Talk:Antonin Scalia

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What drives what? Originalism and Conservatism[edit]

I fear that this article has many references to Scalia's originalism and the extent to which it drives Scalia's decisionmaking that do not reflect scholarly consensus. For example, "Scalia's originalism frequently puts him on the conservative side of the Court in constitutional cases, and he is generally perceived as a conservative member of the court." Many (I would say "most" but I have no idea how one would quantify such a thing) law professors and court observers would say that originalism is not really what drives conservative results. Instead, they argue that it is Scalia's conservativism that drives his commitment to originalism. This is not necessarily a criticism of Scalia -- some think this means it avoids the "dead hand" problem and means Scalia actually is much more democratic than he says he is and that this a good thing. For example, see this article: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1356073

I don't think Wikipedia should necessarily takes sides in this debate. But that's my concern: I think by saying things like "Scalia's originalism frequently puts him on the conservative side of the Court" it is taking a side: it saying that that the originalism drives the conservatism, and not vice versa. Instead, to be more neutral, could this be changed to "Scalia frequently is on the conservative side of the Court in constitutional cases, a fact which many of his supporters attribute to his commitment to originalism."

Recent additions[edit]

Please be cautious in adding materials. While of course this article is open to all, in practice, what we are looking at for addition is balanced additions, preferably using high-level reliable sources and also major commentators. In other words, The Daily Princetonian and most blogs just won't cut it. A good way to get feedback is to seek consensus here on talk before adding materials. Many thanks,--Wehwalt (talk) 15:43, 14 December 2010 (UTC) I will amplify by noting that this is a controversial topic, which is monitored by a number of fairly bright people who know something about law, and that one-sided additions will be looked on only briefly.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:02, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I came across this just now while coming across the reverting of the opinion from the George Mason professor, and I would agree that such an opinion does not belong on Wikipedia. His judicial philosophy is well explained as is without needing to go into such polemics. Kansan (talk) 15:04, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Religion[edit]

Ok. Scalia isn't a "Traditionalist" Catholic the way you try to portray it. His son is a pastor at a Parish in full communion with the Vatican. He doesn't follow the same line as Mel Gibson, for example. Furthermore, the term "Traditionalist" is capitalized, as if it were a proper noun. Because (1) the term "Traditional Catholic" is non-existent in Catholicism as a proper nown, and (2) he is in full communion with the Catholic Church, I believe Roman Catholic is more applicable.

I reverted your change. The article makes clear he is a Traditionalist Catholic in the religion section.--Bbb23 (talk) 01:35, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

So you referenced another Wikipedia article to further your argument. There is no such thing as a Traditionalist Catholic in the proper noun form, but this isn't surprising: it's Wikipedia after all, not necessarily the fruition of scholarship. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.32.127.182 (talk) 04:53, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Women not constitutionally protected from discrimination[edit]

Just saw this and think it will need to be added as the last time he spoke out like this he had to recuse himself, let alone it goes against standing SC order from 71. http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/justice-scalia-women-not-constitutionally-protected-from-discrimination http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkrss.php?f=Scalia-No-Constitutional-in-Daily-Kos-110104-51.html http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2011/01/scalia-constitution-does-not-p.html

"The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1971 that the clause protected women from discrimination."

169.253.4.21 (talk) 20:07, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

What I suggest we do is await a request by a party that Justice Scalia recuse himself on such a case. We will then cover his response, if any.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:10, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

I noticed that there have been multiple attempts to replace Scalia's picture with a picture of Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars series. I reverted the last one. Can we make sure this doesn't happen again? 69.166.47.132 (talk) 23:44, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

I could, but it's not enough vandalism to semi protect, really. If it keeps up, I'll reconsider. Enough people watch this article that any vandalism is unlikely to last more than minutes.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:03, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

That reference to "succeeding Nancy Reagan as widowed First Lady?" Is that vandalism? (see "order of preference" at the bottom)Edarrell (talk) 22:51, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

It's the sort of thing I don't try to keep up with. He probably does follow Mrs. Reagan in the order of precedence. And when there's a change in that, someone inevitably changes it. It determines who goes first when they go in to dinner or some such.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:21, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
See United States order of precedence for details. Fat&Happy (talk) 23:55, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Scalia's activities off the bench[edit]

I added the following subsection to the "Public attention" section:

===Extrajudicial prominence===

In addition to Scalia's role in the Federalist Society, he has been involved in more overtly political activities off the bench. A year after the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Common Cause asked the Department of Justice to investigate conflicts of interest on the part of two of the Justices in the majority. One of the organization's arguments was that Scalia and Thomas had participated in political strategy sessions organized by David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, who stood to benefit from the decision.[1] He also accepted an invitation from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to speak at a "Conservative Constitutional Seminar" for conservative members of the House of Representatives, an event organized in conjunction with the Tea Party Caucus.[2] Professor Jonathan Turley has criticized Scalia for his frequent appearances at such conservative events.[3]

(separate reflist added for convenience)

The addition was promptly reverted by Wehwalt, who wrote, "please see previous attempts to add this".

Before my edit, I looked at this talk page to see if there had been any discussion about addressing Scalia's extrajudicial activities, and I found none. My edit was prompted by coverage in Politico on January 19 and in The Washington Post on January 21, and there was certainly no prior attempt to add that information.

