tv Book TV After Words CSPAN December 20, 2009 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
biography i did justice sandra day o'connor who was such a pioneering individual, who was such a natural as a subject. but he's, in some ways, he's one of the nine, he's a conservative certainly, he's outspoken, but why focus so much on him? but his, he is, he is an original. i mean, you know firsthand. you've been following him and being close to him for decades. he's, he's so distintive in his style, you know, the opera viewing with ruth bader ginsburg, duck hunting with dick cheney, but his approach to the law and his approach to life is such a wide embrace that he is distinctive among his black-robed peers. ..
>> guest: there were times when i would go to watch him speak and he would stand up and i would start to let because he has this showman's movement about him, that's both operatic but also, go. just the way justice scalia even composes his opinion, he said he sits on his computer, he puts on his classical music and he starts to conduct as if he is doing a symphony. so there is something large and
operatic about him. >> host: so you didn't think for a moment that he has four law clerks sit down and write opinions and he just signed his name to them? >> guest: well, as you know, he relies on his clerks to some extent for the research. but his writing style is so distinctive, so original that he can hardly be really influenced by clerks or have his clerks to his first draft. even john paul stevens who does his own first draft. justice stevens as i will leave the bench when i stopped doing my first draft. justice scalia is that way. >> host: i love to pick up an opinion of a justice scalia whether it be the tax or bankruptcy or the most out of your topic, and somehow he brings it to life. i mean, i think you talk about that a great deal in the book about how somehow he is able to write, not everybody in law can be boring.
it's not born when he writes. isn't that right? >> guest: yes. no, he is very engaged. and that's what twomey to him is that he's engaged in the subject. and he is sort of interest in the world at large. i found that during our conversations together, he would often respond to my questions by answering and asking other questions, just about different ideas, different topics, different things others have said about him. >> host: what made him what he is today? tell me about his upbringing and his parents and a little bit about that. >> guest: he has an unusual life story and that not only was he an only child in a catholic family but he was the only offering of his generation of the two italian striving parents that he had. his mother came from a family of seven, but she was the only one who bore a child of the group.
his father would come over from sicily, had been wanted to get it he was the only one who had an offspring. his father was in his teens when he came here, knowing no english, very little english and went on to earn a phd at columbia in romance linkages and become a professor of romance linkages at brooklyn college. very brainy sort, family members said he was known to always have his nose in a book that really couldn't abide silliness. set very high standards for his son, the future just as. his mother's side was much more -- they were the ones who are really out there. family of storytellers, a family of jokesters and showman. there was tension between the two parents in terms of kind of where they came from. and he sort of picked up a little bit of both that his mother fans they always had a piano turkey learned to play the piano when he was quite young. as you know to this day, he loves to sit down and play the piano. so here he is, his parents
actually were married for about six or seven years before he came along. he was very much a wanted child and very much a doted on child, not just of ensures that all these and send all calls. which i think not only made him believe he should always be the center of attention, but put quite a burden on him to perform. and his father was quite a demanding individual. there were a couple times in my conversations with him that the justice said that he felt like he never quite satisfied his father, which is an unusual thing to say when here he is. he would to harvard law school. he has become a justice of the united states, but now his father and mother actually passed away while he was still on the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit before had been elevated. >> did he teach law? >> guest: yes. he topmost at the university of chicago, but he also had ties up at georgetown university and also at -- you're talking about
the justice? >> host: yes. >> guest: because his father was a professor. he taught at stanford for a semester, for a full calendar year and also at georgetown. he liked it but he did not get into it as much as you would expect it because he is so brainy and intellectual. you would have thought he would have been drawn much more into teaching, but it was easy enough for him to leave it, frankly. he was excited about something that you enjoy. he liked being in the executive branch. >> host: what was his job and what did he do? >> guest: sure, sure. he started in the nixon administration, and he started with a new office created while he was there, the office of telecommunications policy. and he was general counsel for that. and then he moved into more of an administrative position where he was in charge of sort of ideas to streamline the bureaucracy. is real break came when president nixon, who was in the throes of watergate, nominated
him to be an assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel. and office you know well. and he was not made by richard nixon, but was not approved until later in august of 1974 after richard nixon had resigned in the aftermath of watergate. so he became essentially a gerald ford appointee. and really cut his teeth in the wake of watergate and ford administration, and his very first assignment as an assistant attorney general was to determine who owns the watergate papers and tapes. no easy task when you have come into office, but his opinion on behalf of that office was that nixon owned those tapes, and other doctors from his tenure and congress quickly reversed that and that's why the american public has that. >> host: who did he replace as assistant attorney general for the office? >> guest: robert dix and. at the time another person who you are very ugly with, larry
