Thursday, July 19, 2012

Scalia vs. Zimmerman

Piers Morgan had Justice Scalia on last night and Hannity landed George Zimmerman. Must see TV for law nerds!

Scalia had lots of interesting things to say, and I liked how Morgan pushed him a bit.  Scalia said he is most proud that the Court doesn't really cite legislative history anymore and that he has helped move the Court to focus on just the text of the statute or Constitution.  Yet earlier in the interview, he said that he frequently reads the Federalist Papers to see what the Framers intended.  I'm not sure why the Federalist Papers are an okay source for intent, but legislative history is not...

Anyway, here is one clip from the interview:

And here is the NY Times coverage of the interview:
Asked by CNN’s Piers Morgan whether he and Chief Justice Roberts “have had a parting of the ways, gone from best buddies to warring enemies,” Justice Scalia first ducked the question. “Who told you that?” he asked. Mr. Morgan cited news reports, prompting Justice Scalia to respond: “You should not believe what you read about the court in the newspapers. It’s either been made up or been given to the newspapers by somebody who’s violating a confidence, which means that person is not reliable.” After protesting that he would not talk about internal matters, Justice Scalia relented. “No, I haven’t had a falling out with Justice Roberts,” he said. Asked whether there had been loud words or slammed doors, he said, “No, no, nothing like that.” More generally, Justice Scalia said his colleagues had good personal relationships even as they disagreed on legal matters. That is consistent with reports from other justices. “There are clashes on legal questions but not personally,” he said. “The press likes to paint us as nine scorpions in a bottle, and that’s just not the case at all.”

The NY Times also covers the Zimmerman interview:

The assault happened while Mr. Zimmerman tried to pull his cellphone out, he said. Mr. Zimmerman said he had yelled “help” repeatedly, hoping that the police would hear him. After he shot Mr. Martin, he said, he was “terrified” and nervous the police might shoot him if they saw him with a gun.
Mr. O’Mara said the state’s stand-your-ground self-defense law was appropriate for the case. The law permits people who fear great bodily injury or death at someone else’s hands to use lethal force to defend themselves.
Mr. Zimmerman said he had volunteered to take lie detector tests and voice tests, which he said he had passed. “I didn’t have anything to hide,” he said.
The interview ended with Mr. Zimmerman apologizing to the Martin family, and to America for any racial polarization the shooting may have caused.
To Mr. Martin’s family, “I would tell them again that I’m sorry,” he said, adding: “I am sorry they buried their child. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily.”


Anonymous said...

Read it here:

Barbara Walters flew to Florida to interview Zimmerman. Moments before interview Zimmerman had conditions– ABC refused to comply & would not disclose what the conditions were.

Money perhaps? His defense fund is running low.

What kind of attorney allows his client to do an interview before the trial????

Anonymous said...

The reason that the Federalist Papers are ok, but legislative history is not is because strict constructionists are typically handicapped by the delusion that the framers were some kind of semi divine creatures blessed with the incalculable wisdom to govern us from 225 years ago, and to continue to govern us (no matter how much changes) for ever and ever. Whereas the law makers actually governing us today are just schmucks who perpetually bungle what the framers created. Therefore, strict constructionists where put on the earth to ignore modern law makers as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure why the Federalist Papers are an okay source for intent, but legislative history is not..."

Scalia isn't reading the Federalist Papers for "intent," but for what the Constitution was understood to mean by the public at the time it was enacted. If you want to understand Scalia's argument, instead of 11:38's puerile cartoon-villain caricature of it, read "A Matter of Interpretation," in which Scalia also explains why he doesn't believe in strict constructionism.

Anonymous said...

No, the reason the federalist papers are okay is because they are reviewed to see the meaning and usage of words more than the intent of drafters, many of whom were not even the drafters of the constitutional provision being interpreted. But who cares about facts. It is easier to fight and win strawmen than engage in actual discussion and debate with ones adversary.