Talk:Antonin Scalia/Archive 1

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Removed sentence for being POV

I've removed the following sentence:

Perhaps this fact illustrates Senator McConnell's statement during Scalia's confirmation hearings that "Judicial conservatism is politically neutral."

This sentence was a blatant editorial violation of WP:NPOV.

I know this isn't glam

But we need an article on Scalia's dissnets, like Brand X [1], on regulatory rulemaking. John wesley 21:24, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

An entirely separate article? Why? Bjsiders 01:55, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
His theory of administrative authority, his dissent in Mead most recently, is so different than the otters. John wesley 13:11, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm still unclear as to your reasoning, and unrelated links, or why any of it justifies a separate article as opposed to mention here. Bjsiders 13:23, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I hadn't thought it would be proper in this article, but that's an idea. I know there was a recent book (within in the last year) about his dissents. And I got this queesy feeling that Scalia is suspicuous generally of administrative rulemaking. His Brand X dissent is ascerbic in his tale of horrors of how the FCC could overrule Congress and the courts. I think there would be a line of such arguments that he's made before. Some law student with Westlaw could do a search for his dissents on admin and agency rulemaking John wesley 19:25, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I know the book you're referring to, it's called "Scalia Dissents" or something like it. I have read a few opinions in it and it is indeed rather acerbic in parts. I think any such discussion would fit well into the current argument. If you'd care to expand on the issue, I'd be glad to contribute. Since I'm not sure what issues specifically you'd like to include, perhaps you could draft a basic framework for the new portion of the article, it'd be a good starting place for other editors to get involved. Bjsiders 19:35, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I think you have Kevin Ring's Scalia Dissents in mind. I actually think the entire section in this article on "notable opinions" needs some serious attention, I just haven't had the time to work on it. Perhaps what you're describing would fit into a subsection of notable opinions, similar to the sixth amendment discussion? Or if you have a specific area of jurisprudence in mind, perhaps a paragraph under legal philosophy section? Simon Dodd 02:21, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I am really keen on administrative law and the APA, Administrative Procedure Act jurisprudence. I get the feeling that Scalia thinks that many agencies exceed the grant of authority given by Congress. FCC, OCC, FTC, NLRB etc. John wesley 20:09, 18 May 2006 (UTC)


I think the general characterization of Scalia here is a bit simplistic: it's true that when the mainstream media splits the court into "conservative" versus "liberal" that Scalia falls on the "conservative" side. However, he's much more libertarian (in the civil liberties sense) than, say, Thomas or Rehnquist, and so doesn't fit into the law-and-order give-government-more-powers type of conservatism they sometimes are willing to sign on to. For example, he joined with Stevens, widely considered one of the Court's most liberal justices, in a scathing opinion in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld that said the Bush administration's policy of holding US citizens without trial was indefensible on any Constitutional grounds (Thomas, by contrast, made a "national security is important" argument). --Delirium 06:09, Oct 15, 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure if it is entirely accurate to class Scalia's opinion in Hamdi as 'liberal'. Though the point that the conservative-liberal dichotomy blurs important nuances is a good one, Scalia's treatment of the holding of U.S. citizens without trial was only presented insofar as to restrict the application of rights of 'enemy combatants' on the basis of quasi-territorial jurisdiction. It might perhaps be safer to simply argue that Scalia's position is fundamentally originalist and that his 'liberal' or 'conservative' decisions are inevitably placed within the context of restricting judicial powers and preserving the prerogatives of Executive and Congress. He argues that 'If civil rights are to be curtailed during wartime, it must be done openly and democratically, as the Constitution requires, rather than by silent erosion through an opinion of this Court'.

That quoted bit was one of Scalia's minor points. A careful reading of the opinion reveals that his main concern was that the Executive arrogated the Congressional power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. He also felt that the Court's solution strayed too close to legislating a palatable solution, and that the only duty of the Court in this case was to recognize the lawlessness of the President's approach and order that it be stopped. I'll also note that Scalia's 'originalist' or 'textualist' interpretational method occasionally places him in seemingly 'liberal' positions in other contexts--flag-burning, for example, or a variety of due process issues less fundamental than the one implicated in Hamdi. Where Scalia earns his archconservative label is in privacy, Establishment Clause, and Eleventh Amendment doctrines. SS451 03:46, Jan 14, 2005 (UTC)

What a mess, this page

I think we need to start moving some of these quotes to Wikiquote. Can someone take care of that? I haven't learned how to use the Transwiki feature yet.

Also, many of these quotes are unsourced or uncited. With someone as controversial as Scalia I think it's important that to avoid putting words in his mouth, we should make sure he really wrote them or said them. At least I bothered to supply a cite for the quote from Dickerson!

--Coolcaesar 12:15, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Not a word about Election 2000?

I would think that at least a mention of Bush_v._Gore in the Important Cases section would be warranted, if not a larger more general treatment in the body of the article.

Love Bush or hate Bush, I don't think anyone would deny that Scalia's position on the (unsigned) majority side of the 5-4 decision ended up being pretty damned important.

Index of many links on the topic:

The trouble with discussing Scalia and Bush is that he didn't write in that case, and has studiously avoided commenting on the merits of the case for the ensuing five years, AFAIK. This renders comment difficult at best and unfounded speculation at worst.--Simon Dodd 05:07, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Does he go duck hunting?

Yes.--Simon Dodd 05:07, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Taking potshots at other justices

The article says that "In his concurring and dissenting opinions, he frequently takes what may be characterized as sarcastic and biting "potshots" at the other justices, quoting them from past opinions to point out what he considers inconsistencies in their reasoning, or accusing them of inventing legal standards out of thin air." They make it sound like a bad thing. I think it's good that he points out that activitist judges contradict themselves because they just make up the constitution as they go along. As for saying that they invent legal standards out of thin air, if it's right, it's not slander. Scalia for Chief Justice! -- ColdFusion650

I wouldn't change the wording. Knowing nothing about any of the justices, when I read that in Scalia's article I got a favorable impression of the man. Allow the description to stand as is. If accurate, it permits the reader to form his own opinion without excessive influence from the phrasing. Bjsiders 23:17, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

As a moderate, I personally disagree with most of Scalia's views. But I agree that the sentence mentioned is an accurate and neutral characterization of his attacks on his judicial brethren and I see no reason for changing it. --Coolcaesar 22:44, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Restrictions on Electronic Media

I think it needs to be clarified whether he only restricted his speeches to private entities or not. If he was speaking as a Justice, obviously it's a clear 1st amendment issue, but if he simply doesn't want the media at his meetings as a private individual, that's not always necessarily objectionable and needs to be placed before the reader for him to decide. Kade 23:49, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Is the part about the hand gesture controversy really needed? It's really long in relation to the rest of the article, and not even that important. If it is going to be mentioned, it should be limited to a sentence or two. The length of that part is just part of the criticism of wikipedia in which it is far more interested in current events rather than actual substance. --- Unsigned edit by User:, 17 April 2006

