- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2005

Nobles: The Washington Wizards, because it’s been a while.

With the city’s attention almost exclusively on the return of Major League Baseball, it’s been easy to overlook the Wizards’ historic playoff berth. That’s understandable. The last time the Wizards were in the playoffs they weren’t even known as the Wizards. Back then, in 1997, they were the Washington Bullets and their playoff dreams ended rather swiftly after being swept by the Chicago Bulls in the first round. The Bulls meanwhile went on to win their fifth championship since 1990.

It seems that time is after all the great leveler. The two teams met on Wednesday night, but this time around the Bulls had gone five years without a playoff appearance, while the Wizards had gone seven. To increase the tension, the Bulls were riding high after winning 12 of their last 14 games. But by the end of Wednesday’s game at the MCI Center, the Wizards walked away easily with the win and a chance to bring Washington a championship.

Of course it might take a few upset victories in the first round before Washingtonians begin to notice that these aren’t your father’s Wizards. Let’s remember that not even Michael Jordan himself could lift the team and the city out of the doldrums. The city, however, shouldn’t be content just with the playoffs — the team certainly isn’t. So, to Coach Eddie Jordan and the guys, best of luck.

For a season well played and a championship to be won, the Wizards are the Nobles of the week.

Knaves: New York University law student Eric Berndt, for insulting a man way out of his league.

On Tuesday afternoon, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia accepted the honor of having the NYU student-run law journal’s 2005 issue dedicated to him. He then proceeded to give his usual speech on constitutional interpretation, while the usual suspects had gathered outside to protest. It was in the question-and-answer period following the speech that Mr. Berndt asked Justice Scalia to explain his dissent in the Lawrence v. Texas case, which found the state’s sodomy laws unconstitutional. Justice Scalia respectfully answered why he did not did not believe that “privacy” is constitutionally protected, at least as it is understood in Lawrence.

When he had finished, Mr. Berndt asked, “Do you sodomize your wife?” According to reports, the audience let out a collective gasp, while event administrators quickly turned off Mr. Berndt’s microphone. Needless to say, Justice Scalia didn’t warrant the insult with a response.

Perhaps Mr. Berndt thought his question was clever. It is almost too debased to analyze, which he did in a thousand-word explanation sent via e-mail to fellow students. Whatever his motivations were for insulting a Supreme Court justice, they apparently spring from being “a member of an oppressed minority.” Yet further evidence that membership in a particular group confers neither wisdom or integrity. At the very least, Mr. Berndt owes an apology to Mrs. Antonin Scalia, who was in the audience.

For owning even less character than he has manners, Mr. Berndt is the Knave of the week.

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