silverman, who has gone on to become a federal appeals court judge here in washington, d.c., mr. silberman was deputy attorney general. >> i'm sure that's what it was. >> guest: his job was to buy a new assistant for the office for the office of legal council, and a man by the name of john rose, sort of like your life, because you know all these players. jon rosen had been a longtime aide in both the nixon and ford administration, and he had the idea that this fellow, antonin scalia, who had served them well in the office of documentation policy, mitochondrial in this kind of crazy post-watergate world. john rowe said, this was a time when a lot of republicans were scrambled to get out of the administration. the place was imploding. people were worried about the reputations. there were all these searches going on. first of all, because of the investigations they were all these searches for documents,
tapes. it was kind of a difficult chaotic time in the administration, and mr. silberman and mr. rose both said they were looking for someone who would not be afraid of this, who would not be as larry silverman said, wins and a of skirting. >> host: they found someone who would be. >> guest: and as i said, really cut his teeth in the wake of watergate. larry silverman says that he never was drawn to someone so immediately as he was time out justice scalia. and you know both of them. they are both quite for mobile and had a good time to get a. >> host: i thought it was interesting also that william rehnquist had been assistant attorney general under nixon in the office of legal council. >> guest: that try. of course, bill rehnquist had that job but did he in january of 1972 was successfully appointed to supreme court. there was a little gap between
when bill rehnquist left the job and antonin scalia came into a. >> host: do you think they knew one another? >> guest: no. they certainly knew each other, but they had not dealt with each other much. it's interesting, you know, in talking to people like justice john paul stevens was nominated by gerald ford to the supreme court in a concerted five and who had been nominated by nixon, appointed by nixon to the seventh circuit. all of these people sort of knew of each other but they hadn't worked together. i'm talking about justice scalia, and justice scalia did not meet our really vet john paul stevens when he was to the supreme court. about all the fell two and later then became the attorney general. this is all in the post-watergate era where the nation went through several attorneys general. >> , and there was a lot of turnover. >> guest: so you can imagine, this is where justice scalia essentially comes of age in the administration. >> host: tell me. i am interacting you, but i want
you to tell me about the office of legal council. i know a little bit about it, but i think that the people watching this program would want to know, this is part of his formation. he was a professor, and then served in the administration, and insert in the office of legal council. it's an interesting position. >> guest: it is. and the job is essentially to be the constitutional lawyer to the president to say what constitutional and what is not. many of our viewers now when the other office because that was the office to produce the torture memos that are related to what's going on now. you know, the guantánamo detainees of various cases going forward. other than that though, it's the office that rarely is in the headlines. it's a brainier office. is not usually that prominence to the public. but it is very prominent among florida because it typically drives someone who very much interested in the constitution and intellectual side of the constitution. so it was a very good match. >> host: is a small office, produces legal opinions for the
administration, including matters of constitutional law. >> guest: that's right tremont and he says it's a pretty good training ground for a person like bill rehnquist or antonin scalia to be on the supreme court, because would you say that office deals with a lot of things that might ultimately come before the supreme court? >> guest: that's right. as head of that office, he often sparred with members of congress. he was constantly going up to testify before people like ed muskie, people like robert drinan. very strong liberals who were skeptical of what the ford administration was doing in terms of executive privilege even back then. in terms of, you know, keeping documents secret. and boy, did he get into that. he loved sparring with these liberals. >> host: do you think he held his own? >> guest: yes. i have the transcript so he did hold his own. but when i talk to him about that, just recent years, he said i could have done it with one hand tied behind my back.
as you know, just as clear think is a. >> host: he is not shy. so he served in the office of legal council but he must've looked at the end of the ford administration. >> guest: january. >> host: and in the carter administration came along. then the reagan administration came along. about five, six years -- one was in the reagan administration, president reagan took office in january of 1981. when did they put the finger on justice scalia to become an appeals court judge? >> guest: that's interesting. i just said he left in 76 but he didn't leave until 77 when jimmy carter was one in. he goes to the american enterprise and did he work his way to the university of chicago. actually, he wanted to go into the reagan administration sooner than he was able. this involves somebody else. william french smith. he was on the look out for solicitor general. that is as you know, because you held that java is a very important job. it is the government top lawyer
before the supreme court. all the men who have held that have the first woman doing it but all the men have warned the morning suit, it's quite a prestigious job. and yet another intellectual kind of brainy job before the court. and then professor scully at the university of chicago really wanted that job. and he thought, he had what he thought was a pretty good interview with william princeton. but rex lee was also up for that job, and as bill smith, writes in his model is that i know you're familiar with, the late bill smith. he says there was a really close call but he went with rex lee. that was a very big disappoindisappointment. in fact, justice scalia used the word bitter when he talked to me about a. because he came so close and it was a job that he thought was tailor-made for him. >> host: which it was. >> guest: he was quite an advocate. that was a real blow. that came in the spring of 1981.