I agree. I would prefer to not have it at all, because I think the whole "controversy" is an overblown bunch of nonsense, and covering it in an encycopaedia seems to lend it an air of legitimacy. However, and none-the-less, if we have nothing at all in this article, liberals are going to complain that we are "covering up for Scalia", and if we have anything in here at all, it needs to be comprehensive in order to demonstrate what a ridiculous non-story it really is. Thus, I don't intend to delete it, and I don't think it should be deleted (yet), but if another editor does delete it, I certainly don't intend to revert that edit. Maybe this time next year when the fuss has died down, we can safely remove it; but I suspect that we are stuck with it for the time being, although I agree with you that it is ridiculous and incidental. Simon Dodd 17:20, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm quite disappointed to have read this statement on April 18 that you did not intend to delete the hand gesture controversy and didn't think it should be deleted yet, when upon finding it missing today and checking the history, I determined that you had actually removed it yourself on April 14. What I have done in some extensive edits today is to create a new section, which I hope stands on its own as NPOV, addressing Scalia's judicial temperament. I do this not out of a desire to slam Scalia, but because his willingness to skewer other Justices in his opinions was without recent precedent on the Supreme Court (with some nod here to Douglas and occasionally T. Marshall) and remains unparalleled, and is frankly one of the reasons that he is a historically important Justice. The contrast between his recusal in Elk Grove and refusal to recuse in Cheney is important and will remain part of his legacy. And the hand controversy is a good case study in which most elements of what makes him significant as a Justice in the form as well as content of his judicial behavior play a role. (It also brings questions about his veracity into question, to be sure, but those questions exist well outside Wikipedia and our choice is merely whether we should acknowledge them or pretend that they don't exist.) I hope that my taking the sections dealing with judicial temperament from various portions of this article and weaving a coherent story out of them -- a story that tells an important part of Scalia's significance as a public figure -- satisfactorily addresses whatever other misgivings anyone might have had about this section. Major Danby, 20 April, 2006.
Major, you should check the edit history more closely. What I said in my comment above on April 18th was that "I don't intend to delete it, and I don't think it should be deleted (yet), but if another editor does delete it, I certainly don't intend to revert that edit." And indeed, I did not delete that section, on the Fourteenth or at any other time; it was deleted on the Ninteenth, by another editor, user:, and true to my April 18th comment, I did not revert that edit. My edits on the fourteenth did not remove the section, but rather, tidied it up somewhat, and indeed, added considerable factual sourcing to it.In any event, with the exception of making a few changes to the (IMO, leading) section titles, your edits today are really good - the handling of recusal is effective and NPOV. I have added additional sourcing, wikified, and added some minor rewords. However, I have reverted the so-called "hand gesture controversy" to my last edit thereof. Simon Dodd 14:02, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
OK, Simon, let's talk about the changes you made to the section on the hand gesture controversy. I believe that you believe that you've made it more NPOV, but I think you've missed the point in several areas. I don't know how to approach this other than systematically. Running everything together as one paragraph, you wrote:
In March 2006, a Boston Herald reporter approached Scalia after a church service, asking if he faced questioning over impartiality on matters of church and state. Scalia replied, "You know what I say to those people?" and made a gesture originally misreported by both liberal and conservative sources as the bird.[13] Subsequent reports clarified that it was the traditional Italian gesture of disdain, "cupping the hand under the chin and flicking the fingers like a backward wave".[14][15] After the Herald ran the article (which, inter alia, referred to Scalia as an "Italian jurist" [16][17]) Scalia submitted a letter to the editor of the Herald, stating "from watching too many episodes of the Sopranos, your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene -- especially when made by an 'Italian jurist'. (I am, by the way, an American jurist.)" His letter quoted from the Luigi Barzini book, The Italians: "The extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means 'I couldn't care less. It's no business of mine. Count me out.'"[18][19][20] The gesture was captured by a freelance photographer for the Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.[21] The photograph clearly shows Scalia making the gesture referred to in his letter - not giving the finger. The photographer later claimed Scalia accompanied the gesture with the utterance "vaffanculo" (loosely translated as "fuck you" [22]); a nearby Boston Herald reporter, however, claimed to have heard no such utterance.[23].
I had written it like this: Scalia's caustic wit, relations with the electronic media, and attitudes towards recusal all played a role in a March 2006 controversy that began when a Boston Herald reporter asked him, as he was leaving a Red Mass in Boston, for his response to critics who asserted that his religious beliefs meant that he could not be impartial in adjudicating cases involving the separation of church and state. Scalia replied, "You know what I say to those people?" and proceeded to make a gesture that was reported as a traditional Italian gesture of disdain: "cupping the hand under the chin and flicking the fingers like a backward wave". [2][3] After the Herald ran the article (which, inter alia, referred to Scalia as an "Italian-American jurist" [4]) Scalia submitted a letter to the editor of the Herald, stating "from watching too many episodes of the Sopranos, your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene -- especially when made by an 'Italian jurist'. (I am, by the way, an American jurist.)" His letter quoted from the Luigi Barzini book, The Italians: "The extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means 'I couldn't care less. It's no business of mine. Count me out.'"[5][6][7] The gesture was captured by a photograph taken by a freelance photographer for the Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.[link to Post Chronicle removed] This photograph clearly shows Scalia with his hand below and several inches forward of his chin. The photographer later said that Scalia accompanied the gesture with the utterance "vaffanculo" (literally "go and take it in the ass" [8]); a nearby Boston Herald reporter, however, said that she did not hear this utterance.[9].
Let's look at some of the differences: (1) You removed mention of what to me makes this an interesting case study, i.e. that it raises all three areas in which Scalia's judicial temperament have been at issue. (2) You remove mention of the "Red Mass," which is a significant event in the Catholic legal community and heightens the importance of the altercation. (3) You reinsert mention of the gesture originally having been reported as "the bird." This is not an important part of the story. The continuing controversy is whether Scalia made the "flipping fingers forward" motion that means "get fucked in the ass" or the "slowly moving fingers back and forth motion" that he asserts means "I couldn't care less." Of interest here is whether Scalia disdainfully committed a public faux pas and then lied about it. "Flipping the bird" would have been no more obscene than the gesture Scalia is accused of having made; to the extent you think the point of including this part of the story is that it showed that the initial press report was incorrect, I argue that it is immaterial to the issue at hand and not noteworthy. (4) You reinforce Scalia's assertion that the Herald referred to him as an "Italian" jurist, making his putative correction appear reasonable. Several sources, at least