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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  October 14, 2012 3:00am-4:00am EDT

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i'm enjoying this american dream that my family and i have been afforded in this country. that is the reason why we came here, why my parents sacrificed so much. i don't need to be in congress to be living the american dream. tonight -- inside the supreme court, a rare and exclusive interview with the longest serving justice, an tonnen scalia. >> you have to read the federalist papers. i don't think anyone in the current congress could written one of those numbers. >> colorful and controversial, powerful and polarizing, scalia's decisions have changed the nation. now you have super pacs funded by billionaires and funding elections. that couldn't be what the founding fathers intended. antonin scalia, a rare glimpse inside the highest court of the land where the issues that
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divide america are decided. my discussion with antonin scalia. this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. it isn't often a supreme court justice invites a journalist to come sit down with him inside the court itself, but i'm in washington today to interview the longest serving justice antonin scalia. justices don't report on cases they're covering. but that leaves his faith and thoughts on campaign finance and politics and his colleagues. it's all on the table tonight. my exclusive interview with justice antonin scalia and co-author of their new book. justices scalia, welcome. brian, welcome to you, too. >> thank you. >> the book is very much a template for the way that you conducted your legal life.
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you are a man that believes, fundamentally, that the law in america should be based rigidly on the letter of the constitution. that's what you believe, isn't it? fundamentally. >> yes, give or take a little. rigidly i would not say, but it should be based on the text of the constitution reasonably interpreted. >> people that criticize you for this say, a lot of the constitution was phrased in a deliberately vague way. they realize, when they framed it, that in generations to come things may change, which may put a different impression on a particular piece of text. >> sure. >> why are you not prepared to accept that that means you can move with the times, to evolve it? >> but i do accept that, with
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respect to those vague terms in the constitution such as "equal protection of the laws," "due process of law," "cruel and unusual punishments." i fully accept that those things have to apply to new phenomena that didn't exist at the time. what i insist upon, however, is that, as to the phenomena that existed, their meaning then is the same as their meaning now. for example, the death penalty. some of my colleagues who are not textualists or originalists at least believe that it's somehow up to the court to decide whether the death penalty remains constitutional or not. that's not a question for me. it's absolutely clear that whatever cruel and unusual punishments may mean with regard to future things, such as death by injection or the electric chair, it's clear that the death penalty in and of itself is not
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considered cruel and unusual punishment. >> but more and more americans are coming to think of the death penalty as an akronistic thing. you're the longest serving justice. when you began, the majority of americans, big majority, would have been in favor of the death penalty. that's beginning to change. and you're seeing it, for want of a abetter phrase, going out of fashion. one of the reasons being the introduction of dna establishing that a large number of people on death row didn't commit the crimes. how do you equate that, as a man of fairness and justice, how do you continue to be so pro something which is so obviously flawed? >> i'm not pro. people -- i don't insist that there be a death penalty. all i insist upon is that the american people never proscribed the death penalty, never adopted a constitution which said the states cannot have the death penalty. if you don't like the death penalty, fine. some states have abolished it. you're quite wrong it's aa majority. it's a small minority of states
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that have abolished it. majority still permit it. but i'm not pro death penalty. i'm just anti the notion that it is not a matter for democratic choice. that it has been taken away from the democratic choice of the people by a provision of the constitution. that's simply not true. the american people never ratified a provision which they understood abolished the death penalty. when the cruel and unusual punishments clause was adopted, the death penalty was the only penalty for a felony. >> all we'd have to do is amend the constitution. i mean, it can be amended. it is changeable, but it's
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changeable by process, not by asking the judicialry to make up something that is not there in the text. >> right. but, for example, on the cruel and unusual, i was fascinated by your interview i think with "60 minutes" where you said in your eyes torture wasn't an cruel and unusual punishment, i think is what you said, torture wasn't punishment. hang on a second. it surely can be punishment. if you're an innocent person, say you're in gaun thanh know bay and you've expressed views there. say you were picked off a battlefield and you have nothing to do with anything and you're innocent and get tortured. that becomes a punishment, doesn't it? >> no. it doesn't become punishment. it becomes torture. we have laws against torture. the constitution doesn't address torture. it addresses punishment, which means punishment for crimes. >> what if you're an innocent person being waterboarded? >> i'll not for it, but i don't think the constitution says anything about it. >> isn't that the problem, though, with the originalism? >> it's not the problem. it's aproblem of what does the constitution mean by cruel and unusual punishments. >> isn't it down to the supreme court to effectively give a more