that's with rex lee got the job. then the reagan administration offered him, just a scully, a job on the seventh circuit which was based in chicago. he's living in chicago at the time but he doesn't like chicago, which happens to be my hometown. but he and his wife maureen weber east coast folks and they did not enjoy their time in chicago that much. they were eager to get back to the east coast, especially washington. so here he is, having just lost a chance to be solicitor general, being offered a lifetime appointment to a prestigious court of appeals based in chicago and he decides he's going to wait. he's going to hold out in hopes that he's going to get a job on the federal courts based in washington, d.c.. because he knew, his forte was administrative law. he's taking a chance. here he has an oscar in hand errs is one that might not come.
and just a few months later, in 1982, he was officially appointed by ronald reagan to the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit claymont so he didn't get to be solicitor general, but he got at least -- i would say second place. the d.c. circuit is considered to be the second highest court in the land by some people that it's equal with other circuit -- federal circuit courts, but it's in washington and it handles cases many of which go to the supreme court. >> guest: and some people would say if you become solicitor general and taken some pretty tough stance he might never have been on deck and a pointer to the u.s. supreme court. who knows? but it worked out better for him in the end. >> host: so in 1982 he goes to the d.c. circuit. then when does he get appointed to the supreme court? >> guest: he gets appointed in 1986. the real battle their insight is what he's going to beat robert to that nomination. as you know, robert bork had been really the man on deck for the supreme court.
he had been a very strong intellectual force behind conservatism tram and a former solicitor general. >> guest: that's right. and in nine years just as silly as senior. he was on the justice circuit before justice glenn. people believed it was owed to him. now, he did have a hand in the saturday night massacre during watergate which resulted in the firing of the attorney general's office. and enough controversy that he was passed in 1975 when the ford administration went with justice john paul stevens. but here we are in the mid '80s, and the question is after ronald reagan has chosen sandra day o'connor to be the first woman justice on the u.s. supreme court, who will he choose next? and it falls to antonin scalia. i would say why. >> host: he didn't choose bork. >> guest: but not until 87 which would make a difference. because by then the senate had flipped democratic. and so he chooses justice scalia -- he chooses antonin scalia and
86. president reagan was enthralled by the first generation story. he like antonin scalia's, you know, italian heritage. he's certain he was a conservative people to robert bork, but he presented a little bit of a different tale. and at the time the administration didn't know whether it was going to get any more appointments. this was 86. just a scosh seemed a lot healthier. i remember telling ed meese, he was a smoker, he was a smoker? robert bork was a smoker and we are worried about his health. the administration goes with antonin scalia. he skates through the process of drama and let me stop a minute, because of that vacancy was created when chief justice warren burger resigned, right? >> guest: right. tremont instead of going outside the court, president reagan selected william rehnquist who was an associate justice to be chief justice. so that there was a bad in
selected scalia to take the rehnquist seat, right? so did that come sort of together at the same time? >> guest: that also helped him. he was helped by his italian-american heritage but he was helped by the fact that, you know, his record for all intents and purposes right there in plain sight, but there was no reason for the senator to probe too deeply into how deep his conservatism was. by default william rehnquist about for just a. a lot of liberal groups came out very strong against him to be elevated to the chief. they didn't like his record on the supreme court, but he also was someone who had been quite outspoken when he was in the attorney general in the office of legal council. and he had a record that provided -- that generated so many more critics. so liberal senators and liberal groups spend all their fire on that nomination, and bill rehnquist gets through.
he becomes chief justice. here comes antonin scalia who has this wonderful life story. his nine children line up behind in their. >> host: i was going to ask you when you mention before that he was an only child. it turns out he has nine children, and how many grandchildren now? >> guest: thirty. but i have to check. >> host: i asked him once how could he remember all the names of his grandchildren? he said, what makes you think i remember all the names of my grandchildren? but anyway, he is one of nine and he has got now, he has 30 grandchildren. i don't know what it was in. >> guest: at the time his nominate and 96, a all line up behind. they look lovely. the senator's are constantly talking as they, you can't even the democrats, everything is wonderful and everything is wonderful. and he is so confident in his views, he only answers what he wants to enter. he himself knows that he can't go down any path that could be controversial and he has been given lots of vice by the reagan
administration and close friends to not say anything. and arlen specter was so frustrated, the then republican senator from pennsylvania, was so frustrated during the nomination hearing that he then writes in his own book about how i don't think i could've got even the name reagan still number out of the guy. and how he just played that committee that so many ways. he gets to unanimously to the committee. >> host: i was going to say. he was wasn't the vote 98 to zero. now we know that all of these contentious vote for chief justice roberts, justice alito, robert bork a few leaders, a couple years later. may be the next year. you will tell me. goes down in flames in the confirmation process and a justice scalia, one of the more controversial justices and more colorful and more flamboyant, most flamboyant, 98 to zero. >> into you can't believe some of the dialogue, even from the hardline liberals.
