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A Basic Lack of Seriousness?

Is it just me, or is the AP being fundamentally unserious here? Justice Scalia comes to give a talk at the American Enterprise Institute on the use of foreign law in American court opinions. It's a moderately interesting and topical subject, that bears on some sexy issues (the death penalty, natural rights, and the like). Scalia gives a substantive talk, with a decent amount of quotable material. (I wasn't there, but I read the transcript online.) He even seems to speak out in favor of the individual rights theory of the Second Amendment:

In number 46 of The Federalist, James Madison speaks contemptuously of the governments of Europe which are, quote, "afraid to trust the people with arms," close quote.

Should we revise the Second Amendment because of what these other countries think?

It's a little tangential to the rest of the talk, but it sounds pretty juicy; he had said the same in his essay in A Matter of Interpretation back in 1997, but it still seems like an interesting tidbit.

What does the AP story talk about? A heckler, it appears, interrupted Justice Scalia, and then was escorted out. That's the lead of the AP story, and it occupies the majority of the story; the rest of the article goes on to say that Scalia refused to answer questions that were unrelated to the topic of the talk, surely news of earth-shattering importance and great public interest. Not a word about what the substance of the talk was even summarizing what Justice Scalia was actually saying.

This is the Associated Press, an organization that's supposed to be dedicated to conveying the important news of the day. Newspapers and their readers rely on it to convey the important news of the day. Opinion writers (whether columnists or bloggers) are entitled to focus on those little tidbits that they find particularly interesting. But serious news organs are, I think, rightly expected to exercise serious news judgment: To figure out what's especially important, and to cover that for their readers' benefit. (An occasionally lighter side story is fine, of course, but not when the lighter side or the fundamentally irrelevant side is covered to the exclusion of the important side.) Can it really be that a Lyndon LaRouche activist's heckling of Justice Scalia's speech (the part about his being a LaRouche activist, by the way, was Ted Frank's catch, not the AP's) is so much more important than the substance of what a Supreme Court Justice is saying?

Thanks to Ted Frank (PointOfLaw) for originally pointing this out, and to InstaPundit for the pointer to Ted.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter BikerDad for pointing out that my original assertion, "Not a word about what the substance of the talk was," was an overstatement; the AP did report generally mention the topic of the talk -- it just didn't report on what Justice Scalia actually said about the topic.

FURTHER UPDATE: Thanks to commenter SimonD for pointing to the transcript of the talk, which was produced by ninoville from the C-SPAN broadcast.

therut:
Good Grief it was the AP. It is what I would expect. The heckeler was a professional LaRouche guy. He got arrested last year I believe during another professional protest. I think that is very interesting about the 2nd amendment as this is a right the USSC really does not like to talk about. Oh they will make up new ones out of their imagination but are blind to that one written in the BOR.
2.22.2006 1:57am
Dave:
Makes sense to me. I personally like the strange bloggy sort of stories (when they're interesting, which they're usually not), but I look for them in other sources.

On the other hand, reporting on the substance of Scalia's speech would require "reading" it or "understanding" it, and that may be too much to ask of an AP reporter...

Dave
2.22.2006 2:01am
Patrick Donnelly (mail):
I was watching this on C-SPAN. I switched off the very moment the second questioner--who turned out to be the heckler--led off by calling Scalia 'Anton'. I couldn't even imagine listening to what his question was going to be after that.
2.22.2006 2:13am
Bruce:
In the marketplace of ideas, ideas fetch a market price. People love reading about hecklers. Complex theories of jurisprudence -- not so much.
2.22.2006 2:18am
gramm:
Sorry, but I'm with Bruce on this one. It reveals a sweet and heart-warming sincerity (or a self-serving and false indignation) for one to demonstrate surprise at the notion that the modern press prefers the sensational over the substantive.

Next topic please.
2.22.2006 3:00am
BikerDad:

Not a word about what the substance of the talk was.


As a point of order, the last sentence of the fourth paragraph identifies the substance of the, er, never mind. You're correct, the AP identified the topic, but not the substance of Scalia's presentation.
2.22.2006 3:34am
minnie:
Why should anyone except lawyers interested in the SC care about foreign laws used in US courts? Can anyone do anything about it? No, so why would it be of interest? It's enough to just hope one will get a competent, honest judge who might possibly dispense justice.