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modern interpretation of the spirit of what that means? to adapt it to modern times. >> well, that's lovely. >> i know you don't think it is. why don't you think it is? >> well, i don't think it is because, look, the background principle of all of this is democracy. a self-governing people who decide the laws that will be applied to them. there are exceptions to that. those exceptions are contained in the constitution, mostly in the bill of rights. and you cannot read those exceptions as broadly as the current court desires to read them, thereby depriving americans of legitimate choices that the american people have never decided to take away from them. and that's what happens whenever you read punishments to mean torture. if you are sentenced to torture for a crime, yes, that is a crucial punishment. but the mere fact that somebody is tortured is unlawful under
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our statutes but the constitution happens not to address it, just as it does not address a lot of other horrible things. >> when you did the book being bryan, what did you argue most with justice scalia with? he's one. world's great arguers. i feel like we're just warming up. >> i love to argue. >> he's an intellectual giant, and we had no debates in this book. in the first book, we had four debates with a pro and con. in this book we had none. the biggest issue in the end, we almost had a debate about but he persuaded me not to, was whether a murderer can inherit, can a son, for example, murder his parents and move up his inheritance and still take whatever the property is from his parents, if the statute doesn't say anything about it? and we all feel that that's wrong, and i was at first of arguing that there should be an equitable exception and that we
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absolutely have to prevent a murderer from inheriting. what did you say in response to that? >> i said, if you're going to be serious about textualism, if the statute does not make ang an exception, it does not make an exception. and those states that hadn't made an exception amended their statutes. that's what happened. >> take a short break. when we come back, i want to ask you why you think burning the american flag should be allowed, even though personally you'd throw them all in jail. [ female announcer ] the best things in life are the real things. nature valley trail mix bars are made with real ingredients you can see. like whole roasted nuts, chewy granola, and real fruit. nature valley trail mix bars. 100% natural. 100% delicious.
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welcome back. my guest justice antonin scalia and bryan garner, co-authors of their book. why do you believe that people who burn the flag in america should be allowed to do so, yet you personally, if you had the chance, would send them all to jail? >> if i were king, i would not allow people to go about burning the american flag. however, we have a first amendment which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged, and it is addressed in particular to speech critical of the government. i mean, that was the main kind of speech that tyrants would seek to suppress.
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burning the flag is a form of expression. speech doesn't just mean written words or oral words. it could be semaphore. burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea, i hate the government, the government is unjustice, whatever. >> if you're not sure, then in the end, no one knows the constitution better than you do, doesn't it come down to your personal interpretation of the constitution? if it isn't clearcut, which it clearly isn't, you in the end have to make an opinion, don't you? >> well, forget this person has to be convicted by a jury of 12 people who unanimously have to find that he was inciting to riot. it's not all up to me. it would be up to me to say that there was not enough evidence for the jury to find that perhaps, but ultimately the right of jury trial is the protection. >> don't you think this example
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of speech and reading speech and a fair reading is including symbolic speech -- there's a lot of case law about that, of course -- but it's a good example of why we think strict construction is a bad idea. a lot of people think justice scalia is a strict constructionist when, in fact, he and i both believe -- >> what does that mean? >> well, it really means a narrow reading, a crabbed reading of statutory words or of constitutional words. and it's a kind of hyperliteralism, which we oppose. we like a fair reading of the statute, a fair reading of the words and in this case speech. >> well, let me take up the issue of speech. let's turn to political fund-raising, which at the moment, under your interpretation, i believe, of the constitution, you should be allowed to raise money as a political party, the problem as i see it and critics see it is there's no limitation to it. so now what you have are super
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pacs funded by billionaires effectively trying to buy elections. that cannot be what the founding fathers intended. thomas jefferson didn't sit there constructing something which was going to be abused in that kind of way. i do think it's been aabused. don't you? >> no. i think thomas jefferson would have said, the more speech the better. that's what the first amendment is all about. so long as the people know where the speech is coming from -- >> but it's not speech. i'm talking about money to back up the speech. >> you can't separate speech from the money that facilitates the speech. >> can't you? >> it's utterly impossible. could you tell newspaper publishers, you can only spend so much money in the publication of your newspaper? >> but that's different. >> would they not say, this is abridging my speech? >> but newspaper publishers aren't buying elections. the election of a president, as you know better than anybody else -- you've served under many of them -- is an incredibly important thing. >> newspapers --
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>> we shouldn't be susceptible to the highest bidder, should it? >> newspapers support candidates all the time. are you going to limit the amount of money they spend on that? surely not. >> do you think perhaps they should be? >> i certainly think not. as i think the framers thought, the more speech the better. now, you are entitled to know where the speech is coming from, you know, information as to who contributed what. that's something else. but whether they can speak is, i think, clear in the first amendment. >> is there any limit, in it your eyes, to freedom of speech? >> of course. >> what are the limitations, to you? >> i'm a textualist. what the provision reads is, congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. so they had in mind a particular freedom. what freedom of speech.