howard metzenbaum opened his conversation, his questioning, his probing by saying, you know it's a shame you've been in squash the other day. there was a very good old boy thing going on. and attack him you probably remember in the book, i open with justice scalia even talking about the first softball question from -- i want the federal society. >> guest: that's right. and a justice itself puts their arms together as if bring them on. i think it a good time. in fact, at the end of his hearing, he said i have truly enjoyed myself. what i arrived at, i think it came and i think he did to. u.s. and grazers in the book about senator specter asked an oddball question -- we won't have enough time here, but oddball question about real property laws bringing users and shifting, unit, and then justice scalia was telling this great
story about two lawyers in new york and a taxicab. >> guest: he hijacks the question. and that happened throughout. he hijacks the questioner gives his own itch and it's like okay okay, we're out of time. later, i asked jess is going about that complaint from senator specter about how he sort of shifted the question to answer when he walked into. who knows, probably not? >> host: either time jesses clia catfish with his answer he had forgotten what the question was. >> guest: the senator had, right, right. >> host: jesses clia calmly he is so outgoing in his opinion. sometimes pretty rough. when you say in the dissenting opinions, or even the opinions that he writes challenging views of his colleagues. how does he get along with his colleagues? i'm going to ask you more about the opinions, but what is the relationship like? that can be pretty tough stuff. >> guest: and usually, there's a
great story about justice powell and marshall sang during oral arguments, does he even realize the rest of us are here? he so starts to dominate or argue with. this is a time when the benches filled with quiet justices. right now we have a high bench with the majority are very much active and firing questions at the lawyer at the lectern you're back in 1986, we had a group of mostly older justices who didn't ask a lot of questions. he comes on. is only 50 years old and he is quite aggressive from the bench. that's the first thing. >> host: first of all, so people out there understand, and oral argument in the supreme court is 30 minutes per side generally. what happens? >> guest: the lawyer for each side stands up and the justice -- usually start to present a case, and what happens today is that individual justices jump in and ask questions, try to make their own point on things. it can be quite a vigorous of the. you can have 90 questions go by
in our. very fast-paced. what happens is, what happened in 1986 as it was much more of a slower pace, and the lawyer at the lectern was able to present more of his or her case, really almost tell a tale from notes often. and justice scalia comes into this atmosphere and wants to mix it up much more. and he does. and he does piggy becomes quite a force right away from the bench. >> host: he is throwing hand grenades out there almost. >> guest: and right now it's much more appreciated because we have many more justices are like that. back in 1986 we did not. went much more of a laid back kind of group, black robed nine and there. so anyway, he started mixing it up that way. and that he does a conference. i was just talking to a former -- timer explained that. >> guest: i was physically what is going on with it that only the nine justices. no law clerks, no legal secretaries, no clerks, no one else. around a table and they talk in order of seniority. >> host: that is after they have
heard '80s court deciding? >> guest: on wednesdays to look at some of the early cases to decide how they might preliminary how they will vote on those, how they will resolve those. and also on friday's. what they're looking at is not just how they will vote on cases but what cases they would even take because as you know, hundreds and hundreds of appeals are filed in the supreme court and they only take a small handful of those. >> host: so they start off with the most senior justice? >> guest: right. during most of jesses clia stein would have been chief justice rehnquist. and chief justice rehnquist as you know he went bam bam bam, very fast. didn't like a lot of debate. felt everybody should show up knowing how to cast his or her vote. make a short story of the. justice scalia would sometimes talk out of turn. the chief justice would have to say we'll hear from you into. he was a junior justice that he was supposed to wait until a
ninth place. and also, he wanted to talk more. he wanted to debate that was his natural topic he was combative and lots of venues. and he learned pretty quickly that that's not the way it was about. what's this all about? so there was frustrating times. at that time in the course is you, bill brennan was still there and controlling a lot. the liberals, even though there were more republican appointees, the liberals had a bit of an hand that did not sit well with him either. >> host: we will talk in a moment or two about some of the opinions. >> guest: great. thank you. mika brzezinski what are you
reading? >> "the glass castle" and jeannette used to work at ms nbc. do you know her? she grew up in west virginia under the most unbelievable conditions and she writes about it. and hashish use her live through a glass castle of this existence with a very mentally ill mother and a very poor existence. and it's a book that i'm sure with my daughters. and then she has another book out just now. i can't remember the title of it but i'm going to move on to that one. i have to get her first win under my belt. >> you also are writing a book. tellis. >> is out on january 5. i'm a little nervous. is called "all things at once." and it is about the search for the ability to admit to myself that i love to work. and it is important to me, as my children and my husband. and how my time off looking for
work forced me to realize that, sort of a mental journey to get there. but along the way in this book there are a couple of other messages about the female identity and this day and age. and how you kind of have to really push through a lot of things not to lose sight of this. and there are some messages in there that are very controversial. i'm already getting hit a little bit on the internet because i'm a strong advocate of getting married and having children as well as finding the work that you love the. so that we'll all be in the book. >> mika brzezinski. >> "after words" with joan biskupic and ted olson continues. >> at the end of the congress, they vote, right? the votes are tallied up that they had each cast sort of a vote, right? >> guest: that's right. tremont and someone writes an
opinion, whoever -- tell us how that works. >> guest: we are talking about the private conferences and am ready to resolve a case. they take a vote. the majority side is going to be fair the opinion for the court. and the most senior justice on that side then assigned to the opinion. the chief justice who has the opinion. chief justice rehnquist, often the majority, senior liberal could be in the maggiore. when it was chief justice william rehnquist he would assign a. early on, i know what you're getting at, when he was assigned to antonin scalia, justice scalia would sometimes lose the fifth but because you have to write an opinion that will keep all side justice, the majority of the nine on his. rather than something that really reflects your hard and fast view. . .
