Friday, February 19, 2016

Justice Scalia’s Legacy of Laughs

Justice Antonin Scalia will be remembered for how much he shaped conservative legal thought. His long career on the bench was also remarkable for often he made people chuckle. A case could be made that Justice Scalia was the Supreme Court’s funniest member. One academic study a few years ago actually crowned him that title. The Boston University law professor who conducted it ranked justices by how often they elicited laughter at oral arguments, and Justice Scalia “won the competition by a landslide.”
A look back at Justice Scalia’s most quotable quips shows that he used wit to attack and to disarm. His humor cut deepest at arguments and in his opinions, particularly his dissents. “If you were a lawyer arguing cases before the Supreme Court or an opponent of some kind, you saw a very different side of his personality,” Bruce Allen Murphy, a Lafayette College professor who wrote a recent biography of Justice Scalia, told Law Blog. Some of his critics thought his sarcastic streak crossed a line and maybe even cost him alliances with high court moderates. In interviews and speeches, especially before wary audiences, Justice Scalia could also be self-deprecating, poking fun at his polarizing reputation.
Below is a sampling of Scalia’s wisecracks over the years:
• “We really should start calling this law Scotuscare” — dissenting from his colleagues in last year’s Obamacare case, King v. Burwell.
• “When you find it, say ‘Bingo!’” — Justice Scalia in 1988 to a nonplussed lawyer at oral arguments who had referred to his client’s denial of equal protection but struggled to find in the court record any discussion about it.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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