At any rate, following BRD, I'm not restoring this properly sourced and relevant information, but instead presenting it here to see if there are any valid objections to its inclusion. JamesMLane t c 19:38, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Sure. Why should we include the fact that Common Cause did what it did, and why is it relevant that one law professor (there are some thousands in that profession) said what he did in an op-ed piece? Frankly, your proposed addition carries a strong negative connotation against Scalia, and thus is POV. Not everything that is sourced can be used. If the Department of Justice opened an investigation of Scalia, that would be notable, but a pressure group on either side asking for them to is just fundraising. If you look back through the history on this article, very similar comments regarding the seminar Scalia gave for the Tea Party caucus have been rejected, and not only by me. I object to the inclusion.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:47, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
As I told you in my response to your comment on my talk page, I have no objection to adding a report of some prominent voice that considers the criticism of Scalia to be without merit. It's not POV to report the fact of criticisms that have been made. To the contrary, if there is criticism from prominent adherents of that viewpoint, then it would be POV to suppress it. Common Cause is certainly prominent. (I doubt that Politico would have reported on a complaint filed by some wild-eyed blogger writing from his parents' basement.) While there are thousands of law professors, Jonathan Turley has a Wikipedia article and is frequently published and quoted in the mass media, like The Washington Post. JamesMLane t c 20:10, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
We report facts, not "criticism". As for the Washington Post, this seems to indicate that Scalia's speech was not quite the fall of the Republic. However, we do not report Common Cause's complaints, that is plain silly. That's what groups like that do. Would you like Judicial Watch's complaints in the Obama and whoever else articles?--Wehwalt (talk) 20:22, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the proposed wording is POV, especially "he has been involved in more overtly political activities off the bench." As Wehwalt said, I don't think we should mention the Common Cause item unless the Justice Dept. opens an investigation. Common Cause may be prominent, but they are also ideologically liberal. I don't see Turley's comments from an opinion piece noteworthy unless a news source also reports on his comments. Drrll (talk) 20:26, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
You say, "We report facts, not 'criticism'." What's your basis for that? The actual policy (WP:NPOV) states: "Usually, articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects." So, yes, we do report criticism. We just have to be careful to report it rather than adopting it. My edit observes that distinction.
You say, "Common Cause may be prominent, but they are also ideologically liberal." So what? My phrase "prominent adherents" was taken verbatim from that same core Wikipedia policy. The issue is whether the source of an opinion is prominent, not whether the source is unbiased. I showed why the description "prominent adherents" applies to Common Cause and to Turley. There's no requirement that a news source report an opinion before we can cite it; it's rare for any reliable source to carry a news story about an op-ed piece.
I agree with you that the wording should be NPOV. A description that many people would prefer -- something like "Scalia's unabashed activism for extreme right-wing causes" -- would violate Wikipedia policies. I thought that "overtly political activities" was neutral, but if you want to suggest an alternative description, go right ahead.
Whether you or I consider Scalia's speech to be the fall of the Republic -- or even a bad idea, or a good idea -- is irrelevant. We could usefully incorporate some of the information from the Washington Post article about what he said, but that wouldn't change the facts of his activities off the bench and the criticism that has arisen as a result.
Finally, as to Obama, I can't think of anything from Judicial Watch that would be important enough for his main bio article. In the case of a President of the United States, there's such a huge amount of important information that the editing of the bio must be fairly selective. That's why we have daughter articles (see WP:SS). In an appropriate daughter article, certainly, the POV that's critical of Obama on that subject should be fairly presented. (Indeed, we have a daughter article that's devoted solely to one particular criticism -- Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories.) Fair presentation of a criticism might include a report of a Judicial Watch statement, or it might not, if some other representative right-wing criticism were quoted; each side should be presented fairly, not exhaustively. JamesMLane t c 21:10, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── WP:CRIT. I am very familiar with this project's policies, thank you. Let me put it this way. In this day and age, prominent people's actions attract a wide array of reactions, reactions which are critical are not particularly notable. It appears from the coverage that this was a bit of a damp squib, Scalia addressed members of both parties and didn't say anything his listeners hadn't heard before. There were wide reactions, ranging from "That's swell" to "So what?" to "Scandal!". Noisy reactions are not per se more notable. As for Common Cause, the fact that they complained is not notable, pressure groups on both sides are constantly doing that. I worked for a public interest law firm twenty years ago, that was half our work. Now, if DOJ investigates Scalia, that's quite another matter. Of course that is unlikely in the extreme, even if there was merit, it would be for the judicial branch to admonish its own, or for the legislative branch to consider removal. That being said, it is no balance to set off one noisy reaction against another. I would have no objection to mentioning the event, and also quoting some of the people who attended. Thoughts, anyone?--Wehwalt (talk) 21:21, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

