Has Scalia Gone Off The Rails?
The Boston Herald published a photo of Justice Scalia today documenting him flipping off a Herald reporter. (I’ve attached a different photo here. Call it USNewsophobia. The real image, with accompanying story, is only a click away.) This news story broke a couple of days back, and Scalia apparently argued that his gesture – flipping his fingers off his chin – had been misunderstood. The photographer released the photo to show that reporters had gotten the story right the first time.
Am I unusual in thinking that the Justice’s conduct is not only inappropriate but downright weird? I mean, this guy is on the SUPREME COURT. If I can learn to censor myself as part of my southern law prof persona, I have to think that the admittedly volatile Justice Scalia can do likewise. How hard can it be to avoid responding “fuck you” to a reporter? (And would the Senate confirm a similarly qualified candidate who had exhibited this sort of conduct prior to his or her confirmation hearings?)
Perhaps he’s hoping to run for vice-president.
Update. Let me first admit that I had not been following the story – particularly the Justice’s letter to the editor – as closely as I ought to have. I enjoyed the Justice’s originalist explanation a great deal. Do I think he was unaware of the more commonly understood (modern) meaning of the gesture? I’ll reserve judgment. That said, even if he was engaging in a bit of cultural arbitrage – no, particularly if he was – I have to give it up to the Justice.