As for Scalia's duck hunting trip with his pal Cheney, and the fact that Scalia is an avid hunter who gets his jollies from maiming and shooting to death innocent, lovely birds, but is so very incensed about the "murder" of a two day blob of protoplasm, now THAT is of interest. But anything coming out of the mouth of such a depraved person is decidedly of little interest. We read his opinions. That's all we need to know about him.
2.22.2006 3:48am
therut:
The sophomore has arrived.
2.22.2006 4:56am
Hoosier:
Innocent?! Birds?! How naive!

Madame, you need to watch more Hitchcock.
2.22.2006 6:15am
JGUNS (mail):
Liberal outrage: Quail > human.
2.22.2006 7:07am
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
So minnie thinks a hunter "gets his jollies from maiming and shooting to death innocent, lovely birds". I've never hunted, and never shot a gun except a .22 at targets when I was a Boy Scout 35 years ago, but even I know that's nonsense. Two basic points:

1. Hunters get no particular joy out of shooting "lovely" birds. They're generally after the delicious ones, some of which may be quite homely.

2. A hunter who maims his quarry is not joyful at all: it's a waste of ammunition and an embarrassing failure, and the thought of the wounded bird limping away and dying without getting eaten (by a human, that is) is not a cheerful one.

All in all, I would prefer minnie mum.
2.22.2006 8:19am
Medis:
Is Eugene trying to put this blog out of business?
2.22.2006 8:34am
mls (mail):
I think Scalia himself is the cause of this kind of reporting about him. His demeanor IS news, and the reaction of others to his demeanor IS news, because he tends to be outrageous in his speeches (recall recently he called those who disagree with him idiots). He himself has made the content of his speeches less interesting than the delivery of his speeches.
2.22.2006 9:11am
Steve:
The point is valid. The media also spent a lot more time talking about how many times Al Gore cleared his throat than the substance of his policy proposals, but I'm over it.

Is there a serious body of scholarship, by the way, which contends that international norms should be used to guide our interpretation of the Second Amendment?
2.22.2006 9:30am
SimonD (www):
This sort of crap from immature attention-seekers disrupting a speech on an important topic is precisley what it's so hard to get Scalia to appear on C-SPAN in the first place, methinks.

On the substance of the speech, you can read the transcript here.
2.22.2006 10:07am
Mr Diablo:
First it was that vodka should be kept in the freezer, now EV is telling us that the AP writes about silly, sensationalist things and ignores thoughtful comments from serious people.

Also today he's written that some liberals theological leaders are disagreed with by some conservative theological leaders.

Eugene, some of us are trying to find ways to stimulate the mind while at work in large law firms. Trying to get us to debate whether or not the sky is blue, while likely successful, is making me a sad, unstimulated diablo.
2.22.2006 10:09am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
A similar issue, from another blog: Is the NYT basically unserious about the warrantless wiretapping program?


What really jumped out at me, though, was this line from the article:

Democrats and a growing number of
Republicans say the program appears to
violate the 1978 Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act.


Lines like this should not be appearing in the New York Times almost two months after this scandal surfaced. It's not just that some people "say" that the program "appears" to violate FISA. It does, unquestionably. The Administration admitted this within days after this story broke. The issue is not whether or not the program complies with FISA's requirements; it doesn't. No one is even arguing that it does. The question is whether the AUMF or the president's powers under Article II give him the authority to disregard FISA's requirements. Is that so difficult to understand?
2.22.2006 10:11am
farmer56 (mail):
Gee this is fun. International law guiding the Supreme court of the United States of America. Let the parsing begin.
2.22.2006 10:13am
AustinRoth:
"Eugene, some of us are trying to find ways to stimulate the mind while at work in large law firms."

Gee, he does owe you an apology. I am sure that making sure that lawyers who are wasting company time are intellectually satisfied was the main purpose for creating this blog.

IMHO, one of the nice things about this site is that it isn't just all law, all the time. There used to be the weekly Sunday songs, the current mind puzzles, and general commentary as well, although normally with a legalistic spin.