one of which I cited, clearly state that the original Laurel Sweet article of March 27 referred to him as an "Italian-American" jurist. I looked up the article via Lexis, and that characterization is correct. So, in fact, Scalia's sly insinuation of bigotry was misplaced, unfair, and based on his misreading of a text. The article should not make this easily verifiable and easily refuted charge appear reasonable and just. (5) The photo clearly does NOT show Scalia making the gesture referred to in his letter ("fingers back and forth under the chin"), but one in which his fingers have flipped well forward of his chin. The photo is inculpatory, not exculpatory. I'm happy to debate this with you further if you think my reading of it is unobjective. (6) You change the verb for both the photopgrapher's and reporter's statements from "said" to "claimed," which I suggest is less NPOV. Consider if I had edited it to "Scalia send a letter claiming ..." -- you'd be rightfully disturbed. (7) You've removed my literal translation of "vaffanculo" as "go get fucked in the ass" to a "loose" translation of "fuck you." In so doing, you've removed the homosexual subtext of the insult, which is of interest given the issue at hand. There is no reason to prefer the looser and less edifying translation.
You, in other words, present a narrative in which Scalia is wrongly accused of having made an obscene gesture, in which Scalia's version of events is born out, in which Scalia wittily responds to the subtle bigotry of the reporter evinced by her identifying him solely as "Italian" in her story, and in which the statement he allegedly made is merely hostile as opposed to one that may be fairly seen as reflecting a specific anti-homosexual animus. I believe that you believe all of this is true and/or justified, but I don't think you've grappled with the evidence. In fact, photographic evidence shows that Scalia did make an obscene gesture that is apparently different from the non-obscene one he claims to have made, the archival evidence shows that his insinuation of bigotry was in fact entirely spurious, and the linguistic evidence suggests that the insult that the photographer said he heard Scalia say was a specifically anti-gay slur. Those verifiable facts suggest an entirely different narrative than the one you have offered.
I will not yet make editorial changes in line with the above because it would be better for you to do so -- or, if you prefer, to have a chance to explain why you don't think that the evidence I have adduced shows what I claim. In time, I'll change it myself if you won't, and we can move to whatever dispute resolution mechanism is appropriate. As for what may be your inclination to say "let's just throw the whole thing out," I entirely disagree. This can be done in an NPOV way, and it belongs in this entry because it is one of the few cases where Scalia's assertions about his controversial behavior can actually be tested by objective evidence.
I regret feeling the need to have gone on at such length -- you may consider it a gesture of respect both for your argumentative ability and for what I suspect may be the difficulty of convincing you of what this evidence means -- but the recasting of the "hand gesture" story in the manner you have done seems to me representative of the subtle POV in the diary as a whole, most of which I've simply been willing to accept, and in this instance I think it is patently and demonstrably wrong. I hope we'll be able to reach some accommodation. I do thank you for your other useful edits. Major Danby, 21 April, 2006 (UTC).
I think this incident has little to do with Scalia's "caustic wit". I also think it's important to explain the initial misreporting of the gesture, as this bears on the pile-on sloppiness the media with respect to this event. In six months or a year, the whole thing will be reduced to a sentence in the article anyway, as its importance will fade with time. bd2412 T 04:06, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Major, I'll reply to those numbered points in turn.
1. An interesting case study in what? In your telling of the story, it is presented as an interesting case study in how terribly obnxious this Scalia fellow is. POV can be hidden in structure just as easily as it can be put in plain view in the text.
2. I'm not going to argue over whether the mass was red, green or even cerise. Is it relevant? Don't know, don't care, but since I have no strong opinion either way, and you do, I've replaced the link to Red Mass.
3. It is important - to the extent that any part of this ridiculous non-story is "important," something that involves an extremely loose definition of the term - because it shows precisely how credible the media reporting in all this really are. You say this that or the other part of the story is non-noteworthy; I maintain that the entire STORY is non-noteworthy. It is nothing more than a media feeding frenzy that they got themselves into afer misreporting or misrepresenting what happened, and could then no longer back out of.
4. The paper referred to him as an Italian jurist. Their own website reflects that, and so did the paper edition. It was misreported in other outlets that he was referred to as an Italian-American jurist, presumably on the assumption that it was a typo. None-the-less, the article referred to him as an Italian jurist; he is not, and he corrected them. The mere existence of the correction, even arguendo absent any other evidence, would imply as much. Why does this matter? It matters for the same reason that the misreporting of him having flipped off the reporter matters: as evidence of precisely the sloppy reporting and careless lack of attention to facts which underlies and suffuses this entire story. If any doubt remains, call a friend in Boston and have them read you what the print edition of the paper actually said.
5. The photo shows Scalia making precisely the gesture he refers to. I mean, I don't know how you can seriously sit there and claim otherwise; that's why it's called photographic evidence. While we're at it, here's a photograph showing my chiseled good looks. what do you mean that image clearly does NOT show me? I don't see how you can talk about an objective reading of a photograph; there is only one photograph, it shows what it shows, and what it shows is Scalia making the gesture he mentioned in his letter.
6. The photographer claimed it. He made an assertion of fact without due evidence, which is pretty close to the dictionary definition of "claim" ("To state to be true, especially when open to question"). Of course he "said" it too, in the sense that all verbal communication involves "saying" something, but I would argue the more appropriate description for it is "claimed". There is no other basis for his story, it is unsubstantiated, and indeed, is flatly contradicted by at least one other witness. In any event, though, like the red mass thing, I'm not much interested in a minor semantic argument on this point, so I have edited the article to replace "claimed" with "said". I don't think that's as accurate or apt a choice of words, but it'll suffice, and I'm willing to go along to get along.
7. I replaced your unsupported translation with one that is sourced from a neutral third-party entirely unrelated to the incident. There is every reason to prefer my edit to yours: because it comes from a source that has nothing to do with this incident, and is therefore trustworthy as rendering a translation unbiased by POV regarding the particular alleged use of the term in this incident.
I would say that the version of the text I am pushing for presents a narrative in which Scalia is accused of having made an obscene gesture, and responds with a denial which happens to be supported by independent photographic evidence. That is precisely what happened, and that is precisely what an NPOV reportage ought to say; the reader is left to their own devices to make up their own mind as to whether or not they believe Scalia's explanation of events, still less what they think of the altercation. My POV on this subject is absolutely not reflected in the article; if it was, the section would either be missing entirely, or it would criticize Scalia for NOT flipping the reporter off, which in my view he should have. Simon Dodd 14:19, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Scalia and "Originalism" vs. "Textualism"

