the supremes

Scalia Insists Justices Didn’t Bully Roberts Over Obamacare

Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee October 5, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The justice testified on
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, a CBS News report revealed that Chief Justice John Roberts switched his vote to side with the liberals on the court. The conservatives reportedly harassed him for weeks about changing his vote, then resorted to shunning him when he refused. Now in a CNN interview, Justice Antonin Scalia insists that those are just nasty rumors, and whoever suggested that the justices were feuding is a total liar. It’s a good thing those sources were anonymous, or someone would be getting kicked out of the lunch table.

According to the New York Times, when Piers Morgan first asked Scalia, who was on the show to promote his book, if he and Roberts, “have had a parting of the ways, gone from best buddies to warring enemies,” the justice said he wouldn’t discuss internal court matters. He also criticized those who broke the court’s legendary code of silence, saying, “You should not believe what you read about the court in the newspapers. It’s either been made up or been given to the newspapers by somebody who’s violating a confidence, which means that person is not reliable.”

Finally, Scalia gave in. “No, I haven’t had a falling out with Justice Roberts,” he said, insisting that the justices clash on legal issues, but never personally. When Morgan asked if there had been loud words or slammed doors over the Obamacare ruling, he said, “No, no, nothing like that.”

Of course, there wouldn’t have been any shouting or door slamming, since the original report suggested that Kennedy and Scalia simply wrote a passive-aggressive dissent to send a message to Roberts. The justices may have been acting like teenagers, but they’re not babies.

New polls found that the Supreme Court’s status as the second most popular branch of government is slipping, but Scalia doesn’t seem too concerned about it. When Bush v. Gore came up, he said he has “no regrets at all,” particularly because research has shown Gore would have lost anyway. “It comes up all the time, and my usual response is, ‘Get over it.’” That probably isn’t helping the Supreme Court win the D.C. popularity contest.

Scalia: Justices Didn’t Bully Roberts