If you want either a purely law blog, or a purely intellectual games site, there are plenty of those out there.

And if you don't like this one, well, too bad. It isn't yours, it is his. Go start your own. Make it just the way you think it should be. See how popular it becomes. That is the beauty of blogging.
2.22.2006 10:21am
Justin (mail):
Though it takes someone of questionable moral fibre to find "quail hunting" a sport when the quail are basically trained to go 3 mph in an enclosed area and you couldnt miss if you tried (unless your buddy gets in the way...), in general, hunting is a pasttime that I will take no quarrel with, though I have never hunted.

As far as this goes, if the heckler doesn't heckle, there's no story at all. The AP doesn't cover the lecture circuit. It does cover sensationalism, particularly when that sensationalism conforms to the public's normal perceptions (i.e. Scalia = extreme poorhating, gaybashing conservative, leftists = protesting kooks with no sense of civility).
2.22.2006 10:40am
CJColucci (mail):
When has it ever been the case that the substance of a judge's legal lecture, on a technical point of interest only to lawyers (at least when the judge doesn't say anything outrageous) is bigger news than someone disrupting the proceedings? When has refusal to answer questions not been something people in the question-asking business have a professional interest in reporting on? "Dog bites man" isn't news. Never has been.
2.22.2006 10:59am
Mr Diablo:
AustinRoth,

It's called a sense of humor. You need one.

And as long as I surpass 2,100 billables again this year, I don't think the partnership cares if I spend a little time parsing the dimwits who frequent a blog.
2.22.2006 11:11am
SimonD (www):
When has it ever been the case that the substance of a judge's legal lecture, on a technical point of interest only to lawyers
Uh...The use of foreign law to bolster the extraconstitutional removal of entire areas of public policy from contemplation in the legislative arena, thereby (very possibly treasonously, and at the very least, in violation of the judicial oath) short-circuiting the Article V amendment process is a technical point of interest only to lawyers? Are you kidding?
2.22.2006 11:12am
Ian (www):
I agree that a single heckler at a think tank event is hardly worthy of national attention, but then again, the same could be said about Scalia's speech.

As Eugene hints at, nothing in the speech hasn't already been said in Scalia's book, or in prior speeches by Scalia, or in Scalia's own concurrences and dissents. If Scalia had said something new, than that would be news worthy, but a rehash of well traveled talking points is worth little more than a yawn.
2.22.2006 12:03pm
Don Miller (mail):
Though it takes someone of questionable moral fibre to find "quail hunting" a sport when the quail are basically trained to go 3 mph in an enclosed area and you couldnt miss if you tried (unless your buddy gets in the way...), in general, hunting is a pasttime that I will take no quarrel with, though I have never hunted.

Hmmm I don't think you have ever gone quail hunting. You definately don't know anything about it. There are domestic quail and wild quail. Domestic quail are raised on a farm, wild quail run around in the bushes and fly pretty fast.

Cheney was hunting wild quail. There was no fence, and there was no "training to go slow" involved.

As for the rest, if it wasnt' for sites like this, I probably wouldn't have learned about any of the substance of Scalia's talk. 90% of the general population doesn't care, and if they won't buy it, newspapers don't print it.

I enjoy listening to journalists speak about their profession like it is a noble cause, like the Peace Corps. They are working at a job, trying to make money like the rest of us. They are the modern town crier and neighborhood gossip all rolled into one. They only care about the stories that people will buy.
2.22.2006 12:24pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
AustinRoth: I appreciate your coming to my defense, but of course making sure that lawyers who are wasting company time are intellectually satisfied is the main purpose for creating this blog. Hey, I know what days of the week we get the most traffic, and they aren't Saturdays and Sundays.
2.22.2006 12:37pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
SimonD, thank you so much for providing a link to the transcript of Justice Scalia's speech on International law in American Courts.
2.22.2006 12:56pm
JLR (mail):
I think it is important to note that the transcript provided by ninoville is not exact. It also includes none of the question-and-answer session. It is not a perfect substitute for watching the actual show on C-Span.