I could probably do it in two sentences, and would put it where we discuss Scalia visiting law schools to give talks. Incidentally, what does Citizens United have to do with it? It seems as relevant as starting "A year after the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, Scalia ..."--Wehwalt (talk) 21:24, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
You continue to focus very heavily on the Tea Party Caucus speech. It's not as if this was a one-off event; as the sources make clear, it's part of a pattern of Scalia's activism off the bench. That's a part of his life that's worth inclusion in the article. The point of mentioning Citizens United is that it was the context of the Common Cause complaint.
You say, "In this day and age, prominent people's actions attract a wide array of reactions, reactions which are critical are not particularly notable." Under WP:NPOV, the issue is whether the reaction is significant, and the test that's noted is whether the source is a prominent adherent of that point of view. I support this policy. The reader's understanding of a subject is usually improved by a fair presentation of facts concerning opposing opinions about that subject, along with the facts that relate directly to the subject. If you believe that no opinions should be reported except those that are picked up and referred to in news stories, then you should propose an appropriate change in WP:NPOV. While you're at it, you can also propose a change that would routinely exclude opinions expressed by pressure groups, even if they're prominent. JamesMLane t c 21:55, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Prominent adherent of what point of view? This article is on Scalia. I agree that were we to write an article on his talk, we would include all significant points of view. That's not this article.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:03, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
You're still focused solely on his talk before the Bachmann group. I reiterate that that's only part of a larger whole. The fact being reported (an undisputed fact, AFAIK) is that Scalia engages in various extrajudicial activities in support of conservative causes. One point of view being reported is that his doing so is, at best, unseemly and bad for the Court (see the title of Turley's article), or, at worst, a source of conflicts of interest. JamesMLane t c 00:56, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I think we're repeating ourselves here.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, let's try to be more constructive then. You said, "I could find you five law professors to support, oppose, ignore, waffle, and say that Scalia violated the Treason Act of 1789." We don't need five -- if you can supply one prominent law professor or other notable adherent of the view that Scalia's activities are exemplars of good judicial behavior, we can incorporate the reporting of that viewpoint. That would provide more information to the reader. JamesMLane t c 04:07, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── No, I think attendees would be better sources of quotes. After all, they actually heard what the justice said, rather than react to the media.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:27, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Let me put it this way. At the present time, you lack consensus for your proposals. Were this an article on Scalia's talk, I would agree with you. But in a biographical article, no. It's just using the event as a coatrack for bundling in criticism (thus you started with Citizens United, which you don't like, clearly). I have suggested adding a couple of sentences on the talk, with comments from attendees such as Jerrold Nadler.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
One reason we're talking past each other is that you continue to see this as being about the talk the talk the talk, and for some reason I've been unable to convey the point that it's about more than that. I'm not saying "Let's report the talk, and use that as a coatrack to bundle in criticism." I'm saying, "Let's report the criticims, which includes but isn't limited to the talk." With so few people participating, you lack consensus for excluding general information about Scalia's extrajudicial activities.
To get more editors to weigh in, we'll have to go to RfC. You should go ahead and draft the proposed passage on the talk that you think would be appropriate. I'll revise my language to include information from the Washington Post article about the talk. When we have specific alternatives ready to be presented, we can post the RfC. JamesMLane t c 15:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, no, what I was proposing was a compromise. I do not think any change is necessary. What you want is pure and simple a criticism section, and your offer to include someone taking Scalia's point of view is pointless; shrill attacking voices always drown out defenders--for one thing, the attackers make better press. Daring to mention the talk itself, in the absence of "legs" to the story in the aftermath, it doesn't rise to the level where we have to mention it in a long article about a man with a long public career. Do leave the customary template here.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:52, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
OK, so the policy says, "Usually, articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects." You discount this principle because, in your view, "shrill attacking voices always drown out defenders--for one thing, the attackers make better press." The place for the clash between these two opposing viewpoints is, obviously, Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view, not here. As for a template, I haven't mentioned removing any template, so I frankly have no idea what you're talking about with that remark.
Once I revise my proposed language, I'll explain its merits, and invite you to contribute the section arguing for the merits of making no change. (I personally hate RfC's where participants are expected to wade through a mountain of debate to figure out what's at issue. It's worth taking some time to set it up more sensibly. I have in mind this RfC as a model, although without offending the purists by using the forbidden word "vote".) JamesMLane t c 21:46, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
As you wish. I'll work up something in a sandbox when I get a chance. I'd like to see your revised language before putting much on pixels though.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps we can at least agree that, given Wikipedia policies, it would be TOTALLY inappropriate to include a cartoon in the article.  :) JamesMLane t c 06:39, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Very funny. I really think you are misunderstanding WP:NPOV, but we shall see what the community thinks.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:43, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I think both of you make a good case for your POV on what should be included. I am really interested in what the RfC consensus and discussion was. Could someone provide me that link, please...? ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 08:43, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Lawrrence v. Texas[edit]

The section which states that Justice Scalia required an intervention by the Chief Justice to cease making the States case for it in Lawrence v. Texas (“maybe we should go through counsel”) appears to be inaccurately stated. Having listened to the oral arguments, the Chief Justice appears to be referring to discourse between Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer, not the specific comments of Justice Scalia. I propose that we therefore remove this claim. Justinbarbour (talk) 14:15, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

It's somewhat ambiguous as to whom Rehnquist is addressing – Scalia, Breyer, or both. But we can't give our own interpretation of primary sources (the oral argument transcript).
For context, the discussion had been:

