Justice Antonin Scalia sat down recently for a rare interview with C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, and explained why the Supreme Court justices are the only Americans who don’t want to be on TV. There’s been talk of televising the court’s proceedings for years, but Scalia insists it won’t actually shed light on their mysterious ways. “I am sure it will mis-educate the American people,” he says.
In a clip from the interview, which airs Sunday night on C-SPAN, Scalia explains that he wouldn’t have a problem with allowing cameras in the courtroom if Americans were going to watch the coverage “gavel to gavel.” That would actually correct some misconceptions:
… we’re not usually contemplating our navel, ‘should there be a right to this or that? Should there be a right to abortion? Should there be a right to homosex—‘ that’s not usually what we’re doing. We’re usually dealing with the internal revenue code, with ERISA, with patent law, with all sorts of dull stuff that only a lawyer could understand and perhaps get interested in. If the American people saw all of that, they would be educated, but they wouldn’t see all of that.
Instead, the public would see the proceedings in fifteen-second sound bites on the news. Scalia believes we’re more likely to take out-of-context quotations with a grain of salt when we’re only reading about which Supreme Court justices are being bullied by fellow members of the court.
Lamb makes the mistake of mentioning the First Amendment in his counter argument, and is quickly reminded that non-justices shouldn’t attempt to debate the Constitution with Scalia. It’s a shame that Scalia is so opposed to being America’s next reality TV star. His irascible antics would be at least as entertaining as watching Snooki try to work a duck phone.