their wonderful papers. >> host: there are memos. >> guest: exchanges on cases and notes between justices. justice powell, justice harry blackmun's papers are at the library of congress, justice the burmans, william brennan's are mostly at the library of congress, so these justices documents provided a lot of material for me to see what would happen in the drafting process and that's where i was able to detect when justice scalia might have lost a majority in from the outside you often wouldn't know that. in fact, it's funny you bring this up because i just today heard from a lawyer who argued one of the cases that have been five -- four in the opposite direction until justice scalia lost the majority and bill brennan switched votes and with the other way and there was a lawyer on the case didn't know that happen. >> host: he did not know? >> guest: you wouldn't know unless he went to look it up and
i think in the late -- early 1990's when justice thurgood marshall's papers became available and it was a big deal to lawyers and other observers, people started living of these but as a matter of routine only law professors and some journalists such as myself spent a lot of time in newspapers. >> host: and i think -- so they keep a secret but than after they leave this planet to the papers become available and you can figure out a lot of things that happen. >> guest: some of the justices don't and i had a justice -- the conversation with sandra day o'connor and she said directly to not hold your breath. get on with your life. >> host: and justice souter said it's going to be a long time. >> guest: it's a shame, from his but if you he thinks it's nobody's business and i think fellow justices are happy because when they send a note to a colleague did like to keep it quiet i think but for a journalist it's great because then you know what was going on
and gives you insight into the finished product were all you see is the final law of the land which obviously is then survives this court but it's nice to see the dynamics that produced it. >> host: it's a treasure trove. you are in a store in and journalist doing both with books like this. tell me about the fact that once in awhile justice scalia's opinions would be sharply critical of his colleagues. somewhat disdainful perhaps in you mentioned that someone pointed out as in your book, i can't recall who, says there is sarcasm in there from time to time. tell us about that. was that true? and did it alienate his colleagues? >> guest: a did and semper specs but they came to embrace it as that. >> host: if you do it long enough you can get away with it or because you smile? >> guest: [laughter] as justice ginsburg, one of his closest friends said, sometimes
i can strangle him. i found that was the sentiment of most of them, justice john paul stevens to serve me his opposite on the wall, the senior level on the bench who said to me he certainly has been destructive is what justice stevens said about his colleague but i think he took it as part of the intellectual debate. now, certainly justice harry blackmun who has since retired and passed away was offended by much of the justice scalia's town and i would find that in his documents, in fact, in cases he would be familiar with such as morison vs. olson, brennan justice scalia had a dissent in that case justice blackmun wrote on it it doesn't need to be this long. he was very offended by the town of pixar have to say just the same today o'connor her retired in january 2006 was also offended by some of the tone but learn to live with it and i
think fact people have said to me was the affective? has he been effective with our kind of tone because he pushed people away like justice o'connor and justice kennedy to some extent, but what he has done, he has probably cost him so little with the moderates on the ports but he's also issued battle cries to people be on the court and he's become a hero certainly to a lot of conservatives out there. so he's been effective in a way that other justices haven't been effective beyond the bench. >> host: and to ask some more about his riding but i thought -- justice blackmun, human to him, i thought there was an interesting piece in your book where one term i can recall with everything had gone wrong for justice scalia and he apparently seemed like he was at the end of the term, they started in october with arguments and finished in june. it was june and he lost one case after the other and i think justice blackmun was feeling
sorry for him -- can you tell me about that? >> guest: in 1996 and justice scalia has lost and lost and that's when he says we have gone to a point that this is a country i do not recognize, he is very upset and lost -- been in the to send in a significant gay-rights case, in the descent to in terms of its single-sex education, and if you are in a store in their return, he's very disappointed in net this point president clinton is an office. the country is in a position where justice scalia really feels like he is of the minority view. harry blackmun reaches out to him and says i know you are disappointed but i hope after the summer you will get over it ended justice scalia writes back a very personal note that says, and acknowledges his disappointment and feels it has been for naught to.