Justice Breyer: ...Because I don't think you think that the State could pass anything in the name of morality?
Mr. Rosenthal: --Certainly not.
Mr. Rosenthal: But it would have... any law that would pass would have to have some rational basis to the State interest.
Justice Breyer: You've not given a rational basis except to repeat the word morality.
Justice Scalia: Is the rational basis is that the State thinks it immoral just as the State thinks adultery immoral or bigamy immoral.?
Justice Breyer: Or teaching German.
Justice Scalia: Well, that--
Unknown Speaker: [Laughter]
Chief Justice Rehnquist: Maybe we should go through counsel, yes.

from which it can be seen that Scalia's first comment was preempting Rosenthal's answer to a question asked by Breyer, so it seems reasonable for Tushnet to say the comment was addressed to Scalia for that. Fat&Happy (talk) 21:26, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps it is semantics, but I don't think we can clearly state to whom the statement was addressed (it seems to be addressed to both of them, rather than just Scalia, to me). As in both of the Justices were engaging in discourse that should have been "left to counsel." On that basis I maintain that it should be removed. Justinbarbour (talk) 11:07, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
If Tushnet, who is an acknowledged expert, says it, I'm inclined to let it stand over one editor's interpretation.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:14, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Lawrence v. Texas, take two[edit]

Regarding the description of Scalia's dissent in Lawrence, the fact that the source here says that Scalia "ridiculed the majority" certainly does not oblige us to use that particular verb. Were Joan Biskupic being cited in-line to demonstrate how she characterized Scalia's dissent, then the particular language that she used would be in order. Here, however, she is being cited in a footnote basically to confirm the fact of Scalia's criticism, not the nature of it. In reporting the basic fact of Scalia's criticism editors are obliged to do so using neutral language. Badmintonhist (talk) 21:29, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

The article also details the vehement nature of Scalia's dissent. His only significant biographer chose to use that term, it seems justified by examination of the quote, and we are not compelled to take all the color and light out of the English language. Ridiculed seems the best term here.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:01, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Ridiculed is probably an understatement. It would be non-neutral to use a neutral term.--Bbb23 (talk) 23:15, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Nicely argued, Wehwalt, but I still disagree. Had Biskupic or the Scalia biographer said that Scalia "lambasted" or "ripped into" the majority would we be compelled to use those words without in-line attribution? It is a fact that Biskupic used the word ridiculed, and thus, by telling the reader in-line that she did, we are reporting a fact . . . WP:NPOV. By using the word without in-line attribution we are essentially stating OUR opinion about a fact. Badmintonhist (talk) 23:21, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Then perhaps one alternative is to inline attribute it to her.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:48, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Use of Dahlia Lithwick opinion piece[edit]

I question the use of the opinion piece by Dahlia Lithwick to evaluate Scalia's judicial performance. The piece is clearly an opinion piece, titled "Scalia Hogs the Ball," and includes such opinionated lines as:

  • Justice Antonin Scalia is my favorite character on the Supreme Court
  • There is no longer any doubt that Coach Scalia would like to bench Taggart and sub in Scalia.
  • Scalia jumps in to ask (and now he just appears ornery), "How many years is a generation?"
  • While I don't always agree with Justice Scalia, I am always awed and moved by his brilliance. But someone needs to remind him that there's a difference between hiding the ball, which is pretty aggravating at oral argument, and hogging it, which is worse.

Lithwick appears to be much more of an opinionator than a straight reporter. I believe that to include such material in a BLP, we need a secondary source (preferably a reporting piece) to quote her opinion as noteworthy. I don't think that an opinion piece by Ed Whelan used in Ruth Bader Ginsburg's BLP to evaluate her judicial performance would survive very long there. Drrll (talk) 23:44, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

She's not evaluating his "judicial performance", whatever that means, but his behavior during oral argument. Her language is quite colorful, but then again so is Scalia. I'm assuming your main objection is to the sentence, "And he uses the hour allocated for argument to bludgeon his brethren into agreement." As I recall, someone removed that sentence (don't know who or when), and it was recently reinstated by Wehwalt, so I'll let him address the issue.--Bbb23 (talk) 23:50, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
The reason I said she's being used to evaluate his "judicial performance" is that that is the article section the material is put into. No, I'm not objecting specifically to that sentence, but in general to using material from an opinion piece in a BLP without secondary sourcing to make it noteworthy. Otherwise, the door is open to any number of the thousands of opinion pieces about Scalia, Ginsburg, etc.--even if we limit the opinion pieces to ones written by lawyers (unless someone can find or come up with a sensible set of criteria for opinion pieces in BLPs). Drrll (talk) 00:14, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Lithwick's language is colorful indeed, as both of you can agree. I would argue that using oral argument as a tool to get one's fellow justices to agree with you is very much a part of judicial performance. After all, it's all about the five votes, isn't it? And if Scalia's using oral argument as a tool to build the five votes, that's very relevant and should be included. As for your opinion argument, today's news reporting very often has a POV inserted, you deal with it appropriately, for example quotations or inline citations where required.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:16, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, reporting does often have a POV inserted, from small local papers up to the NYT. But at least there is a semblence of division between reporting pieces and news pieces, including a much more involved editing process for news pieces, and at least a pretense of objectivity by the reporter (Lithwick seems to make no such pretense). I agree that inline citations and especially quotations are a preferable way to handle them, but it still opens the door wide. How long do you think that opinion pieces by such conservatives as Whelan would last in the BLPs of liberal justices? Drrll (talk) 00:45, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
I have no idea. I do not consider the passage unfavorable to Scalia. The passage does tell the reader what Scalia does, somewhat colorfully, but acceptably.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:48, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
To answer my own question, over a year and still going. Interestingly, Whelan himself is used as a opinion source in the Ginsburg BLP. I think that opinion pieces should only be used rarely in BLPs, due to their sheer volume and given that WP:BLP calls for "high-quality sources," but I guess I'm in the minority here. Drrll (talk) 01:17, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
Lithwick is one of the leading, perhaps the most important/experienced/etc., reporters covering the court today. It would be absurd to omit her coverage. Gamaliel (talk) 21:20, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

