Wednesday, February 04, 2009
"That's a nasty, impolite question."
Posted by David Oscar Markus
That was Justice Scalia yesterday speaking to the Palm Beach Bar Association. From the Sun-Sentinel article:
In a room filled with some of Palm Beach County's most powerful people, it took a 20-year-old political science student to throw off U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Tuesday afternoon.Student Sarah Jeck stood in front of 750 people and asked Scalia why cameras are not allowed in the U.S. Supreme Court even though the court hearings are open, transcripts are available and the court's justices are open enough to go "out on book tours." Scalia was at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in part to do a book signing and wasn't happy at the question."Read the next question," Scalia replied. "That's a nasty, impolite question."Scalia's trademark mixture of humor, confidence and combativeness was on full display Tuesday at a luncheon put on by the Palm Beach County Forum Club and Bar Association.
After the luncheon, Jeck said she wasn't offended by Scalia's chilly response and was excited to see him speak. But that doesn't mean she agreed with him."I don't think that it should be up to him what parts the American people can and can't see of the judicial process," she said.
Scalia on why there should be no cameras in the courtrooms, particularly in the trial (district) courts:"There's something sick about making entertainment out of people's problems."Maybe. but what about the public learning about minimum mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offenders? About the government not turning over crucial documents until the witness has testified? About how the agent gets to sit in and listen to everybody's testimony before he testifies? About how the snitch (the most culpable defendant) got 3 years for his "cooperation" testimony while his co-defendants are facing life for their minor roles?It's not just entertainment, it can be an education. That's what the American public will get if cameras were in the federal trial courts.Scalia also said "I should be the pinup boy for the criminal defense lawyers."