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the freedom of speech that was the right of englishmen at the time. >> what is the difference between speech about insurrection being unacceptable and speech as you're burning a flag? isn't that a form of insurrection? >> no. >> isn't it? >> to, no, no. that's just saying, we dislike the government. it's not urging people to take up arms against the government. that's something quite different. that's what i mean by speech urging insurrection. speech inciting to riot or inciting -- >> or shouting "fire" in a theater. what about that? >> one of the more complex things about you, justice scalia, which i think has an admired and criticized in equal measure, the case i would put to you i think is interesting where you dissented against something where i think common sense would have dictated the opposite. with maryland v craig, a young girl abused by a child abuser and she gave evidence by closed-circuit television and was not in court.
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the abuser argued that this was unconstitutional because of the confrontation clause, he should have been allowed to be face-to-face with his victim. what part of human decency or common sense says he should have the right to be face-to-face with his young girl victim? because you dissented against the supreme court. >> i did. >> you decided he should be allowed to. >> all legal will rules do not come out with a perfect sensible answer in every case. the confrontation clause, in some situations, does seem to be unnecessary. but there it is. and its meaning could not be clearer. you are entitled to be confronted with the witnesses against you. and simply watching the witness on a closed-circuit television -- >> even when the witness was a young girl who already was abused and is traumatized by what happened? >> what it says is what it says.
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>> do you go home at night when you dissent in that particular case, do you have misgivings about it on a personal level? or are you always able to divorce that, as you say, your legal responsibility to uphold the lesser of the constitution? >> i sleep very well at night knowing i'm doing what i'm supposed to do, which is to apply the constitution. i do not always like the result. very often i think the result is terrible. but that's not my job. i'm not king, and i haven't been charged with making the constitution come out right all the time. it's -- >> let's take another break. let's come back and talk about one of the most contentious supreme court decisions of all, roe v. wade. you had very strong opinions at the time. i suspect you have equally strong opinions today. we'll find out. 0ñ@ñfñ
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bac, with my special guests justice antonin scalia and his co-author bryan garner. let's turn to roe v. wade. you, justice scalia, had very strong opinions about this at the time. i know you do now. why are you so violently opposed to it? >> i wouldn't say violently. i'm a peaceful man. adamantly opposed. >> adamantly. >> adamantly. basically because the theory that was expounded to impose that decision is a theory that does not make any sense. namely, the theory of substantive due process. there's a due process clause in the constitution, which says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process. that is obviously a guarantee,
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not of life, not of liberty, not of property. you can be deprived of all of them, but not without due process. my court in recent years has invented what is called substantive due process by simply saying some liberties are so important that no process would suffice to take them away. and that was the theory used in roe versus wade. and it's a theory that is simply a lie. the world is divided into substance and procedures. >> should abortion be illegal in your eyes? >> should it be illegal? i don't have public views on what should be illegal and what shouldn't. i have public views on what the constitution prohibits and what it doesn't prohibit. >> but the constitution, when they framed it, they didn't even allow women the right to vote. they gave women no rights.
