Justice Scalia's Truthiness and the Virtues of Judicial Candor
5 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2014
Date Written: December 3, 2013
Antonin Scalia is by far the Supreme Court’s greatest wit and most colorful personality. His judicial opinions are also remarkably passionate and frank. He has received intense criticism for supposedly being “too political” in some of his opinions, such as his scorching dissent in last year’s case about Arizona laws aimed at illegal immigrants or his bitter denunciation of the Court’s last major ruling on the detention of suspected terrorists. But what purpose is really served by judges hiding their motivations behind a false veneer of detachment and stilted formalism? Scalia can be so refreshingly candid in his judicial work that it pains me when I see his opposite tendency emerge in other contexts, such as in his response to criticism of the Court's handling of the Bush v. Gore election controversy or in his evasion of responsibility for his remarks about the 14th Amendment's applicability to gender discrimination. If there is anyone in a position of great power in htis country who has the freedom to speak plain truths, it is Scalia and his fellow members of the Supreme Court. If they really want to be persuasive, they might find that straight talk goes a lot further than spin.
Keywords: Supreme Court, justices, judges, courts, Scalia, judicial candor
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