It's definitely an editorial. Slate considers her an editor, not a reporter. Same for the NY Times where her bio is in the opinion section. Two Slate references with pop-out quotes seems a bit over the top for that section. I'm not sure why her opinion is notable except as a populist one. Certainly not as an expert. --DHeyward (talk) 22:11, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Adding conservative to first sentence[edit]

Because of the nature of his written opinions on the Supreme Court, I propose adding that he is a conservative judge to initial sentence of the article.

Wiki yo mana (talk) 00:36, 28 September 2011 (UTC) Wiki yo mana

The first paragraph makes it clear that he is conservative. No change is warranted.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:48, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Read WP:OPENPARAGRAPH. Also, putting that adjective in the opening sentence gives it too much prominence. Note that the word "conservative" is already in the last paragraph of the lead with considerably more context.--Bbb23 (talk) 00:49, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
No, not needed. --DHeyward (talk) 02:12, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
The idea is to denigrate Scalia in the eyes of some who would consider a "conservative judge", which I don't actually think we directly call him, second class. That's enough to turn a thumbs down.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:57, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
After I filed a WP:SPI report, Wiki yo mana and others were indefinitely blocked.--Bbb23 (talk) 23:47, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Privacy hypocrisy re Lawrence vs Texas[edit]

I did wonder if it would survive, but I suggest that it is relevant. Having declared that, in his belief, other people do not have a right to privacy in relation to their 'sodomy' (in this context, having consensual anal sex), asking him if he does it was an entirely relevant question and his refusal to answer is notable in relation to his biography and patchy record of withdrawing from cases in which he has an interest. Lovingboth (talk) 10:02, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

No, it's inserted to make a point, pro or con Scalia. I understand where you are coming from but that's now how we run a FA.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:36, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Daily Beast comments[edit]

Scalia has been caught redhanded parroting Fox News. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/05/did-scalia-parrot-fox-news-during-health-care-arguments.html

By not reading the law and going based on inaccurate statements made by Fox News, he has proven himself both partisan and lazy. I know we can't couch it in those terms, but we can't ignore it, either.

--Scottandrewhutchins (talk) 20:42, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

This article covers major events in Scalia's career. I don't think The Daily Beast qualifies. If there are legs to this, that is, considerable media coverage over a period of time, as happened in the Cheney duck hunting event, then of course we'll put something in. But I don't think we're there yet.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:46, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

I didn't read the whole thing but DailyBeast is not highlighting the important parts. Namely that fox News was parroting earlier court decisions. The fact that Scalia would use an argument that brought the case to the bench and was used in a lower court and that Fox News had earlier reported the same argument is not "Scalia parroting Fox News". Observers of Scalia would note that his use of humor would naturally draw him to a humorous argument such as penalizing people for not purchasing broccoli. --DHeyward (talk) 06:26, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Citizens United[edit]

I think it needs to be clarified that Scalia's opinion is that Corporations is a group of individuals. It's very clear in his concurring opinion that this is what his view of corporations are and that the first ammendment does not limit or bar what people can do when they form a group and express political speech. It's not NPOV to express his opinion in the form of "rights of corporations" without expressing his assessment of what a corporation fundamentally is. I am not particular about the wording, but it needs to include his assessment which is in the first full paragraph of the source: It [the dissenting opinion] never shows why "the freedom of speech" that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form. To be sure, in 1791 (as now) corporations could pursue only the objectives set forth in their charters; but the dissent provides no evidence that their speech in the pursuit of those objectives could be censored." --DHeyward (talk) 06:44, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Fine with me but I wish it was not sourced to Scalia's opinion, but to a secondary source.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:59, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
  • My revised wording didn't change the source, I only reflected what the source said (primary). I agree it is a primary source and a secondary source is better. I also didn't want to just quote it because I think bios filled with quotes of opinions are awful articles. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a secondary source that is scholarly rather than polemic. Most sources I've seen are opinion/analysis pieces (much like the primary opinion). It's sort of like citing Breyer as a secondary source for Scalia's opinion and citing Scalia as a seconday source for Breyer since they both provided analysis for each others opinion. Breyer and Scalia both analyzed, summariazed and criticised each others position and they are arguably the most relevant secondary source on each other for this case though adversarial. But it would be hard to include Breyer's opinion of Scalia without including Scalia's opinion itself. Likewise, I don't see the value of quoting someone that agrees with Scalia as a legal opinion since the most relevant legal opinions in a contemporary case are going to be the other concurring justices. For this reason, I have trouble using sources that either agree or dissent as they are not particularly more scholarly than the opinion itself or the other justices opinion of the opinion. If I find a secondary source that simply summarizes Scalia without an opinion I will try to include it, but so far I haven't found it. Even if it exists, it's probably in a source that is polemic itself so I don't know what that will mean. --DHeyward (talk) 19:53, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  • That sounds fine, we'll leave it be then. Thanks.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:58, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Your revised wording is much better, thanks.--Bbb23 (talk) 14:50, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Reference for Scalia as majority tipping point of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission[edit]