I think it is also important to note that, after watching the show on C-Span, there were a number of people posing comments about their pet grievances with the American government. The heckler mentioned in the AP article was only the most annoying and most persistent of the troublemakers, as he continually made comments throughout Justice Scalia's answers. This heckler didn't even know the name of the place that he was at; as he was being escorted out, C-Span picked up him comparing "The Cato Institute" to Nazis.

It appeared to me after watching the C-Span airing that virtually all of the off-topic questions were at the very least intended to make snide points rather than to sincerely engage the subject matter at hand. Justice Scalia would have, in my opinion, been justified to simply walk out. That Justice Scalia handled the situation the way he did speaks very well of him. Also, Tom Goldstein among others were there to provide some intelligent, reasonable and above all sincere questions. But overall, the heckler was the primus inter pares of a range of obnoxious comments that were posed to Justice Scalia.
2.22.2006 1:01pm
Milhouse (www):
Justin, I have no idea what you're talking about, but that's OK, because neither do you.
2.22.2006 1:21pm
Justin (mail):
What a thoughtful, appreciated post, Milhouse. If you have questions about what my post meant in terms of the English language, you could clarify what is confusing you. If you find the way you read my post absurd, you could rephrase it so that I could clarify if needed. If you just wanted a chance to insult me, well, I guess we're all happy.
2.22.2006 1:39pm
SimonD (www):
I don't entirely agree with Ian's point. It's hard for me to reliably asses what is and isn't brand new and shiny in this speech, because most of its content seems so self-evident to me. At risk of sounding entirely too self-agrandizing, Antonin Scalia and I are of one mind on this: we reach the same conclusions for the same reasons having started from essentially the same paradigm. None-the-less, even were there nothing entirely new in this speech, it does seem at least differently couched to other comments made by Scalia on the topic, and frankly, I think that Scalia - being the premier formalist on the Supreme Court, and ex officio one of the premier formalists in the legal community - absolutely should weigh in on this extremely important issue. He should weigh in, not only in speeches, in my view, but also by doing what he did earlier in his career, and putting something in writing, in a law review article, which can then be debated, cited and argued over. In the hope that, if nothing else, out of sheer irritation, he may yet do so, I look forward to arguing over whether or not there is anything "new" in that article, should he produce one.

JLR is correct that the transcript is not, in the most literal sense, word for word - but I fail to see the need to preserve for posterity every "um," "err," gulp, hesitation and slip of the tongue displayed during the course of a speech. I think there's a difference between being an acolyte - a follower, a fan, if you will - on the one hand, and obsessively collecting and parsing every syllable the man sweats out, on the other. The goal of a transcript, it seems to me, is to faithfully reproduce the remarks of the person, not to place the subject under a magnifying glass on a hot summer's day. If there is one Justice that needs a sympathetic transcriptionist of their speeches, they would be found not at Ninoville, but at "Breyerville." Moreover, regarding the lack of the Q&A transcript - while it is arguably the prerogative of a few narcissistic wackos in Lyndon LaRouche t-shirts to make asses of themselves on television and disrupt an otherwise respectable event, it is assuredly the prerogative of decent society to ignore them.

Thorley - you're welcome. :)
2.22.2006 1:41pm
farmer56 (mail):
Just a thought. How about what Scalia said, US courts should not be refering to International Law to base a decission? Lets get back to the point. Like A majority decission by the supremes that quoted international law to declare a constitutional and legally enacted law invalid because of what other countries laws are? Like, setting the age at of of executition is? I would think that law would be the stong suit here. guess not.

Diablo: 2100 billable hrs. If, IF you were telling the truth. I would never hire you to execute a power of attourney. let alone something that matters. 2100 hours? 6 hours a day every single day for an entire year. Sure.
I bet you billed them. you did not work the. hence the veiw that lawyers are crooks. But you are a rich legal crook.
2.22.2006 2:54pm
vic:
I enjoy listening to journalists speak about their profession like it is a noble cause, like the Peace Corps. They are working at a job, trying to make money like the rest of us. They are the modern town crier and neighborhood gossip all rolled into one. They only care about the stories that people will buy.

I would add to that- and what they can understand. Most journo's are not rocket scientists y'know ( or legal scholars for that matter) - just your average plodders ( avg IQ 105-115)
2.22.2006 3:11pm
Mr Diablo:
farmer, nice to know that you don't work in law, I will remember that the next time I try to decipher something you write.

