberal bias in public radio. Reporter Nina Totenberg was pushing the idea that Scalia was guilty of an ethical breach for airing his views on an issue that will come before the court. There’s nothing wrong with liberal bias, it’s just when public radio people deny they have it that it becomes irritating. Hey, it’s built in. The people who go into reporting for big blue-state institutions are liberals, almost all Democrats. They’re not going on to the Supreme Court, they have to go somewhere.