The opening paragraph is wrong -- at least if the legal jargon is used in its technical sense. Scalia disavows "Textualism" -- which in its most basic form is a reliance on the "four corners" of the Constitution for its meaning. A textualist only needs the Constitution and a 1789 Dictionary. Textualism and Originalism are not the same thing. Scalia's version of Originalism is closer to the idea of "Original Meaning." The question an Originalist of this stripe asks when confronted with a question of Constitutional Interpretation is, "what was the public meaning of this clause at the time of ratification?" To get at this, Scalia will reference such external sources as the Federalist Papers, early Court decisions, Convention notes, etc.

Scalia is a strict textualist in reading statutes, not the Constitution. Vincent Vecera 20:37, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Scalia disavows strict constructionism, not textualism (Scalia, A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION at p.23), and in any event, neither theory outright deny the utility of structural or extratextual sources to shed light on the meaning of a textual provision. I think Vincent is also incorrect to say that the difference turns on whether one is interpreting a statute or a constitution; rather, the difference turns on when the text was ratified. I think it is mistaken to suggest that there is a division between originalism and textualism, and certainly where Scalia is concerned, I think that becomes clear when one considers the underlying paradigm. Scalia's underlying philosophy (and mine) is that a text means what it meant when it was adopted, and that it "should not be construed strictly and it should not be construed leniently; it should be construed reasonably, to contain all that it fairly means" (ibid.) (that is, the laws - of which the Constitution is one - should be construed reasonably, to contain all that their terms fairly encompass with the scope of the ordinary meaning of that language at time of ratification). Seen that way, textualism and originalism are not opposed concepts; as far as I use them, and as far as I understand Scalia to use them, originalism is best seen as an error-correcting lens which fits over textualism to account for the passage of time. Thus, one would use textualism to evaluate the Twenty-seventh Amendment (proposed 1791, ratified 1992) because it was ratified in 1992, and the plain meaning of the English language has not substantially changed in fourteen years; likewise, if a case turned on a statute adopted by Congress in 1792, you (or certainly I) would use originalism to evaluate that text, because the use of language can certainly have been expected to alter in that time. Simon Dodd 19:36, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Middle Name

I've never seen Scalia's name written with a middle intital--does he have a middle name at all?

  • It's Gregory, as per the text. Simon Dodd 19:38, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

POV problem, article should be rewritten?

I think the article is skewed towards a favorable opinion of Scalia; even before presenting facts on what causes him to be considered a conservative judge, the article eloborates on why he is not really that conservative. To see the point, take the discussion on abortition; there is no discussion on his position on Roe vs. Wade, but rather the articles states he is not really opposed to abortion if legislated at the state level. At many other points, by not touching his conservatice positions at all, the article draws a moderate and favorable view of him. -User: Baroqqque

With due respect, you changed a section that ran "Scalia is considered the Court's leading proponent of constitutional originalism. He is careful to distinguish his philosophy of original meaning from original intent" to read "Scalia is considered the most conservative judge on the supreme court. According to Segal-Cover criteria, he receives a score of -1, placing him at the conservative end of the specturum." As far as I can see, you are advocating MPOV, not NPOV. The only concrete example of the article's "bias" you mention is that you evidently don't realize that the proposition that Scalia's opposition to Roe is a jurisprudential one is supported by numberous opinions and speeches, many of which are linked from this very article. It seems to me that your real beef isn't that the article is POV (if indeed it is, which I doubt), but that it doesn't reflect your POV, which is clearly that he's that mean ol' Nino and must be demonized at any turn and in any forum available. This is not a forum for such flim-flam; if the article neutrally describes its subject and that leaves the reader with a favorable impression, so be it. So: what exactly is it that you think is POV in the article? Specifics, please. Simon Dodd 02:59, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
In addition, if you even begin to replicate in this article your behaviour in Fethullah Gülen (see user contribs), appropriate action will be taken. This article is not going to be turned into a forum for someone to get their greivances about Scalia off their chest, and it will not be the vehicle for a yawnsome edit war. It will be (will remain, in my view) a neutral and informative wikipedia article that conforms to the NPOV standard.Simon Dodd 03:07, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Knowing nothing about Scalia, I read this article and felt it was an excellent, encyclopedic article covering basic biographical information and giving the reader a good sense of who the guy is. In fact, performing other additional research, I felt that this article, if anything, was light on some details of Scalia's intellectual credentials at Harvard (but I don't think the article needs it added to be complete). It seems to me to be a fairly even-handed handling of the guy, I felt it accurately and objectively described his life and made no effort to judge it one way or another. Bjsiders 04:21, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Im not advocating demonizing him, for sure. I thought i made my intention clear; in my reading of the pieces on Scalia, he is almost always described as the most conservative member of the court, yet the characterization in the article presents him as a moderate vilified by uninformed public. Is that really the prevailing view on Scalia? I am not sure.
About Gulen article, my impression is that you have not read the discussion section detail, please do so, and correspond with the moderator on the way I behaved, and if you still have concerns, we could talk about. I honestly think making unspecified and distorted accusations is a cheap shot, or at the very least, unfair. Moreover, if previous record is an indication of bias, I cannot see how taking part in an edit pwar, at the end of which, the moderataor clearly indicated the version that I advocated to be preserved was the NPOV one(check his view on, indicates any bias, whereas your record clearly indicates a favorably opinion of the conservative legal philosophy, am I wrong? Also, I wuold appreciate it more if you could dedicate a larger part of your counterargument to argument itself, rather than saluting the principles of wikipedia and trying to present me as a monster. Obviously, I believe in those principles too, and obviously, I also can write high prose with little factual information, but such dicussion really goes nowehere.
I dont intend to make further changes at the moment, I thought the part that I added was noncontroversial, as recently I was going through the articles on supreme court justices and in many the score measuring degree of conservatism, developed by APSR, leading journal in political science, was included. I stand by my point that the article has hidden bias, perhaps not by what is included, but rather what is excluded, and hope others will contribute to the discussion.
Baroqqque 01:26, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. If the article has hidden bias, I see it being against Scalia rather than in favor. The article very clearly lays out Scalia's conservative stripe. Add your bit about his conservative score if you want but don't replace a good objective section of the article that explains WHY Scalia is considered conservative with a number. Bjsiders 16:41, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Editing some liberal scribbes

I removed some slanderous remarks in the education and personal section. Need to check on the children's names, as some of them may have been altered as a joke. Update - removed "Samuel" from list of children's names. Jameswikichen

  • I did a rv to Wizard1022 to make sure all the vandalism was removed. In the future, Jameswikichen, when you see this sort of vandalism, the easiest and best way to remedy the problem is just a rv. And we cannot ascribe this vandalism to a "liberal," as articles of all stripes are attacked by vandals. Also, be sure to sign your comments on discussion pages with four tildes, e.g. ~~~~ David Hoag 06:47, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
People who vandalize articles with juvenile nonsense often just enjoy watching the stuffy derision that follows in the discussion page. Just revert stuff like this and don't bother commenting on it. Bjsiders 21:02, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Lawrence v. Texas

I find it interesting and unfortunate that no mention is made of Lawrence v. Texas other than merely being listed under "Important Cases". I think this is one of his most significant rulings in recent history and should at least be briefly mentioned. What do the rest of you think? Thanks.Trojanpony 07:00, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, it's certainly a representative opinion in that it's as screwball as Scalia gets. Go ahead and write something up on it and we'll see what sticks. Vincent Vecera 14:10, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
In other words, you think Scalia is a nutcase and want the article to more strongly reflect that opinion? So let's add whatever we can think of to the article that colors it in that direction? Throw enough mud and some of it will stick? That's hardly the sort of intellectual rigor with which we ought to approach edits. I propose that somebody highlight why Lawrence v. Texas is an important case, and if anybody thinks it's representative of Scalia's judicial philosophy, explain why or how. In a perfect world, you might post your edits here first for discussion, especially since you are rather obviously and openly approaching it from a strong POV. Bjsiders 17:14, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
That's right. Vincent Vecera 19:02, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Lol. I just got your joke about intellectual rigor and wikipedia. Well played, sir! Vincent Vecera 19:03, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I didn't make any jokes. I'm glad you found something amusing but the source of your mirth remains a mystery to me. :) Bjsiders 19:32, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
ja, mein Herr. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).


