Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Scalia Tells Critics “Fuck you”

April 4, 2006

My editor brought an interesting story to my attention last week. It seems Antonin Scalia was asked by a photographer what he thought of those who might question his impartiality as a judge in light of his public religious observance, and he responded with a Sicilian phrase and gesture meaning “fuck you.” In a church. And someone got a picture.

Why is this a big deal? First off, Scalia is the rockstar primadonna activist on the court. Clarence Thomas is the other offender, but he’s much more dour than Scalia. It’s obvious from reading the man’s opinions that he doesn’t give a flying hunk of koala poo what you or me or the other Supreme Court Justices think, and this latest should be nothing shocking for those who know the man’s temperament.

Unsurprisingly, Scalia and the Supreme Court’s P.R. office went into overdrive. In a letter to the Boston Herald, which published the shot, Scalia claimed the gesture was intended simply to be dismissive. He attacked the author of the article for watching too many episodes of “The Sopranos” and assuming all Sicilian gestures must be obscene.

This is less than convincing. Scalia’s gesture was a flicking of the fingers away from the bottom of the chin, but the meaning he cites in his letter to the Herald derives from a motion which sounds much more like a disinterested chin scratch than the thrusting motion described by the photographer. Really, why can’t he just own up?

Frankly, I’d like nothing more than to jump on the Blue State bandwagon and bash a guy I dislike, but this is really kiddy stuff. Despite his libertarian rulings, I think Scalia is bad for the country and bad for American jurisprudence, but I’m not going to hound the guy over the equivalent of giving someone the finger, even when the “detractors” he flipped off include me. I disagree with the man politically and professionally about 99% of the time he’s handling anything other than judicial routine, but Scalia does his job according to his own principals, with fire and disregard for armchair jurists, and I respect that.

Remember, Supreme Court Justices are people too, perfectly capable of being pissed off by unreasoning antagonism. I know he gets enough crap from the press and peons like me that an occasional finger is probably in order. You grab the pitbull of the judiciary after church to question his ability to keep his personal and professional life separate and then act outraged when he has a real live emotional response? Anybody can see this is just scandalmongering, with no more substance than Theresa Kerry telling hecklers to “shove it.” Frankly, I’m more concerned about the Vice President’s recent “F-You” on the floor of the Senate.

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