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>> come on. no rights? >> did they? >> of course. they were entitled to due process of law. >> all kinds of rights. >> you couldn't send them to prison without the same kind of trial a man would get. >> but, again, it comes back to changing times. the founding fathers would never have any reason at that time to consider a woman's right to keep a baby or to have an abortion. it wouldn't have even entered their minds, would it? >> i don't know why. why wouldn't it? >> because at the time -- >> they didn't have wives and daughters they cared about? >> they did, but it was not an issue that they would ever consider framing in the constitution. >> i don't -- >> women began to take charge in the last century of their lives and their rights and so on and began to fight for these. everybody believed that was the right thing to do, didn't they? i mean, why would you be instinctively against that? >> my view is, regardless of whether you think prohibiting abortion is good or whether you think prohibiting abortion is bad, regardless of how you come out on that, my only point is the constitution does not say
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anything about it. it leaves it up to democratic choice. some states prohibited it, some states didn't. what roe versus wade said was that no state can prohibit it. that is simply not in the constitution. it was one of those many things -- most things in the world -- left to democratic choice. and the court does not do democracy a favor when it takes an issue out of democratic choice simply because it thinks it should not be there. >> how do you as a conservative catholic, how do you not bring your personal sense of what is right and wrong to that kind of decision? because clearly, as a conservative catholic, you're going to be fundamentally against abortion. >> just as the pro choice people say the constitution prohibits the banning of abortion, so also the pro life people say the opposite.
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they say that the constitution requires the banning of abortion because you're denying someone life without due process of law. i reject that argument as well as i reject the other. the constitution said nothing about that, it's left to democratic choice. regardless of what my views as a catholic are, the constitution says nothing about it. >> what has been your hardest decision, do you think? >> my hardest? >> yeah. >> you don't want to low. >> i do want to know. >> no. it's the dullest case imaginable. there is no necessary correlation between the difficulty of a decision and its importance. some of the most insignificant cases have been the hardest. >> what has been the one that -- >> it would probably be a patent case. do you wachblt want me to really describe it? >> no. >> of course. >> all right. what has been in your view the most contentious? what's the one that most people ask you about? >> contentious? well, i guess the one that created the most waves of
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disagreement was bush versus gore. okay? that comes up all the time, and my usual response is, get over it. >> get over the possible corrupting of the american presidential system? justice scalia? >> look, my court didn't bring the case into the court. it was brought into the courts by al gore. he is the one who wanted courts to decide the question. when richard nixon thought that he had lost the election because of chicanery in chicago, he chose not to bring it into the courts. but al gore wanted the courts to decide it. so the only question in bush versus gore was whether the presidency would be decided by the florida supreme court or i the united states supreme court. that was the only question, and that's not a hard one.
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>> no regrets? >> oh, no regrets at all, especially since it's clear that the thing would have ended up the same way anyway. the press did extensive research into what would have happened if what al gore wanted done had been done county by county, and he would have lost anyway. >> when people say about you that you're this fantastic justice -- no one disputes that -- incredibly charismatic, you ask the most questions. >> i don't ask the most questions. that's not true. >> apparently someone has asked in the last 35 years, you hear the guy that asks the most questions. will >> i used to be. >> you ask more than justice thomas, right? >> that's a low bar. >> it's just a bit weird. the guy can join the supreme court and literally not ask any questions? >> that's not unusual. will thurgood marshall rarely asked any questions. in fact, a lot of them -- i was the first one who started asking a lot of questions. i appeared before the court once
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before i became also judge. i was serving in the justice department. and i got two questions the whole time of my argument. they both came from byron white. it was not at all unusual for justices not to ask questions. >> let's take another break. >> so leave clarence alone. >> in fairness to justice thomas, he has a principled reason. he told me in his interview, and this is all on the record, he does not ask questions because he thinks it's too cacophonous and he doesn't want to add to the cacophony. >> let's take a break and i'll get into you as a man. i want to know what makes you tick. >> that's scary. >> that's what i wanted it to be. >> announcer: you never know when, but thieves can steal your identity and turn your life upside down.