Of course, 2100 billables divided by the 50 weeks a year that I work means 42 hours a week to bill, which divided by about 7.5 hours/day that I bill before my eyes glaze over means I have to work about 5.6 days a week. Which is precisely what I do.

The way to do it, of course is to focus your time on what is important, work hard, and ignore the pissant distractions that make so many people unproductive. i.e. Reading what someone who wouldn't know a law firm from a horse track has to say about my work ethic.
2.22.2006 3:16pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Why should anyone except lawyers interested in the SC care about foreign laws used in US courts? Can anyone do anything about it? No, so why would it be of interest?
Because the Constitution declares that it, and the treaties to which the U.S.is a party, are the supreme law of the land. Not the EU Constitution. Not what some judge in Britain thinks should be the law. Our Constitution.

The real proof of whath hypocrites our Supreme Court has become is that they aren't quoting from the court systems of Islamic countries to uphold sodomy laws, or from the Austrian Supreme Court about what freedom of speech protects.


As for Scalia's duck hunting trip with his pal Cheney, and the fact that Scalia is an avid hunter who gets his jollies from maiming and shooting to death innocent, lovely birds, but is so very incensed about the "murder" of a two day blob of protoplasm, now THAT is of interest. But anything coming out of the mouth of such a depraved person is decidedly of little interest. We read his opinions. That's all we need to know about him.
Essence of liberalism: a bird is more important than what will become a human being.
2.22.2006 3:28pm
SimonD (www):
[Journalists] "only care about the stories that people will buy" . . . I would add to that- and what they can understand.
Understanding the issues before beginning to write does not appear to be a prerequisite for journalism; just ask Dana "Humphrey's Executor (whoever he is)" Milbank.
2.22.2006 3:30pm
Steve:
Is there a serious body of scholarship, by the way, which contends that international norms should be used to guide our interpretation of the Second Amendment?

No one responded to this inquiry which I posed, above.

Is it possible that Prof. Volokh's quotation from Justice Scalia was, itself, a rather unserious point?
2.22.2006 3:44pm
JLR (mail):
Re Simon's comments regarding my above post [my post can be found by clicking this link]:

While Simon's points are certainly correct by themselves, they are premised on a false dilemma. One need not transcribe every "um," "gulp," and hesitation that any speaker would naturally make in order to "faithfully reproduce the remarks of the person" (as Simon astutely indicates the goal of a transcription should be). In fact, such "ums" and "gulps" can be misleading in a transcript, making a speaker seem tentative when even the most eloquent speakers make such natural pauses in speech. The issue, rather, deals with missing words and phrases. The ninoville transcription elides over actual complete words and phrases in the speech. Just to use examples from the first three minutes, Justice Scalia notes in his introduction regarding the AEI that "There were a lot of interesting people in residence -- Irving Kirstol, Bob Bork was here, Jude Winniski; it was a wonderful stay as a residence scholar." The ninoville transcription includes fewer and different words and phrases than those actual remarks. Also, Justice Scalia notes that "I don't mind foreigh law" instead of "I have nothing against foreign law." The narrow point must be made that the ninoville transcription is not a perfect transcription; the actual words and phrases used (as opposed to natural pauses, which are generally left out of both rush and official transcripts) are not reproduced in their entirety. This point is only a narrow point; the spirit of the speech is certainly maintained. Moreover, the transcription of the speech certainly serves a valuable purpose: keeping the focus on the substance of the speech and the use of foreign and international law in American courts. That way, the speech itself can be remembered in full (and not simply remembered in a brief AP notice about hecklers). But it is not clear if "faithfully reproducing the remarks of the person" in fact means that there is an elision of words. Now this transcription that was made on such short notice is certainly commendable and quite useful. But it is a rush transcript, not an official transcript, and one must keep that in mind when using it. The rush transcript is no substitute for the actual C-Span airing, and ninoville astutely provides a link to the C-Span video so that everyone can actually watch the event.