Not a BLP-reliable source, nor specifically about Scalia. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 06:59, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
I would be very uncomfortable with a Brethren-style "behind the velvet curtain" expose, especially with anonymous sources.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:08, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Scalia loves foreign jurisprudence[edit]

Scalia has argued that the courts should follow the "consensus in other countries" in enforcing treaties."Scalia (yes, Scalia) invokes foreign law in court."

I can certainly find plenty of references to the many many occasions where he has found foreign law to be the best law. Especially in his rulings it seems to be his default setting. Hcobb (talk) 13:59, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

In terms of treaties, possibly. However, the major controversies these days is in using foreign law to interpret domestic law, and to govern the "evolving Constitution", where he certainly does not support use of foreign law. Such a statement such as you propose would have to be carefully nuances, and rely on high quality sources, which in this case, I'm rather dubious about the Seattle Times.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:15, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Um, it's an AP article. Do you find the AP too "reality based" or do you suspect the Seattle Times of making a mistake in the copy and paste? Hcobb (talk) 15:44, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

It's not a high-quality source for a FA about a justice of the Supreme Court. I don't say it's not an RS, just that a sound bite from it is not good enough to be included.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:20, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Also, it's about an oral argument. What did Scalia do when there was a decision?--Wehwalt (talk) 16:23, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Abbott v. Abbott Case in non-question. Hcobb (talk) 16:36, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

How about something along the lines that "Scalia opposes letting foreign law influence decisions, but makes an exception for treaties which are to be applied uniformly, such as those relating to child custody." Not sure influence is the word I want, but it works for a rough draft. Might need another source.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:08, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Your talking about his speeches, not his rulings, which tend to go exactly the other way, right? Hcobb (talk) 20:58, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

I recall (I heard him once) that he talked a lot about other country's constitutions were more form than substance, that sort of thing, whereas ours. Anyway, if you don't ilke min, how would you encapsulate it so that the reader understands the views in his rulings.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:32, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

The only reason why anything he says on the subject is man bites dog, barbarian inside the gates level notable, is that he's the only judge who pays lip service to the concept. Ninety nine percent of the time he just swims along with the international norms current like everybody else. So it is notable that he objects to the concept, but it's not like he only has a few tiny areas of agreement with it. Hcobb (talk) 23:28, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, no point in mentioning it unless we mention his general disagreement. I'm just trying to figure out how to phrase it.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:47, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 18 September 2012[edit]

Scalia has written a new book that should be added to his "works". The book is called Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 147.9.136.35 (talk) 01:54, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Racial Entitlement[edit]

It seems to be widely noted. Hcobb (talk) 16:46, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Recentism and sound biting. What Scalia says in an oral argument is not what he writes in a written opinion. The articles also seem to assume that he was referring to minority voting as a whole, rather than having distinct districts set aside that basically, only minorities can win. Let's await the opinions.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:02, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the line Hcobb added being removed. I disagree with the implication that what Scalia says can't also be included though. Written and oral statements by Scalia are relevant. That said, the one sentence written in the article wasn't furthering the section. No context was given either. If we had a section on controversies he's caused, and a section definitely could be written about that, then what you put would at least be more appropriate. ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 15:39, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I think a controversies section would be a bad idea, rather akin to a criticism section. Personally, I view the test for including something in this article as whether a story "has legs". So far, it does not appear that his statement at oral argument is causing ongoing controversy. If it does, it should be included under the appropriate section on Scalia's judicial career.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:53, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Far too early to include. Justices often make arguements to the absurd (not saying that this was one of them, but it seems like it may be) during their questioning and deliberations. His comments need to be weighed by the actual opinion he eventually writes regarding the issue. Arzel (talk) 17:22, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Lack of sources in introductory paragraphs[edit]

The introductory paragraphs contain no sources, despite making qualitative claims like that Scalia is the "intellectual anchor" of the Conservative justices, or that his language in his dissenting opinions is "scathing". My objection to this isn't that I doubt these claims' reliability per se, but since they're qualitative somebody has made a judgment call so I feel there should be a link so that anybody can examine the judgment call. Also so that readers don't have to look through the whole article to see the justification for those claims.