this becomes public through when harry blackmun files are opened. justice scalia really felt that he was insulted because here was reached out to buy a colleague, he lets down his guard and rights back and then it becomes public and i think he felt like that was -- he felt if sense of the trail there. for me it was great because i was able to see firsthand at the moment just how dejected he was. >> host: you think he was ready to quit? there was speculation. >> guest: there was definitely speculation. he was talking to pals over pizza for he loved to drink his wine and eat his into a pieces, he felt sick and tired of. he felt weary in '96 and also just turned 60 which wasn't that big of a deal -- we are looking at milestones' kind of thing. i actually believe he never would have quit because it was so much a part of his life blood. a job that he thrives on, but
people close to him thought that he might. >> host: is ironic then is in that someone who is on the other side of the cases would reach out a hand to him and then he would respond and then later when justice blackmun's papers are available then he felt a little bit -- i guess that means we will never see justice scalia's papers, we wouldn't be holding our breath. >> guest: i don't think we should on his and he hasn't saved. he couldn't believe how much care blackmun would chronicle everything. it wanders if we ever job in know where it is in the file. justice scalia doesn't say why fat than in dozens product of his life that way. harry blackmun kept a diary and also has been useful to historians and journalists of. i don't believe justice scalia does. >> host: i want to return briefly to his relationship with justice ginsburg. they could not -- he would say
that the difficult to find it to people that were dashed to justice is more different. he is italian and robust, operatic, justice ginsburg is slight, very cerebral, conservative liberal. >> guest: very soft-spoken. >> host: yes and tell us about their friendship. >> guest: barry longstanding friendship. they first met in the '70s, she heard him give a speech. i will fit into the topic but it was in the area of administrative law that was close to justice scalia's heart and he gave to this impassioned speech that only law professors could love and but she was a law professor at the time and she disagreed with everything he said to tell me, but she was really taken by his style. she finds him -- he is so amusing but as she told the senators who asked in her confirmation hearing what is with you and justice scalia and she said, he can always make me
laugh. she sees him in the late '70s and i think she remembers hearing him give the speech, disagrees on the substance of the speech but yet be taken by him. and then they both end up being appointees to the federal court of appears in washington for the d.c. circuit and they are both former law professors and they start exchanging writings between each other. they are asking each other for advice on everything from the legal reasoning even though cases from other ideologies from the legal reasoning to punctuation. there are both picky intellectual types in various ways and they both share a love of opera, they share a love of travel and their french upstarts' to deepen and toward the end of a his tenure on the d.c. circuit in the mid '80s this are to spend years eve together a. at one point robert bork was part of this group and for lots of reasons in part because of his disappointment to not get on the supreme court it becomes
awkward to have him at the new year's eve group but they start to spend a year's leave together and with their respective spouses to get along very well. marty ginsburg and more rain scalia, is a nice for some. although everyone is baffled by it. as i said, two constantly is irked by things he does but still there are friends. >> host: and he says he admires her, values for advice. he will share opinions with her in the drafting process. >> guest: that's right. and one of her favorite pictures is the time they went to india and they are on this elephant together in these two bucket seats and he is in the front edges of the back issues of it was the weight distribution. the only person who lies about her weight in the opposite direction. in -- but they do enjoy each other's company to the bafflement of many. >> host: and the new year's
eve in think i understand marty ginsburg will be, justice ginsburg husband is quite a chef and he is the consummate chef but what does he could? >> guest: sometimes what justice scalia had shot because as we know he loves to hunt. here is the queen in new york boy who now loves to go down south and quail hunting, that contain, al contained, and sometimes he will bring back something that's marty ginsburg can cook up for their new year's eve dinner. >> host: so he could sell its and they all have dinner. >> guest: he loves wine, loves food. >> guest: . >> host: tell me about his writing style, we talk about that earlier but i am taking with it. i find it absolutely fascinating. what have you found? >> guest: is rich with illusions, he will quote everything from shakespeare to leonard bernstein and thugs in
west side story. he is constantly -- invoking all sorts of wonderful literature, song lyrics. interestingly his father who as i said is a professor of romance languages collected lyrics, italian lyrics, and the justice himself who has been quite musical and will invoke a song in his opinions, there are lively, they are punchy and he often as you said even though you hedged this and use sarcasm, face it, they can be sarcastic especially the dissent's. >> host: i would not say that. >> guest: because you argue before the courts but they are sarcastic. he can't get away with that in majority opinions because then he's ready for a majority of the courts this mackey has learned that. >> guest: and ask him a couple of times about comments and opinions and he will say i know, that might have been a little bit sarcastic, but it got people's attention and he likes that. he likes to have his meager in there because he wants to have
