Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Scalia on 2000: 'Get over it'

WEST PALM BEACH — Eight years after he and four of his U.S. Supreme Court colleagues effectively decided the 2000 presidential election, Justice Antonin Scalia visited this hotbed of recount passion Tuesday and was asked to reflect on the momentous Bush vs. Gore decision.

"My response to that is always: Get over it," Scalia told a packed Forum Club of the Palm Beaches luncheon.

Alternating between earthiness and erudition, Scalia laid out his "originalist" approach to the Constitution during a 40-minute speech, mixed it up with audience members in a question-and-answer session, then promoted his recent book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.

The book promotion led Florida Atlantic University student Sarah Jeck to ask Scalia if the Supreme Court's opposition to having its proceedings televised was "vitiated" by, among other things, "Supreme Court justices going out on book tours."

Her question drew laughter and applause from the crowd of about 730, but Scalia wasn't amused.

"That's a nasty, impolite question," Scalia said before moving on to another query.

Later, however, Scalia addressed Jeck's question, saying he originally favored televising Supreme Court proceedings when President Reagan appointed him in 1986. But he said he has come to believe that "most people will only see 30-second takeouts" that would not give a true impression of the court.

"Why should I be a party to the miseducation of the American people?" Scalia said.

The event was co-sponsored by the Palm Beach County Bar Association and drew several of the county's judges.

Scalia was part of a 7-2 high court majority that ruled in December 2000 that a recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court was unconstitutional because different counties used different standards to judge ballots. He was then on the prevailing side of the more controversial 5-4 ruling to end the recount - which he called a "charade" - rather than try to correct it and continue.

(Source : Palm Beach Post)

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