184.144.162.171 (talk) 07:20, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

See WP:LEDE.Wehwalt (talk) 08:15, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Lack of Controversy Section[edit]

I go to wiki when I'm interested in a topic. Often what I'm interested in is the controversial stuff... I'm looking for facts, of course, but also for major opinions one way or another. For major figures I find "Controversy" sections, and they are most valuable to me. I don't know what wiki policies result in all those controversy sections I read... I'll leave that for you experts. But I request that you please add a controversy section here, as Scalia has made a lot of controversial statements over the years. I suggest that anyone who wants to hide those recuse themselves, and that the section be written cooperatively by conservatives and liberals who want the "sunlight" more commonly found in wikipedia. Thank you. Rad314 (talk) 02:48, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

So are saying that those who don't agree with you should stifle it? Well, that's one way to run a railroad. The thing is, saying that puts in doubt the rest of what you said. You look very partisan.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:10, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Wehwalt, I'm not sure what you find so wrong with what Rad314 said. I see nothing Rad314 wrote above that comes close to anything partisan. ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 07:58, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Saying that anyone who doesn't agree with him should button it is partisan.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:04, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I read Rad314's comments again and still see someone, at least on its face, saying they are leaving the policy up to the experts but would like to see a section about controversies surrounding Scalia. Rad314 didn't say people that don't agree should shut up. I read it as they suggest that anyone that wants to hide those controversies say out of the decision. Regardless of how they do or don't actually feel, the suggestion is exactly correct: those that have an agenda of wanted to blast Scalia or protect him should stay out of it. ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 04:33, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'll put it down to poor communication skills, then. But I still don't think a controversy section is a good idea. It's been discussed before, the reasons not to have one seem valid.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:55, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
I just don't know what the line should be since we have controversy sections on other articles. You make a very good point that there will always be groups and people that go after big figures like Scalia. That line is difficult to see. ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 08:45, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
This is a FA, and passed through considerable review at the time of its promotion. No one mentioned a criticism or controversy section.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:38, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
I haven't check that but believe you if you say that was settled. That's a good point this article being a featured article, though I'm sure it's popular so figured there were a lot of people involved even though not many people are involved in it now. Is there some written guideline, essay or something that you use as a guideline for when to add criticism? ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 18:20, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
No one asked for one, so people felt that what existed at the time of FAC passage was comprehensive coverage of Scalia. The guideline, though it really is only an essay, is WP:CRITICISM. As you will see further up the page, I've repeatedly said that we should include criticism if it has "legs", that is, more than a nine-day wonder, and that it should be integrated into the sections. That's the approach we've taken. This is a fairly long biographical article, and there is no point in including things, however colorful, that are here today and gone tomorrow.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:50, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
I did mark that page to read later. Thanks. ─ Matthewi (Talk) • 19:10, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Alt Text[edit]

There seems to be somewhat of a desire to label Scalia in a somewhat demeaning manner. Referring to him as balding and almost smiling. How is this helpful to the reader? Bbb23 gave the opinion that "it is supposed to be helpful to those who are visually impaired ", yet a visually impaired person will be less likely to read the words than the text, and even with a page reader this offers no helpful information. Additionally, if the alternate text is supposed to be descriptive, the proper description would be the location in which he was in for this picture, such as Barack Obama and/or what they are wearing. A reading of WP:ALT would suggest a more neutral wording if alt text is needed, and it is not clear that it is needed at all for this benign headshot. Arzel (talk) 16:33, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

I have reverted it again, and also have reduced the excessively verbose description for Sonia Sotomayor. All of the other justices, from the chief justice to Elena Kagan, have brief mentions of "official portrait" or something similar. There is no reason to have such a level of detail, as outlined in WP:ALT. Horologium (talk) 21:07, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Scalia flubs Supreme Court dissent[edit]

There needs to be an entry for Scalia's bizarre error in his recent judgement of Tuesday 29 April 2014. This was 'Tuesday’s decision in a Clean Air Act case that upheld an Environmental Protection Agency regulation managing interstate air pollution' [3].

It's not often that a Supreme Court justice makes a factual blunder in a formal opinion.

Legal experts say Justice Antonin Scalia erred in his dissent in the 6-2 decision Tuesday to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate coal pollution that moves across state lines. The Reagan-appointed jurist argued that the majority's decision was inconsistent with a unanimous 2001 ruling which he mistakenly said shot down EPA efforts to consider costs when setting regulations.[2]

Scalia’s dissent also contains a hugely embarrassing mistake. He refers to the Court’s earlier decision in American Trucking as involving an effort by EPA to smuggle cost considerations into the statute. But that’s exactly backwards: it was industry that argued for cost considerations and EPA that resisted. This gaffe is doubly embarrassing because Scalia wrote the opinion in the case, so he should surely remember which side won! Either some law clerk made the mistake and Scalia failed to read his own dissent carefully enough, or he simply forgot the basics of the earlier case and his clerks failed to correct him. Either way, it’s a cringeworthy blunder.[4]

After the legal eagles pointed out Scalia's blunder, he corrected it. Hence, his revised dissent no longer contains the errors of the original.

1) http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/04/29/homer-nods-in-epa-v-eme-homer-city-generation/ ; 2) http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/antonin-scalia-error-supreme-court-dissent-epa ; 3) http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/scalia-flubs-supreme-court-dissent 4) http://legal-planet.org/2014/04/29/more-about-epas-victory/ 101.162.1.193 (talk) 18:20, 30 April 2014 (UTC)


I'm no Scalia fan, but that sounds like classic WP:UNDUE, and should not be included. Justice makes an error not affecting the outcome of the decision, corrects it when pointed out. BFD. TJRC (talk) 21:08, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
These things happen that is why what is official is the decision as rendered in the United States Reports the initial version of the opinion it's purely unofficialWehwalt (talk) 02:33, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Scalia family's relationship with fascism?[edit]

There is a blog where a co-host of The Majority Report in 2004 has said the following, here, quoting the guest Alan Dershowitz:

