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Scalia criticizes politics of confirmation process
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, often extolled by conservative Republicans as their ideal model of a judge, said yesterday the confirmation process was too politicized and that he wouldn’t want to experience it again.
When asked whether he thought he could be confirmed again by the Senate, Justice Scalia said: “I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to go through it today, I’ll tell you that much.”
Justice Scalia, who was confirmed by the Senate on a 98-0 vote in 1986, was interviewed by NBC’s “Today” show. He was thought at one point to be a candidate for chief justice when William H. Rehnquist died. President Bush instead nominated Judge John G. Roberts Jr., who was confirmed by the Senate on a 78-22 vote last month.
Mr. Bush has said he would nominate Supreme Court justices in the mold of Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Several conservatives have complained that current Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is not enough like those two conservatives, and are opposing her nomination.
Justice Scalia said he will miss the retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whom Miss Miers was appointed to replace.
“If there was anybody that has been sort of the social glue of the court, it’s been Sandra, and I will miss her,” he said.
On another issue, Justice Scalia said he is adamantly opposed to televising Supreme Court sessions.
“We don’t want to become entertainment,” he said. “I think there’s something sick about making entertainment out of real people’s legal problems. I don’t like it in the lower courts, and I don’t particularly like it in the Supreme Court.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, has introduced legislation that would allow sessions of the high court to be televised. The court has allowed the audio recordings of sessions to be released, but it has refused to allow cameras into its hearing chamber.
Justice Scalia was in his New York City hometown yesterday to serve as grand marshal of the city’s Columbus Day parade, nearly a half century after he marched in it as a high school student.
The first Italian American to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia marched in a brown suit and white sash and waved to the crowd while his wife, Maureen, followed in a gold-colored Lamborghini.
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