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Case of Posner v. Scalia gets even more heated

Further fueling the very public judicial war of words that has riveted the legal community for the past few weeks, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner has fired back at Justice Antonin G. Scalia’s assertion that Posner lied in his review of Scalia’s latest book.

Quick recap: Posner offered a fairly critical review of the book “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” which Scalia authored with Bryan Garner, saying that text and historical analysis are an insufficient basis of legal interpretations. Posner also claimed that in the 2nd Amendment case D.C. v. Heller, Scalia did what he claims to never do: consider legislative history.

Those were fighting words to the Supreme Courts most senior associate justice, who first snarkily retorted during a TV interview: “He’s a court of appeals judge, isn’t he? He doesn’t sit in judgment of my opinions as far as I’m concerned.”

But then stuff got real, with Scalia telling Reuters this week: “To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie.”

With that Posner sent a two-page letter to Reuters doubling down on his claim, explaining: “Responding to a Supreme Court Justice who calls one a liar requires special care in expression.” In the letter, Posner said that Scalia was essentially using an overly-narrow interpretation of the term “legislative history” – one at odds with Black’s Law Dictionary, which Scalia’s co-author Garner edited.

“Background and events leading to the enactment” of the gun law at issue in Heller were considered, Posner insisted.

The legal world eagerly anticipates Scalia’s next response.

Angry Scalia

Justice Antonin G. Scalia is already known to be the funniest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. But this week he seems to be developing a reputation of also being the angriest.

In his new book “The Oath,” Jeffrey Toobin claims that Scalia was “furious” and “enraged” at  Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. for his final vote in the health care law case, which upheld most of the law as a constitutional exercise of Congress’ tax and spend powers. The tome, which claims that Scalia has become more cranky and fixated on politics, also asserts that Scalia’s anger at the health care ruling was a driving force behind his prickly dissent in the Arizona immigration law case, according to the Hill.

But Scalia probably isn’t too happy about the book either. He told attendees at a New York event this week that it “enrages” him when people refer to the court as “politicized,” according to the Associated Press.

Scalia also returned fire in his ongoing verbal battle with Judge Richard Posner, accusing the 7th Circuit judge of being less than truthful in his review of Scalia’s latest book. “To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie,” Scalia said in an interview with Reuters.

To hear how Scalia verbally spars with colleague Justice Stephen Breyer during oral arguments, check out Lawyers USA‘s audio feature: “At the High Court, it’s still Scalia v. Breyer.”

Scalia goes to Vegas

Justice Antonin G. Scalia’s trip to Las Vegas this week might be marked by protests.

Scalia, who will attend a Red Mass liturgy with some local judicial officials followed by a reception of a Las Vegas Strip casino, is drawing criticism from a local activist who plans to hold demonstrations to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and Scalia’s ties to a local casino owner.

Scalia, who has been touring in promotion of his book with Bryan Garner “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” will later speak to students and faculty at the  Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas – a private event that is not expected to draw protesters.

More here from the Associated Press.

Posner engages Scalia in brewing judicial smackdown

Oh, it’s on now.

Justice Antonin G. Scalia’s snarky rebuff of the criticism of 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner hasn’t stopped the latter jurist from taking on – and taking apart – Scalia’s meme to textualism.

In a review of the book “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts” Scalia authored with Bryan Garner, Posner took issue with the author’s contention that text and historical analysis should be the basis of judges’ interpretations.

“Judges are not competent historians,” Posner said in his New Republic piece, the ABA Journal reports. “Even real historiography is frequently indeterminate, as real historians acknowledge. To put to a judge a question that he cannot answer is to evoke ‘motivated thinking,’ the form of cognitive delusion that consists of credulously accepting the evidence that supports a preconception and of peremptorily rejecting the evidence that contradicts it.”

Justice Who?

Can you name these folks?

If Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., cares at all about being well known, we have good news and bad news for him.

The good news: he is the most well-known justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a new survey by FindLaw.com. The bad news, only 20 percent of Americans surveyed could name him.

