The radically activist Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia --- who, despite his increasing tendency to legislate from the bench, likes to pretend he's not an activist and not legislating from the bench --- was asked about his personal sources for news in a New York interview by Jennifer Senior published over the weekend.
His answer, while perhaps the least surprising news of the day, may explain a lot...
His "favorite" "talk guy", he says, is former Reagan official, Bill Bennett, who once declared "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." That's the type of person that Scalia looks to for his "news", apparently.
Ian Millhiser who, after quaintly describing the aging Justice as "Archie Bunker in a less comfy chair," citing the remarks from the interview above, as well as Scalia's statements that he believes the Devil is "a real person", and his being troubled by Hollywood "ladies" using "the f-word" in movies, notes a more disturbing revelation from the interview...
Millhiser notes that Scalia has now decided to "repudiate" his earlier, more moderate views (and even using the word "moderate" in that context is somewhat misleading), in exchange for his more recent "lurch to the right".
"In the winter of his years on the Court," Millhiser observes, "Scalia looks back upon his past moderation and regrets it. It follows that his own more moderate opinions are no longer reliable predictors of Scalia’s current views."
By way of just one example cited by Scalia himself, where he once said (long ago, in the dark days of 1988) that "I cannot imagine myself, any more than any other federal judge, upholding a statute that imposes the punishment of flogging," he now believes that, "yes, if a state enacted a law permitting flogging, it is immensely stupid, but it is not unconstitutional."
While a public flogging law may seem far-fetched, in reality, it's anything but these days. As Millhiser notes, Scalia "did join a dissent siding with three prison guards who handcuffed a prisoner to a hitching post in the hot sun and denied him water."
And, of course, more famously and recently, Scalia's "lurch to the right" and abdication of his earlier "moderation" also includes his blatant and radical acts of judicial activism, such as joining a 5 to 4 majority to over-rule the power of Congress on the Voting Rights Act (which he described as "a "perpetuation of racial entitlement"), despite the very clear directive of the 15th Amendment that "Congress shall have power to enforce" the post-Civil Rights Amendment that assures the right to vote shall not be abridged due to "race, color or previous condition of servitude."
Scalia, of course, doesn't care what the Constitution actually says. He cares what he believes. And what he believes is informed, almost solely, if we are to believe him, by the most counter-factual "news" sources in the nation.