Does anyone have a more recent offical picture of Justice Scalia to post at the top of his bio? I believe that the one there now is nearly 20 years old.

While an official picture is obviously to be preferred, I think any recent picture free from copyright problems would probably suffice. If you can find a good image where the copyright isn't a problem, feel free to substitute it and move the current picture further down the page. Simon Dodd 19:40, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

LGB rights opposition

I've removed [[Category:LGBT rights opposition|Scalia, Antonin]] from Scalia's categories because I believe it is inaccurate. It seems to me that Scalia opposes judicially-imposed LGB rights, but would be fine with the legislative branch either creating or recognizing (depending on your point of view) LGB rights. (Also, I don't recall any "T" cases coming before the Supreme Court, so I think including that in the acronym is inaccurate anyway.) --Psiphiorg 14:44, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree, but in any event, it really isn't much relevant what Scalia's normative view on homosexuality is, given that his view (as you say) is that the question is whether in his formal capacity he supports a bizarre reconception of the fourteenth amendment to pander to current social attitudes. In other words, it does not matter if he would vote to repeal the Texas law at issue in Lawrence as would Justice Thomas; what matters is whether the Fourteenth Amendment invalidates the law. Saying that it does not makes Scalia about as much a person opposed to LGB rights as my saying that the second amendment protects the right to bear arms makes me a person opposed to the rights of cufflinks. I agree, incidentally, that the term LGBT seems to make a bizarre mockery of noscitur a sociis; I'm not sure what a minor offshoot of apotemnophilia has to do with being LGB, and it seems bizarre that anyone covered by the Ls, Gs or Bs wants to assocaite their status with a form of mental illness. If I were them, I would be more carefull which wagons I hitched my cause to. User:Simon Dodd 20:35, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

You're naive - or have an axe to grind - if you think Nino Scalia would be "fine" with LGB or T rights from the legislative, judicial, executive, or so-called "fourth" branch of government. His Catholic-ness would hardly be compatible with that. And I, for one, am perfectly happy to hitch my wagon to any other put-upon underdog that's asking just to be allowed to live without fear of violence and to be given a fair shake. Your hatred, bad spelling, and atrocious grammar are repulsive. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Scalia's opposition to establishing basic, fundamental rights of gays and lesbians is clearly established by his flamey comments in dissenting Lawrence v. Texas. For an example, see gay agenda. For oppressive behavior (abuse of power), he certainly belongs in this category for now. GilliamJF 15:50, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas was based on the fact that he believe the Court's role is to determine what CAN and CANNOT be law, rather than what SHOULD or SHOULD not be law. Scalia and Thomas both echoed the sentiment in their dissents that the anti-sodomy law in Texas was stupid and silly and shouldn't be a law. However, they saw nothing that indicated that it can't be a law in this country. The majority judges had to cite a European court decision to support their positions. Scalia specifically said that he has "no problem" with homosexuality-advocacy groups pursuing their goals through the democratic system. How this translates into an "opposition to estabiashing basic, fundamental rights of gays and lesbians" is beyond me. Did he oppose free speech rights for homosexuals? The right to assemble? To carry a gun? Anything else in the bill of rights? Which rights are not being supported? If you want to cite sexual privacy and marriage, Scalia doesn't think the constitution contains any such rights, for homosexuals or hetereosexuals, and that if these groups want those rights, they ought to be esablished by elected legislatures, and not common law. Scalia doesn't view his Court decisions as being a matter of what policies he supports or doesn't support, so his assent/dissent to a decision should not be seen as his personal endorsement of a policy. He upheld flag-burning as free speech although it's unlikely he approves of the practice. I disagree strongly that he belongs in the anti-rights group. Some judges allow their decisions to be no different than their personal political beliefs, but Scalia is not usually among them. Bjsiders 16:08, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
I concur in Bjsiders's comment, and refer back to both my and Psiphiorg's previous comments. The attempt to place Scalia in this category is yet another example of how some liberals simply cannot grasp the job description of an apellate judge, vis-a-vis the difference between what is (or what they think to be) morally correct and what the constitution says. Further attempts to reinstate this category without further evidence will be reverted without further comment. Simon Dodd 21:07, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree, and would also note that the very existence of the category should be questioned. It seems more like disrupting wikipedia to make a point than a real attempt to provide useful information. --Ajdz 23:45, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
I too agree with Bjsiders and Simon Dodd. That is exactly what I've been trying to tell people; that it is up to the legislatures to draw the line between incest and homosexuality with respect to marriage, NOT the courts. But those thick-headed liberals never learn, they never listen. Shaneymike 14:42, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand. Scalia may very well be VERY anti-LBG, especially given that he's Catholic. There is, however, no evidence or proof of this provided other than his Justice writings, which, under his philosophy as a jurist, may not necessarily reflect his personal feelings. I'd like to see more discussion for those supporting this flag rather than just changes to the article adding/removing it. There may be evidence of Scalia's bias in this matter but the case cited is not it. Bjsiders 17:00, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Scalia's (lack of) recusal with Cheney

