Antonin Scalia Does Not Feel He Is ‘Cantankerous’

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Scalia on Fox. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images) Photo: Paul Morigi/2012 Getty Images

Like most of his Supreme Court colleagues, Antonin Scalia doesn't do a lot of press. Today, however, he has a book to promote — the thrillingly titled Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts — and so he made an appearance on Fox News Sunday, where they asked him a lot of non-book-related questions, including one about whether or not he feels he is "cantankerous." 

"I'm not cantankerous. I express myself vividly," Scalia responded. "It's fun to push buttons." He also denied that the Court had become politicized, saying, "I don't think the court's political at all." He added that the frequent 5-4 splits in favor of more conservative positions "doesn't show [the justices] are voting politics. It shows that they had been selected [as justices] because of their judicial philosophy."After all, "why should [anyone] be surprised that after assiduously trying to get people with these philosophies, [presidents] end up with people with these philosophies."

On President Obama's April warning that overturning the Affordable Care Act would constitute "judicial activism," Scalia said, "I don't publicly criticize the president, and he normally does not criticize me." However, he (cantankerously?) added, "What can he do to me? Or to any of us? We have life tenure and we have it precisely so that we will not be influenced by politics, by threats from anybody." And, finally, he claimed he hadn't given much thought to retirement outside of avoiding being "replaced by someone who immediately sets about undoing everything that I've tried to do for 25 years, 26 years."