Also, it is, in my view, key to watch the Q&A. It is key to hear the sincere, intelligent, thoughtful questions that were posed (in particular Tom Goldstein's question on the 14th Amendment, rational basis tests, and foreign courts; this q can be found around 41 minutes into the C-Span video), and to hear Justice Scalia's answers to those questions. It is also interesting and enlightening to see how Justice Scalia fields not only the sincere questions, but also the obnoxious comments from the hecklers. In my opinion (as I wrote in my above post), Justice Scalia in my opinion would have been justified in walking out. But he didn't -- he remained to complete the Q&A session and provided more insight into his views on the crucial topic at hand. He also showed his willingness to answer sincere questions that technically weren't about foreign law. For example, in regards to a question about "strict constructionism," Justice Scalia noted that he does not consider himself a "strict constructionist." Justice Scalia said he neither construes the Constitution strictly nor loosely; he construes the Constitution reasonably. Justice Scalia also noted that his view of originalism would not overturn certain "evolutionary" aspects of constitutional law, such as the now-accepted principle of selective incorporation of the Bill of Rights on the states. Justice Scalia noted (and this is a paraphrase) that stare decisis saves you from such wrenching departures. Such a compelling and thoughtful answer to a sincerely posed question showed Justice Scalia's adroitness in the Q&A session, and how watching the Q&A session is vital.

Let me take pains to commend the ninoville transcription itself. I do not mean to criticize the act of transcribing his speech; it is a key chronicle of the words of a Supreme Court Justice. I simply was making a narrow point that should be narrowly taken; viz., that it is a rush transcript and not an official one, and that the ideal option would be to watch the full C-Span airing of the speech and Q&A (which ninoville astutely provides a link for). Also, it must be noted that Justice Scalia comported himself with dignity and aplomb, and handled himself beautifully in my opinion. I believe I made that clear in my above post [link here], but it definitely bears repeating. The topic of foreign and international law in American courts is a crucial one; it is a topic of immense academic interest and monumental legal import. Justice Scalia shed much light on the topic generally and on his views on the topic specifically. I am looking forward to hearing and/or reading more of his thoughts on the subject in the future.
2.22.2006 4:00pm
JLR (mail):
In my haste to post my comment, I failed to adequately edit my writing for typographical errors. The quotations in the first full paragraph should of course state Irving Kristol (former editor of Commentary and famous neoconservative theorist), Jude Wanniski (famous economist), and "foreign." That I made typographical errors in both their last names and in the word "foreign" reveal the difficulties in creating a transcript -- which is why the ninoville rush transcript should be commended.
2.22.2006 4:07pm
SimonD (www):
I'll readily grant those points, JRL, with only a couple of additioanl remarks:
In fact, such "ums" and "gulps" can be misleading in a transcript, making a speaker seem tentative when even the most eloquent speakers make such natural pauses in speech.
I agree entirely; indeed, my point about Justice Breyer needing a sympathetic transcriptionist is mainly based on the transcipt of Scalia and Breyer's colloquy on foreign law at American University last january (also carried by Ninoville). Justice Breyer speaks in a very conversational manner, and watching the video, this is readily apparent. Reading the transcription, though, he comes across as a blithering idiot, something that I think is highly unfortunate (not least because it allows lazy buggers like the people who pilloried him at Free Republic et al to avoid the substance of his points, which is self-defeating, in my view). Now, perhaps Breyer is a bad example, and perhaps AU is the worst of a set of bad examples, because I just don't know to what extent you could mangle Breyer's remarks in that colloquy into a viable, sympathetic transcript. But even though I completely disagree with Breyer, I think the arguments he makes are valid, and they deserve to be reproduced as faithfully as possible relative to the point he was trying to make, such that they can then be torn to shreds later. Breyer is not the enemy (or, if you're of the other pursuasion, Scalia is not the enemy) - the IDEAS are the enemy, the ideas are what need to be grappled with, and that is best served, I think, by reproducing as close as possible to what they were trying to say, even if that's done at the expense of massaging it ever so slightly. One obviously cannot just change stuff willy-nilly, but there is an area, a zone, a range that is fair game, I think.