I expect this is controversial, but it'd seem to be important information, wouldn't it? I cannot see where a transcript or recording of this is, but if a Harvard Law Professor (who himself is no stranger to bringing libel actions) would say such a thing, it is important, and merits further investigation. Wikidea 18:45, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

I think that this is "bold" enough that you need to gain consensus in this BLP. Accordingly I've removed it pending an expression of community support. Harvard Law or no Harvard Law, that is too strong to be put in on the basis of a blog, and of limited relevance to Scalia himself, who was 9 when WWII ended.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:43, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
You're right, it is bold, and in a BLP it's probably right to see what else emerges first. There is now a page on the father himself (unless someone starts a campaign to delete it on some spurious lack of notability ground), Salvatore Eugene Scalia, who it seems is deceased - BLP issues don't arise. I think it is curious that his father had not come up before, and of course it is even stranger that it had not come up in Scalia's confirmation hearings. But of course, we'd all have to admit that this is a very credible person making the allegation, and apparently Scalia's father was notorious (as is the Casa Italiana's practices). Wikidea 09:56, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
It's also odd later biographers and the media do not mention it. Least hypothesis says Dershowitz is full of horse dung, or that the blog is untrue. I will have to review my sources, as time permits, but I recall nothing out of the ordinary about Scalia Sr. other than hard work, not letting Italian be spoken in the home (odd for a Mussolini loyalist), etc. You haven't shown any notability per WP:ACADEMIC, btw.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:23, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Propose to add to Assessment section[edit]

New York magazine conducted an interview of the justice in its October 14, 2013 issue (the interview was actually the cover story). He revealed himself to keep himself in an ideological bubble (subscribing to the Washington Times but not the Washington Post, ignoring the New York Times but listening to conservative talk radio instead). Lots of people, including Daniel McCarthy, editor of the American Conservative, were disturbed by this. McCarthy wrote

"The trouble is not that Scalia doesn't read the newspapers that make him angry--he's old enough that he doesn't need any civics lectures about the merits of hearing another side--it's that he excludes them while including [conservative] movement organs that are chiefly going to tell him what he wants to hear. What he wants to hear is what the movement has to say. If the conservative movement in America were a more edifying thing, that wouldn’t be so bad, but again, consider its recent record. What does it say about a man that he identifies with the movement in this way?"[1]

Reading material is key to a person's understanding of the world so I think this is pretty relevant information as is the public reaction to it. Could we include please.--Aichik (talk) 20:42, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

I think it is too long and too POV. Possibly a sentence could be included about it, the fact, not the reaction, but I'm not sure "Assessment" is the place for it. Basically, it's an opinion piece. And given what Scalia turns out, I'm reminded of Lincoln being told that Grant was a drunkard, and proposing to send a barrel of Grant's favorite whiskey to his other, less effective generals. (I know it is likely apocryphal).--Wehwalt (talk) 20:53, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I could cut the bit between the dashes "he's old enough that he doesn't need any civics lectures about the merits of hearing another side" but it's a mistake to think it should be taken out because it's an "opinion piece." The writer is the EDITOR of the American Conservative, not a contributor, so it counts more like a "Letter from the Editor" if you want to get technical about it. Secondly, the comment from the Forward (note #116), Maureen Dowd (note #120), and Dahlia Lithwick of Slate, the latter in the "Legal philosophy and approach" section (note #36) so from your reasoning all of these need to be taken out? Finally this section is titled "Assessment" so it really needs writing that synthesizes the justices actions and what they could possibly mean. And it's up to the reader to form their own opinion about it afterwards.--Aichik (talk) 05:25, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
It's my thought that we could simply mention that Scalia reads the Washington Times and listens to talk radio. None of which is illegal, immoral, or fattening. Would it be of encyclopedic interest whether Justice Kagan reads the Washington Times? If not, is she in an ideological bubble? Liberal newspapers present news in a liberal way--look for example at the Ferguson affair now going on--that I personally find annoying, and Justice Scalia may find it so as well. That being said, I find the way FoxNews presents things on other issues annoying as well. I see the bias both ways. So, I assume, does he, and goes where he feels more comfortable for his news and commentary. Again, so what?--Wehwalt (talk) 06:02, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
Stick to the subject. If Kagan gave the same interview with the same stuff and was as controversial and as powerful on the court as Scalia, sure. And I'm sorry if you find liberal newspapers annoying, but Scalia gave a cover story interview to one and expressed those things. What's the liberal bias in what he said? He said it. Conservatives would say and do these things as well, and proudly. The fact that the guy is Supreme Court justice is what makes it matter, so yes, it's important. He makes decisions that affect US society: Did you know? Finally, we have two bulky paragraphs on his religion (in section right above this one). It makes absolutely no sense to have those (one that goes on and on about what he may have meant with his hand gestures) and not have what media he relies on. Period. --Aichik (talk) 22:42, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
But you're not proposing to quote what he said, you're proposing to quote someone's reaction to it. I have no objection to saying that he skims the Journal and Wash Times and does not read the NY Times and Wash Post, along with why, and that he listens to talk radio, citing directly to the New York article. Pretty good interview I thought. And I'd agree with him on Morrison v. Olson.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:08, 27 August 2014 (UTC)