Shouldn't Scalia's refusal to recuse in Cheney v. USDC for District of Columbia (03-0475) get a mention somewhere - especially as Scalia has now stated that his refusal is "[...] the proudest thing I have done on the bench [...]"[10] ? --moof 09:30, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Given the emerging strategy by the left to ameliorate their failure to stop Alito by trying to push Scalia out of every case possible, [11], I think that it wold be reasonable to include some discussion of Scalia's recusal in Elk Grove compared to his refusal to recuse in Cheney and Hamdan. Such a discussion, though, should be focussed very carefully on his in chambers opinion regarding Cheney, which is his most reliable statement on the issue of recusal, and I think that whatever ultimately goes into the article, it is going to be extremely difficult to adequately render a concise but NPOV framing of the issues. For that reason, I think that there is an extraordinary pressure for comity, respectful co-operation and deference between authors of differing views on such an addition. Simon Dodd 17:56, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, nice call for comity and respectful cooperation there after beginning with "emerging strategy of the left". That said, I'd happily see a more well-developed, NPOV (perhaps not by you, eh?) section on Scalia's philosophy regarding recusal. Major Danby 03:20, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
This is the talk page, not the article, and there is no requirement for NPOV on talk pages. It is absurd to expect that editors do not have a POV - rather, the NPOV rules require that Wikipedia articles do not express a POV. I have my opinion on Scalia and recusal, I'm sure you do too, and particularly in this instance, I think it is going to be difficult to hammer out a text which is NPOV. Now, I can't do that alone, because I think that the demands for recusal are totally spurious, and should be met with a considerably more obscene gesture than that recieved by the reporter who accosted Scalia in Boston. I hope that some sort of language that reflects neither my POV nor yours can be hammered out, but if not, better that the article is silent on the topic than have a chunk of text that reflects my views or what I take by inference to be yours. Simon Dodd 14:54, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe (nor do I think that you actually believe) that I ever asserted an NPOV "requirement" for talk pages. I do assert that insulting those with whom you disagree and then calling for "comity" is almost comically self-defeating. As for a section on recusal: it's not important enough to me to try to craft one, but I don't share your pessimism. Such a section would probably have to be rooted in the standards and history of judicial recusal and include reference to why he did recuse in Elk Grove. If you feel like teeing one up, I'll take a swing at it. Major Danby.

I added a sentence noting the public memorandum Scalia issued in the Cheney case and describing the content of same. I would think that the substance of what I added should be uncontroversial, although it could perhaps use a bit of style cleanup. SS451 04:39, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Editing some conservative nonsense

The article is shamelessly POV, coming off as if it were written by Fox News, rather than an objective encyclopedia article. Let's see if we can make it more coherent and less about labeling Scalia the "leading" anything. Frankly, the leading judges in the country by most reckoning (e.g., Posner and Easterbrook) aren't on the Supremes, so maybe we should refrain from describing Scalia in such laudatory terms and rather, as the conservatives are heard to recommend, "teach the controversy." (unsigned edit by user:; multiple redundant copies of same comment excised)

Let's assume, for sake of argument, that an anomyous, unsigned and unspecific criticism, as thinly reasoned and as tenuously connected to the actual article as yours is, should be engaged with at face value. This pernicious bias that you percieve seems to have entirely escaped the attention of any other editor; perhaps you could suggest precisely what wordings in which subsections fail to meet your threshold test for NPOV? The only concrete complaint that you offer is that the article refers to scalia as "leading" something; you object that "the leading judges in the country by most reckoning aren't on the Supremes" (parenthetical omitted). The article refers to Scalia as a "leader" precisely once: it says that "Scalia is considered the Court's leading proponent of textualism and originalism." Note the presence of the definite article before the proper noun "Court". By your own terms, "the leading judges in the country by most reckoning" are not members of the Court; this, to make any conherent sense, your complaint would have to be that Scalia is not, in fact, considered the Supreme Court's leading proponent of textualism and originalism. Which of the other eight would you say is the Court's leading proponent of textualism and originalism? Simon Dodd 00:33, 20 April 2006 (UTC)


The list of cases where Scalia "voted liberal" was POV, too detailed, and misplaced (due to my poor actions a while back as an anon). So I de-listed the material, greatly condensed it, and moved it to a new section called "Jurisprudence in practice." As cobbled together by me, this new section is poorly explained, uneven, and not detailed enough. It needs subsections on Scalia's federalism and separation of powers jurisprudence. It also needs a better title than "Jurisprudence in practice." But I do think (1) the condensing and (2) the removing of the material from the "Important cases" section, were necessary, and I hope this a good start as to a re-organization, while vast improvements to the text do need to be made. I hope folks agree with that and can improve and expand the material (I will too). If not, feel free to rv, and other suggestions as to organization would of course be very welcome. Pan Dan 17:22, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Inclusion Of Reference

I was wanting to get opinions on whether or not the following article from (a liberal, opinionated and tabloid-like online webzine) would be considered a reliable source for the Scalia page. There is a current discussion about the reliability of as it relates to BLP here. If deemed a reliable source, one could use the article to support the widely held opinion that Scalia is "martyr", is a "a poster boy for intolerance, vitriol and questionable ethics", writes "masterpieces of contemptuous nastiness" and turns up "the volume on his vitriol so high that it's hard to hear anything" [12]. Any opinions? Thanks SSS108 talk-email 03:10, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I would tend to think that Salon is a reliable source only insofar as demonstrating its own partisanship, and in any event, the assertions you propose to cite it in support of would almost inherently render the article POV. It seems to me that if the article is going to have a "criticism" section (which I would certainly not oppose, since it seems to me that most of the scholarly criticism of Scalia tends to identify characteristics whose virtue or vice is is distinctly in the eye of the beholder), it would be far better to discuss serious scholarship criticizing Scalia's methodology -- George Kannar's The Constitutional Catechism of Antonin Scalia, 99 Yale Law Journal 1297, or Tom Levinson's recent Confrontation, Fidelity, Transformation: the Fundementalist Persona of Justice Antonin Scalia, 26 Pace L. Rev. 445 -- rather than a bunch of hostile liberal hooey. Simon Dodd 17:39, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree, Simon Dodd. But what is your opinion about the reliability of as a reference for Biographies of Living People? On the discussion link I cited earlier, you can see the various arguments for its inclusion despite the fact that is openly liberal, opinionated and an online tabloid-like webzine. SSS108 talk-email 02:00, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Opus Dei

Is Scalia a memeber of Opus Dei or not? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Domingo Portales (talkcontribs) 15:37, 13 March 2007 (UTC).

No. Pan Dan 15:53, 13 March 2007 (UTC)


Am I the only one who thinks this reads like a college textbook, not an encyclopedia article? ~ example: (While Scalia's approach to textual interpretation is famously categorical, his approach to stare decisis is not easily described, not least because originalists have not arrived at a singular answer on stare decisis.) ~ I propose that this page be completely re-written. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Barrel-rider (talkcontribs) 12:48, 13 April 2007 (UTC).