attention and be read and have his message out this mack i think that he thinks from what i gather from what you've written know what i know myself that he knows if he writes it in a way that people want to read it to people will remember it and people will be persuaded by it. is he just having fun or is it because he thinks that's more persuasive? >> guest: i think the latter, he's having fun. he does enjoy, i asked him about the writing process, enjoys writing because it is work to write and he enjoys having written but he is energizer in the process of but what he wants to do is persuade and he loves it when his opinions are devoured and we both know many liberals who even though they would disagree with just about everything he says turn first to his dissents were his riding because it is so engaging. and he likes that. he wants an opinion to make the case but, he wants young law
students and teacher solicitors general and attorneys general to be reading him. >> host: he has a colorful way of expressing himself. i remember a case for he talked about 60,000 people dancing nude in the hoosier dome, nude dancing case or something like that. there's always something like that, not always but often something like that that basis points. >> guest: is very visual. and i asked justice stevens wants, if you were doing this book would you want to know about justice scalia's of life and he said, where does he get that sense of storytelling? where does he get back colorful side? this mack request in. >> guest: i asked his italian family, his grandfather was quite a story teller and was also the first person on your status are banging pots and pans out of window of their town house and was quite a colorful
figure himself. and i think also mentally did he get that sense of timing from that side of his father being so interested in words and language, he certainly has a first-rate use of it the language. >> host: justice scalia has always been very reticent about the press and a little suspicious about the press. and you talk to him and got him to cooperate with your book. telesat story. >> guest: well, he was initially reluctant subject and we have elected history together. as i said to him once you let me with congressional quarterly magazine, didn't like meet with the washington post but now i am switching to usa today and he said even though i'm sicilian i haven't been holding a grudge. [laughter] so we have had some ups and downs to the years especially when i was with the washington post in the '90s up to 2,000.
and when i told him i signed a contract with strauss . >> host: you did that before you knew you would get help from him. >> guest: as because i knew his story and i knew i could get to people. i have been watching him, my purse it down into the was in '92 when allison with congressional braley and when you're up there every day you feel like you have a type of access so i was confident and when my publisher and editor confidence i could tell his story without having a guarantee from hampshire bell and he wrote back saying once i told him i signed a contract saying feel free to talk to colleagues and friends and reach out to my family but i won't talk to you. i said keep an open mind and then i began my research in earnest and spent time in trenton where he was born in queens, when three presidential libraries, through all this judicial archives, and i found
out lots of things he didn't know about his own family and his own story and we ran into each other in a social occasion and i was telling him about things i found in trenton and he got interested. i think what he decided to -- at one point he said you were spending so much time trying to figure out my life maybe i ought to talk to you. so he started calling me and how often are we sitting at our desks and i would be like, asking questions about his father and a story i had done research on and then we started talking and i said . >> host: he wanted in advance in the book? >> guest: q fonted information. i don't know how much anybody in his family had done to neology but i was doing genealogy in the new jersey are times so i went in to see him and we started talking and then halfway through he said, i don't know if this should be on the record, i said this is on the record and this
is why and i explained i was very frank about my mission of. i was not trying to hold him up as a hero, i wanted to tell his story as early as possible and he said all, right to. it's all in the record into were the end when i told him about some of the chapters on catholicism and race and from his critics that would be in there, i let him have a response and i said this is -- you have been good about being generous with your time and the trade-off is you will know what's in here appear hell i will let you respond here to your critics. this is a book that is written for a mainstream audience. so i wanted people to see him in his full list and give his life story and also to give his sense of himself in the law also. >> host: you obviously gave his respect and to stress. he's not going to agree with everything in here i'm sure. no one is happy with what someone else writes about them.