Those surveyed had much more trouble naming the other eight justices of the Court. While 16 percent of those surveyed could name Justice Antonin G. Scalia or Justice Clarence Thomas, only 3 percent could name Justice Stephen G. Breyer, making him the least known justice.

Only 34 percent of those surveyed could name any justice, according to the study.A mere 1 percent could correctly name all nine justices.

Kofi Annan’s heated exchange with a Supreme Court justice

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court frequently invite famous dignitaries to the Court to dine and chat. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was among those guests, and in his memoir he writes that conversation over “salads and sandwiches” got heated.

According to Foreign Policy blogger Colum Lynch, when the conversation turned to the International Criminal Court, established in 2002 for trials of those accused of large scale crimes like genocide and war crimes, one justice objected vociferously to the idea.

“I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my son be dragged before some foreign kangaroo court to face judgment,” Annan quotes the unnamed justice as saying. Lynch points out that Justice Antonin G. Scalia’s son Matthew is a U.S. Army captain who served in Iraq, perhaps a clue to the identity of the justice.

Annan wrote that he was taken aback, but tried to assure the justice that no frivolous prosecutions would take place. “He was unconvinced,” Annan wrote, according to Lynch.

Sotomayor hangs out with the Bleacher Creatures

When Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor is not on the bench, she’s in the bleachers.

The Supreme Court justice spent a little time hanging out with “Bald Vinny” Milano and the rest of the Bleacher Creatures in Section 203 at Yankee Stadium while she rooted for the Bronx Bombers Wednesday, the New York Daily News reports. Milano leads the traditional “Roll Call” at the beginning of every game. (You know: “Derek Jeter!! *Clap clap clapclapclap*”)

Sotomayor, who is a Bronx native, is a lifelong Yankees fan, is a celebrity within the ball club. She’s been a guest of Milano before, and she had thrown out the ceremonial first pitch. But she revealed that on the job, one of her colleagues – who is not shy about pulling rank – likes to remind her she’d the new pinstriped kid.

“Justice (Antonin) Scalia is fond of reminding me that he was the first Yankees fan on the Court and he is still a very loyal Yankees fan,” she said, according to the Daily News. “I keep telling him the only difference is that I was born in the Bronx and he wasn’t.”


Scalia to Posner: You’re no Supreme

Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit is not a Supreme Court justice. And Justice Antonin G. Scalia is happy to remind folks of this fact when responding to criticism the lower court judge made of one of Scalia’s opinions.

In his Supreme Court review published on Slate, Posner suggested that Scalia’s partial dissent in Arizona v. U.S., in which the justice laments the problem of illegal immigration, may be more political than judicial.

When asked about it during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Scalia replied: “He’s a court of appeals judge, isn’t he? He doesn’t sit in judgment of my opinions as far as I’m concerned.”

More here form Bloomberg News and Above the Law.

Scalia: There’s no pouting on the SCOTUS

Justice Antonin Scalia told NPR’s Nina Totenberg that people should not believe that divided Supreme Court rulings, like the one in the health care law decision, causes hard feelings among the justices.

“That’s just not the way justices of the Supreme Court behave, going into pouts. I mean that — it’s absurd,” Scalia told Totenberg. “If you can’t disagree even vehemently on the law without taking it personally and getting angry at the person, you ought to look for another job.”

Scalia denies Supreme feud

As leaked reports of bad blood among the justices of the Supreme Court in the aftermath of the health care ruling continue to swirl in the media, Justice Antonin Scalia said they are not to be believed.

“You should not believe what you read about the Court in the newspapers,” Scalia told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview that aired Wednesday night, “because the information has either been made up or given to the newspapers by somebody who is violating a confidence, which means that person is not reliable.”

“I haven’t had a falling out with Justice Roberts,” Scalia reiterated.

“Loud words exchanged?” Morgan pressed. “Slamming of door?”

“No, no,” Scalia responded. “Nothing like that.”

Scalia appeared in the interview with Bryan Garner to promote their new book, “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.” More here from CNN.com.