While I don't want to discourage you from taking a shot at rewriting the article, and without meaning to suggest the article is perfect as presently written, I'm not sure I understand exactly what your criticism is here. In what way is the article unencyclopædic, as compared to other Wikipedia articles, and even if there is some difference between the style of a textbook vs. that of an encyclopædia entry that's significant for the purposes of Wikipedia, what is it? Is your criticism really that the style of the article is inappropriate, or that you don't like the way it's written? Simon Dodd 14:50, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Both. An encyclopedia article should be readable for most individuals without a law degree or a dictionary. Far too much 'shop talk' here. See my brief example above.Barrel-rider 06:09, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure how the example your quote above is "shop talk," or if it is, how it could be written to be any clearer. The only way I can imagine it would be shop talk would be if the reader doesn't understand what stare decisis is - but of course, there's an entire article dedicated to stare decisis, linked from the sentence that concerns you. As long as the article can both be accessible and comprehensive, then that's great, but it shouldn't be over-simplified. My suggestion would be to edit away, and we'll see what you come up with. :) Simon Dodd 17:01, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Not to mention textual, categorical, described, originalists or singular. Forget the whole thing, I claim my 5th amendment privilege.Barrel-rider 07:36, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Later activist opinions

"However, his later opinions have cast him squarely in the mode of an "activist" judge, not hesitating to overturn legislative acts or established precedent to effectuate his preferred policy choices. Statistically, Scalia is second only to Justice Clarence Thomas in his willingness to overturn state and federal laws." Can anybody provide examples of this please? Richard75 22:20, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

I removed this section for two reasons: (1) It is absolutely impossible to define so-called "judicial activism" and use of the phrase is intellectual laziness. (2) Claiming that overturning a law is somehow a departure from Scalia's previous philosophy shows a severe misunderstanding of his judicial approach. As I think is outlined well in prior paragraphs in this section, he tends to defer to the legislature when it is a close question. But when Scalia feels there is a clear violation of the constitution he believes it is the court's job to step in. --Velvet elvis81 19:59, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
One further comment: the info on his propensity for overturning law can probably stay in (although I deleted it) if it can be sourced. It is relevant and doesn't make a value judgment. --Velvet elvis81 20:00, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Picture of Antonin Scalia with Jurij Toplak

The user who added the picture is Jurij Toplak (,, a Slovenian citizen, who has a record of abusing Wikipedia for his own self-promotion. He once tried to add an entry for a bogus election-law organisation, which is registered on his name and is also mentioned in the picture's description . I am therefore urging the administrator to remove the picture and prevent the user from making further changes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:58, 7 September 2007 (UTC)


So whose bright idea was it to lock this page BEFORE reverting an edit to section "3.2 Hamiltonian political principles" that claims that somebody named colt "loves to take it up the butt?" ChrisRay6000 (talk) 05:21, 5 December 2007 (UTC)


There has been some debate about the relevance of {{ChicagoWikiProject}} to this article. Basically, any article with a category at WP:CHIBOTCATS will get tagged with our template in a twice weekly bot run through the categories checking for articles without our tag. Thus, if you don't want the tag, you should remove the offending category from the article. However, if the category is relevant to the article, we consider the article relevant to our project. Do not be alarmed at our Project priority assessment. Although Scalia is one of the most important men in America, he is not the highest priority for general Chicago researchers. I added several other tags which should alert other projects about the article. IMO, the article is close to many of the WP:WIAGA standards and should probably be nominated for a promotion. The persons most active with the article should attend to such a promotion. However, I see the article has become so stable that none of the top 20 most active editors of the page have had any involvment in nearly three months. Best of luck to improving this important article.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTD) 19:25, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Re-considering 1st paragraph edit?

I don't understand the reasons for Sjrplscjnky's recent edit of this article -- not that I'm sure that the data are necessarily "wrong." Rather, I'm persuaded that the strategy of introducing academic honors in the first paragraph is an unhelpful approach to this specific subject. I note that articles about other sitting Justices have been similarly "enhanced;" and I also believe those changes are no improvement.

In support of my view that this edit should be reverted, I would invite anyone to re-visit articles written about the following pairs of jurists.

The question becomes: Would the current version of the Wikipedia article about any one of them -- or either pair -- be improved by academic credentials in the introductory paragraph? I think not.

Perhaps it helps to repeat a wry argument Kathleen Sullivan of Stanford Law makes when she suggests that some on the Harvard Law faculty wonder how Antonin Scalia avoided learning what others have managed to grasp about the processes of judging? I would hope this anecdote gently illustrates the point.

Less humorous, but an even stronger argument is the one Clarence Thomas makes when he mentions wanting to return his law degree to Yale.

At a minimum, I'm questioning this edit? It deserves to be reconsidered. --Ooperhoofd (talk) 00:52, 19 December 2007 (UTC)


In the section titled "Rights," the following sentence appears:

"With respect to the First Amendment, he considers obscenity protected free speech and has voted to reject obscenity laws."

No citation is given, and this sentence sorely needs one, since it is my understanding that Scalia in fact believes that obscenity is NOT protected by the First Amendment, and I don't believe he has EVER voted to reject an obscenity law.

I call attention to this article [13] on the First Amendment Center site which indicates that regarding cases involving sexual expression, Scalia voted against upholding the expressive rights 90% of the time. Markkernes (talk) 22:23, 14 February 2008 (UTC)[User:Markkernes|Markkernes]] (talkcontribs) 22:02, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I fully agree that the obscenity statement is specious. I am working on an article regarding Scalia's "originalism" and how it is inconsistent with the 20th century rise of the obscenity exception to the first amendment. I can find no cases where Scalia voted to overturn an obscenity law. I have, however, found several cases in which Scalia upheld obscenity laws. In one recent case, City of Littleton v. Z.J. Gifts, 124 S. Ct. 2219 (2004), Scalia wrote a dissent that suggested that some sexual speech falls even below the level of obscenity and isn't even entitled to the Miller obscenity test and can simply be summarily banned by local governments.

Unless somebody can show me a reference supporting this position, I'm going to delete it. Justbrent (talk) 02:57, 29 April 2008 (UTC)


This article reads like it was written by a friend or fan of Scalia's. It is flattering but makes no mention of many of his most controversial decisions or actions. It also includes weasel phrases as in the sentence: It is not universally accepted that Scalia was under any obligation to do so, and in light of subsequent events, some have suggested that he should not have done so. This article needs to be reviewed by someone who is not one of Scalia's lap dogs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 1 March 2008 (UTC)


He has received the lowest Segal-Cover score of the current justices, and the lowest of all Supreme Court nominees measured; whereby the lower the score the more conservative a justice is presumed to be, and the higher the score the more liberal a justice is presumed to be.

Going back to the article on Segal-Cover score I am trying to figure out what this is. It appears to be a method of polling editorial writers on what they perceive a justice's bias and qualification level are. While trying to determine the relative political biases of a person or organization is not an easily quantifiable task, this seems a poor metric since editorial writers are seldom have legal training.

While I share the concern of some of the other posters in the talk section about the very, uh, friendly tone of this article, Scalia has enough information in his rulings to judge him on without resorting to puffy fake metrics on perceived bias on qualification. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wumingzi (talkcontribs) 06:07, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Criticism Section

I'm a bit surprised that an article about a major American jurist doesn't have a section containing authoritative criticism of his views. Idag (talk) 22:08, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Thomas in opening?

