Antonin Scalia has always seemed twisted, a spoiled child who never grew up. Indeed, a very bright spoiled child whose intelligence is slave to his narcissism.
Jeffrey Toobin, who continues to write elegantly about the Supreme Court, has a new book out about the Roberts Court in which he presents a reasoned assessment of Scalia. He gives the guy a break.
Although Toobin says Scalia has descended from scholar to "right-wing crank," he notes that Scalia came to the court with a unified theory of law — originalism — and has helped recenter important cases and more general discussions around what the founding fathers might have intended. ...The Hill
Toobin's new book covers the whole dirty business, not just Scalia's infantilism.
The book confirms previous reports that Roberts changed his vote in the landmark case over President Obama's healthcare law after initially siding with the conservative justices. But Toobin reports — as others have implied — that what pushed Roberts away was the conservative justices' insistence on striking down the entire health law.
"Scalia's view of the justices as gladiators against the president unnerved Roberts," Toobin writes. ...The Hill
As for Obama's chutzpa when he openly! (in a State of the Union address!) disagreed with the Court's Citizens United decision!, the Republicans on the Court were shocked! shocked!
Quite apart from being shocked by a president (a legal scholar!) who'd dare to criticize them, the group of extremists on the Court -- whose conservativism appears to be accompanied by fragile egos -- must be "in disarray" over being revealed as disdained by their worthy predecessors on the Supreme Court and, lately, losing the respect of the people they are expected to serve.
Much like the Republican Party, the conservative wing of the Supreme Court has gotten staunchly more conservative over the past several years, Toobin notes. He says the old guard of recent Republican justices has been deeply upset by the Roberts court.
Toobin notes the long, stammering dissent John Paul Stevens wrote in the Citizens United campaign-finance case, saying the case "captured everything that offended Stevens most about the Roberts Court."
It had the same effect for Justice David Souter.
"He abhorred the views of Roberts and Alito. Souter didn't like what the Republican Party — his party — was doing to the Court, or to the country," Toobin writes.
Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor liked the idea of Roberts but her reservations grew as she watched the court overturn core pieces of her legacy. Toobin also recounts O'Connor talking to Souter about her decision to leave the court.
"'What makes this harder,' O'Connor told Souter, 'is that it's my party that's destroying the country.'" ...The Hill