Scalia on nose-picking, dissenting, and pizza

Justice Antonin Scalia is not yet done with his media blitz in promotion of his new book.

In fact, he gave some colorful, behind-the-scenes insight into how the book’s chapter titles were chosen in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog.

Asted about a chapter dealing with oral arguments entitled “Don’t chew your fingernails,” Scalia said:

“I still regret that. That section was originally titled, ‘Don’t pick your nose.’ I thought that was a much more attention-grabbing title. But people said, ‘Oh, that’s too gross, you can’t say that.’ But I regret receding from that more colorful title.”

As to the times where he rules in favor of a party even when the lawyer drops the ball in the case, Scalia said:

“I wish you could give two grades – who wins the case and who’s the better lawyer.”

On the power of dissents, Scalia said:

“Who do you think I’m writing my dissents for? I’m writing for the next generation and for law students. You know, read this and see if you want to go down that road. We’d be better off on all sorts of issues – on legislative history, on originalism. But I’m not going to persuade my colleagues and I’m not going to persuade most of the federal bench. [But] maybe the next generation will see the advantages of going back to the way we used to do things. . . .

“Well, I think one of the reasons this Supreme Court is so prominent – compared to the Supreme courts of other countries – is because of the dissent. The dissent combined with the case law system is the way the law is taught. You don’t have to write a commentary, and the professor doesn’t have to pick apart the opinion. You get both sides just from the U.S. report.”

On the recent closing of his favorite D.C.-area pizzeria, A.V.:

“Isn’t that a shame? I sometimes go to Tosca, but Tosca’s a lot pricier than A.V. used to be. What I recommend is right across the river in Crystal City, a little place called Bebo. It’s much less pricey. The ambience is not as posh. But the food is just as good. The pizzas are perhaps even better than they were at A.V. They have a wood-burning pizza oven imported from Italy.”


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