Why the blurb about Scalia's states' rights position vis-a-vis Thomas in the opener. The opener of an encyclopedia article should give quick, hard-hitting facts about a topic. That last sentence is a puzzler. It should be removed.--Lindsay (talk) 05:20, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Bot-created subpage

A temporary subpage at User:Polbot/fjc/Antonin Scalia was automatically created by a perl script, based on this article at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. The subpage should either be merged into this article, or moved and disambiguated. Polbot (talk) 20:15, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

What are Scalia's personal political views?

I assume, but could not find confirmation in this article, that Scalia's personal political views are conservative / Republican. For example, I assume that not only does he believe there is no right to privacy in the Constitution, but also that he personally supports pro-life, anti-gay marriage candidates. I wonder if someone could add a portion of this article discussing his personal political views. The reason why I bring this up is that Scalia has criticized believers in the so-called "living Constitution" for creating a Constitution that "means whatever you want it to mean" (paraphrase). It seems that if most of Scalia's court opinions favor the conservative viewpoint, and he is himself conservative, then the same criticism can, to a degree, be leveled at him. I believe that Scalia has spoken in the past of particular cases in which according to his judicial philosophy of textualism he was forced to rule in a manner he did not like; but I don't remember what cases Scalia cited as examples of that. In any case, I think a section or sections would be interesting that addressed Scalia's criticism of "living Constitution" judges, Scalia's personal political views, and the degree to which his judicial philosophy of textualism allows him to vote for the conservative position in a relatively consistent manner. (talk) 16:45, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Scalia and judicial activism

Scalia has received significant criticism in reliable sources for his own judicial activism. [14], [15], [16], [17] (a small sample), yet the article characterizes him simply as a passionate critic of the idea of a Living Constitution. How best to remedy this discrepancy? Dlabtot (talk) 17:28, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Correction Needed?

The 'not' in this sentence appears wrong:

That Scalia would uphold some and overrule other precedents that contradict his judicial philosophy is an apparent inconsistency that has led Scalia's critics to note that the written constitution is not silent on precedent, and they conclude that originalism cannot be reconciled with stare decisis.

A quote by Scalia that is relevant:

"[A]lmost every originalist would adulterate [originalism]with the doctrine of stare decisis,"1
because "most originalists are faint-hearted."2

1. Antonin Scalia, Originalism: The Lesser Evil, 57 U. CIN. L. REV. 849, 861 (1989).

2. Id. at 862.

Related text:

Nantucketnoon (talk) 18:34, 1 May 2009 (UTC)


Would it be appropriate to include a section concerning his health. I know this would be an ever chaning issue, but many people would be interested in a predictive guess of how long he will probably serve. Am I off base? Just thought I'd throw it out there? Jefferybott (talk) 00:10, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

A Scalia death-watch? I don't think so. Dlabtot (talk) 00:37, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Advocacy in the lead

See this diff [18].

The problem with this isn't that it's not well referenced. It clearly is. The problem is that we haven't even gotten out of the lead and we are already starting the advocacy. The lead should stand alone as a concise overview of the article. This criticism should definitely be in the body, but putting it in the lead is undue weight, drawing the reader's attention away from the overview of the subject. --causa sui talk 21:43, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

While it may score rhetorical points to label some viewpoints 'advocacy', it doesn't really have any meaning in this context. It certainly would be undue weight to assert that Scalia is "a vigorous proponent of textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation" without noting the vigorous disagreement that many have with the viewpoint that his actions are consistent with this assertion.
Richard Epstein, a professor of law at the University of Chicago and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution is engaging in 'advocacy'? Of what sort? Dlabtot (talk) 21:56, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not trying to score rhetorical points. I'm trying to improve the article. --causa sui talk 22:38, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Since I am already required to assume good faith, your assertion of good faith adds nothing to the conversation. Do you have anything substantive to add in response to my comments? Dlabtot (talk) 03:18, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I want to actually assume good faith, not act within its boundaries because it's required. As such I have to assume that you don't know how rudely you are coming across here. --causa sui talk 04:02, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Do you have any comments to make about this Wikipedia article? You could, for instance, answer my question: you apparently accused Richard Epstein of 'advocacy'... what did you mean by that? By expressing his viewpoint about Scalia's judicial activism, what was he 'advocating' for? Dlabtot (talk) 04:26, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with the criticism itself, but I think it's undue weight to have it feature so prominently in the lead. Maybe it could be moved somewhere else? --causa sui talk 20:31, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, we don't have a policy that states the lead section should be only laudatory. But this material certainly should also be expanded elsewhere in the article - these three references only scratch the surface. Dlabtot (talk) 20:51, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
My reason for wanting it to be moved elsewhere isn't because I'm citing policy somewhere, but because I think it would improve the article. --causa sui talk 22:58, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we are all trying to improve the articles. No need to keep repeating that. Dlabtot (talk) 02:39, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I'm confused by your point that policy doesn't obligate us to do this. Of course it doesn't; but it would improve the article if we did that. I'm trying to reorient our attention away from the policy and back onto what is best for the article. --causa sui talk 00:08, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
It really is pointless and distracting to repeat over and over and over that you want what is best for the article. Please stop doing that. I again acknowledge that you want to improve the article, ok? One way to improve the article, would be to expand on this material elsewhere in the article. But to simply delete it because you believe that the lead should not include material that some may consider to be criticism, would detract from the article. You may disagree - fine. Reasonable people may disagree. But if you must disagree, please do so without once again repeating that you are trying to improve the article. Dlabtot (talk) 00:26, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, I was trying to explain that my reason for repeating it is that I'm not interested in what the policy says about this. Anyway, I think you're right that it should be mentioned somewhere else in the article, but not the lead. Why don't we move the content to some other section, like the section on his legal philosophy? --causa sui talk 00:29, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
I think you're right that it should be mentioned somewhere else in the article, but not the lead. Since I didn't say that, it seems that you don't actually think I'm right. What I did say is that it should be expanded on elsewhere in the article, but this short mention certainly does belong in the lead. Dlabtot (talk) 00:49, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, we're talking past each other quite a bit, so maybe we should get some outside opinions. --causa sui talk 01:09, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure from whence the ideas comes that lead sections are supposed to be exclusively laudatory. That principle is certainly not a part of any of our policies. Dlabtot (talk) 02:30, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm more inclined to agree with causa sui that the sentence belongs in another section. A line saying that Scalia is generally considered on the right of the court would be appropriate in the lede—and we have one (although I think such a statement merits at least one iron-clad citation, even if it is in the lede). If this point does remain where it is, however, it needs to be re-cast. It currently reads and a passionate critic of the idea of a Living Constitution, though critics maintain that his actions bear out a belief in judicial legislation from the right. The though indicates the succeeding point contradicts the preceding one, but this is not the case. So that should be fixed. ÷seresin 02:56, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, it does contradict the preceding point. Or at least it was meant to... looking at the sources, how would you characterize them? Dlabtot (talk) 03:05, 26 July 2009 (UTC)