Of course, some of the problems in the AEI transcript at Ninoville are just a product of it being produced in a rush, as you note. Hopefully, there'll be an opportunity to correct some of the issues in the next couple of days (the truncated run-in, for example), but as you point out, the emphasis was "this needs to be transcribed accurately and fairly as quickly as possible," because - again as you point out - it was readily apparent what aspect of the speech (if any) was going to be emphasized in news reporting (granted, one would not normally expect the AP to be doing the distortion), and I think it's very important that the matter he was actually there to discuss can be put there front-and-center. I'm not interested in Lyndon LaRouche and his groupies; I'm far more interested in hearing what Our Hero has to say about foreign law.

On the other hand, you're correct that there were good questions, and I imagine Tom must have very much enjoyed pitching Scalia a question rather than fielding one from him.
2.22.2006 4:25pm
SimonD (www):
Sorry, I meant JLR...That's a bad gaffe for a textualist.
2.22.2006 4:27pm
AustinRoth:
Diablo - My bad for not recognizing the humorous intent of your post. As for your billables, I am sure you are an honest and morally upright individual.

However, it does bring to mind the old joke of the lawyer who gets to heaven, and St. Peter says he was lucky to live to the ripe old age of 90. The lawyer replies that he was only 55, to which St. Peter replies, 'Not according to your billable hours'...

Eugene - That is as good as reason as any for a blog. And while weekend traffic is lighter (that must be when everyone is doing the work they should have been doing instead of reading TVC), I do miss the Sunday song selections, myself.
2.22.2006 4:30pm
Mr Diablo:
Austin, it was probably more funny to me than it came across in this little box. Part of the pain of trying to log 2.1K/year. Apology more than accepted. Accept mine as well.

Love the joke.
2.22.2006 4:45pm
farmer56 (mail):
Mr Diablo

I got my tax stuff here. 2500 hours give or take. But! hey! I get lunch and Christmas and the 4th of July etc. I never said you did not bill the hours. Just that you are a theif. Because you did not do work for your clients for the hours you billed. I did your math. I guess you do not do semminars to keep you on the cutting edge of law? No travel time? Or which poor homless person did you bill those hours to?
2.22.2006 4:53pm
therut:

















Steve-------Scholarship I don't know. But there is a push at the UN for a treaty that could very well push the issue. I think the planning group now meets twice a year. I believe this started in 2001. The US says no they will not go along with said treaty that the gun prohibitionists want. There is much whinning over that fact. They even have the nerve to put it in HUMAN RIGHTS language. If anything I would think the 20th Century would have taught was that firearms in the hands of only government and police is dangerous. But not the HUMAN RIGHT peddlers. They see it as just the opposite.
2.22.2006 9:22pm
Ross Levatter (mail):
Clayton Cramer, in his typically pretentious and bombastic way, explains:

"Why should anyone except lawyers interested in the SC care about foreign laws used in US courts? Can anyone do anything about it? No, so why would it be of interest?

CC: Because the Constitution declares that it, and the treaties to which the U.S.is a party, are the supreme law of the land. Not the EU Constitution. Not what some judge in Britain thinks should be the law. Our Constitution."


OUR Constitution, for example, states, in the 8th amendment: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

If we in the United States enslaved blacks as punishment for minor crimes, or if we routinely punished traffic offenses with water-boarding or other actions that the current administration argues do not constitute torture, and if some took notice that throughout the rest of the civilized world these actions were thought excessive, how is taking notice of that fact in interpreting what exactly it means for a punishment to be "cruel and unusual" imply that some judge in Britian is interpreting our laws?

Mr. Cramer is being unnecessarily and inappropriately nationalistic. Of course we interpret OUR Constitution. In doing so we use logic, despite the fact logic was initially described by some Greek, not a true-blooded American. We also use facts and contexts that may go beyond national boundaries. This doesn't make them less true, nor their use in argumentation less patriotic.

But then, I'm no Texas lawyer, so I may be misunderstanding matters.

RL
2.23.2006 1:13am
BobN (mail):
Two things struck me about the talk. One, if you have something to ask and haven't prepared a coherent question or even statement, on- or off-topic, stay seated. Two, Scalia sure gets wild-eyed when he starts talking about the superiority of his moral view.
2.23.2006 4:41pm