but it is really well done in this is so well written by you but it's also so much of ham that tells the story. you can see you've got his respect and admiration in this cooperation because you can see you as an honest person really doing your job. i wanted to ask, you mentioned catholicism. there are now six justices on the u.s. supreme court to are catholics. it is nothing like that's ever happened in history. what did you learn about the affect -- he is a strong catholic, a passionate one. how does that affect his jurisprudence? and the same question really about the other justices. >> guest: that's a good question because it is historic that we have six, chief justice roberts, justice thomas, anthony kennedy, clarence thomas and
justice alito and u.s. justice sotomayor and they all have different approaches to their catholicism but i think everyone would agree that justice scalia is most known as a catholic. he talks about it most, his friends say that he believes it is the one true church, he lives of the high mass, he likes the idea that everyone should observe all the holy days and say the rosary so he's quite a committed catholic and one of the hardest chapters read was about his catholicism an abortion because many of his critics believe that his views on catholicism influenced this abortion in the way i describe him as a parallel passion, a real passion for catholicism and a passion for the repudiation of roe vs. wade that made abortion legal nationwide and what he says is i read tax, i'm an original list of my catholic views and their personal views don't influence how i view will versus wade which he finds completely illegitimate and the assembly and has constitutional grounding. i let him have his say on that
night talk about how important the fall season is but i let him say it is not something that influences my rulings. i let critics like the university of chicago counter that and then readers can take away from that, but it is an historic time for catholics on the porch and i think he more than anybody else embodies the idea that catholicism could influence a person's law. >> host: but he says the fact of mccafferty didn't lead to my jurisprudence on abortion and he cites i can't recall whether you got into this but he cites -- he supports the decisions in capital punishment which may be against catholics. >> guest: they are against the death penalty. it is approached to i think anybody who understands his approach to original as someone say, of course, you cannot find in the framers original idea of
the constitution a right to abortion. he has a good argument on that, that some people certainly objected to it but he says that is really not influenced by my catholicism. and you are right on the death penalty that he also says that if this from my original list point to view. >> host: is in the constitution. the idea that regionalism, say a few words about fat and with the antithesis of original was some on the court? tell us what that means to him and what he is opposed to on the other side. >> guest: his id is go back to the 18th-century and of the drafters of the constitution wanted as the law and would shift their understanding, what was going on in society so as not just text but largely is. the counterpart and liberals constantly talk about how strong is their counterparts. they definitely do not subscribe
to justice scalia's view but they want to work vigorously be a player in the intellectual debate on this but it is hard because it's a much more pragmatic approach. right now i think justice -- justice breyer embodied that in what he has written his book act of liberty, the idea that you don't go back to the 18th-century and stay there on what should be the law and the constitution, you look at what is important owl and how the laws and the text of the constitution have evolved to the needs of society for our viewers who have been around a long time. that was embodied with the thinking of justice william brennan, the notion of a living evolving constitution to fit societal demands. justice breyer articulates that now but in a bid of more pragmatic way he says let's be real about what in america needs and then let's look at it in a broader sense than just what was happening in 18th-century. what justice scalia says is if i
just look in terms of the text and what the framers had in mind i won't let my personal view influence me, what mike calls is a more other of my own subjective thoughts come into it. justice breyer says that's hogwash coming your subjective thoughts are coming in any way. don't fool yourself says to justice scalia and to the original and a large way, he says it is your judgment that are going to be influenced by your decisions and we are a little more honest than the originals. >> host: the debate is fascinating and that's a good example because justice breyer and justice scalia like to go on the road once in awhile and debate with one another and to get a ticket to one of those is the best and to watch. justice scalia is perceived as a conservative and justice breyer and stevens are perceived as liberals but justice scalia is thought of as a civil
libertarian, that he voted to strike down the flag burning statute. can you comment on that? >> guest: i don't think the american civil liberties union would say that he is with them most of the time, but he was with them on flag-burning. and he tells a very funny story. he will say in his speeches, this show says i'm consistent in terms of what's in the constitution and i didn't think that laws against flag burning should stand. he kids about how he still can't stand sandal wearing scruffy people who burn the flag as he's characterize them but he has kidded about the day after that ruling in 1989 his wife came downstairs whistling you're grand old flag. >> host: [laughter] he's also been on the side of people accused of crying when it comes to the right to confront witnesses and sentencing cases so it's not just flag-burning. >> guest: there is a flight of
criminal law and that amendments were he said quite active and has been able to pull together an unusual coalition of liberal and conservative justices, justice john paul stevens is with him on these in the right to be confronted by the witnesses against you. he has had quite an influence in making sure that statements made at of chords in key cases, some domestic routes cases and child abuse cases, are not admitted unless the person sent them and is there to be cross-examined. >> host: he's taking the words and saying that's a right of the defendants in the by -- i'm going to take my original where it takes me. well, take me -- some up in a sentence or to which you feel about justice antonin scalia "american original". >> guest: a lot of different things. obviously someone who's had quite an influence on the law. probably would have never been
predicted in 1986 but through a chain of political events, ronald reagan, george w. bush opponents of john roberts and justice alito, he's gone from disallowed active to center speaking only to his acolytes beyond the marble walls to someone out in the majority and likely to stay in the majority for a while because as you know that justice is most likely to retire in upcoming years of the liberal's. >> host: well, congratulations for a wonderful book. i encourage everybody to read it. i told you i have four copies and i hope to have a lot more. >> guest: great, thank you. >> host: -- we leave -- before the senate is to read the amendment democrats announced