Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia seems to think that it is fine to have cameras televising political debates in Congress or as the president goes about his business, but for Supreme Court it would be a mistake.
His argument is that the justices are discussing complicated legal matters like the tax code. Congress? Cameras are fine for them because they are contemplating their navels or something.
Scalia is afraid that the Supreme Court will face the same problems that the rest of the American political institutions must encounter. The media will pick and choose what it deems newsworthy. Does the media get the proper context of the discussion? Sometimes. Sometimes not. Somehow, the Republic continues to survive despite that.
“Somehow when you see it live, an excerpt pulled out of an entire, when you see it live, it has a much greater impact,” Scalia told C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb. “No, I am sure it will miseducate the American people, not educate.”
Now if a comment is not excerpted out of a statement, then Scalia is for cameras. That suggestion is flat out ridiculous. Scalia knows it is impossible. If a justice harangues for 20 minutes on a subject then, the entire monologue would need to be played to get to the relevant sentence or two. No media outlet can do that.
For some reason, Scalia is okay with the written media quoting an excerpted comment. He claims that it does not have the same impact as a video. That might be true, but after watching Scalia’s full response to Lamb’s question, he does not look any better than if just some of his comments are used. In the context of his entire response, Scalia still looks like an elitist who thinks that what he does is too complicated for the little people called citizens.
But there is another problem in this interview that is potentially more troublesome than Scalia’s elitism. After all, the Supreme Court is an elitist institution. It is no surprise that elitism thrives there. In his explanation, Scalia makes this comment:
“But, if you know what our real business is, if you know that we’re not usually contemplating our naval ‘should there be a right to this or that, should there be a right to abortion, should there be a right to homos’ that’s not usually what we’re doing.”
Is that a Supreme Court justice referring to gays as “homos?” It is widely accepted that Scalia does not accept the right to abortion. He then refers to homosexuality, which he may oppose additional rights being conferred on as well, in a derogatory manner. Scalia is eventually going to have to rule on same-sex marriage. If he thinks of homosexuals with the slur “homo” on his mind, then how can he suspend his personal dislike for an unbiased constitutional analysis?
Perhaps Scalia cut himself of at mid-word, and he meant to say “homosexuality.” If so, then it is simply coincidence that he halted his speech at a slur. He probably gets the benefit of the doubt. Too bad he won’t give the same to the American people when it comes to cameras.