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back with justice scalia and bryan garner, the co-author of his book. i'm trying to decide what kind of man you are. are you a good colleague? how do you get along with our
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other supreme court justices? you must all be highly intelligent, very opinionated. are there clashes there? >> there are clashes on legal questions, but not personally. the press likes to paint us as nine scorpions in a bottle. that's just not the case at all. >> well, the big buzz at the moment is that you and justice roberts have had a parting of the ways, you've gone from being best buddies to warring enemies. >> who told you that? >> i think i read it in some of the papers. credible sources. >> you should not believe what is quoted in the newspapers because the information has been made up or given to the newspapers by somebody who was violating confidence, which means that person is not reliable. >> so you've had no falling out with justice roberts? >> no, i haven't had a falling out with justice roberts. >> loud words exchanged? >> no. >> best buddies? >> my best buddy on the court is ruth bader ginsberg. always has been.
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>> and yet you disagree with her on just about everything. >> just about everything. >> what do you like to do when you're not presiding in the supreme court? >> i like to play tennis and in my later years, since i'm circuit justice for the fifth circuit, i have gotten into hunting. so i do a lot of hunting of various animals. >> you've been hunting with dick cheney, haven't you? >> i did indeed. >> what was that like? you lived to tell the tale. >> dick cheney is a avery good wing shot. will >> humans or animals? >> ducks. >> you got into trouble over that. because they said there was a potential conflict in something you were presiding over. how carefully do you think -- before you accept an invitation to go hunting with dick cheney,
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how hard do you think about that as a potential conflict? >> well, in that cases, i had accepted the invitation long before the case that was the alleged source of the conflict was before the court. but -- and that was nothing. cheney was not personally the defendant. he was named because he was the head of the agencying that was the defendant. and justices have never recused themselves because they are friends with the named head of an agency. in fact, justices are friendly with a lot of heads of agencies and cabinet officers and whatnot. if we had to recuse ourselves every time one of our friends was named, even though his personal fortune was not at stake, we would not sit in a lot of cases. so that was a tempest in a teapot.
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>> when people say you are overtly political with some of your decisions, some critics do, how do you feel about that? does that annoy you? >> i usually don't read it. >> is this news to you? >> i think it's patently false. i mean, justice scalia has a record of deciding many cases that go against his personal predilections. the flag burning is just one example. but a good judge does that. a good judge will decide cases based on a governing text that goes against what the judge may think is wise policy. isn't that true? >> look, i have ruled against the government when republicans were in the administration, and i've ruled for the government when the democrats were in the -- i couldn't care less who the president is or what the administration is. >> do you think any of your colleagues act from a politically motivated manner? >> not a single one of them. >> i know you can't discuss anything in the last session,
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but a classic example would be the health care thing, some would say. >> i don't think any of my colleagues on any cases vote the way they do for political reasons. they vote the way they do because they have their own judicial philosophy, and they may have been selected by the democrats because they have that particular philosophy, or they may have been selected by the republicans because they have that particular judicial philosophy. but that is only to say that they are who they are and they vote on the basis of what their own view of the law brings them to believe. not at all because -- the court is not at all a political institution. not at all. not a single one of my colleagues. >> when you see justice roberts, chief justice roberts, getting criticized for being political, for being partisan, does it offend you that his integrity would be questioned liking that? >> it offends me that people point to the fact -- and they
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didn't used to be able to when david suter and john paul stevens were still on the court. they often voted with the appointees who were democratic appointees so that the 5-4 decisions always five republican appointees versus four democratic. now that they're off, it often does turn that way, but that is not because they are voting their politics. not because they're voting for the republicans or voting for the democrats. it's because they have been selected by the republicans or selected by the democrats precisely because of their judicial philosophy. so it should be no surprise that the five appointed by the republicans tend to have a certain judicial philosophy and the four appointed by the democrats tend to have a
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different one. i mean, that's what elections have been about for a long time. >> when you lose a -- or a case goes against what you would like it to go, what do you do? do you go have a few drinks? chill out? how do you deal with failure like that? because these are big deals. you're a supreme court judge. >> probably mutter something under my breath or something. but, i mean, you know, you play the hand you're dealt. that's all. and you can't take it personally. pf let. >> let aek's take a final break and come back and talk about family. i know you're a huge family man. you've been married a very long time to a long suffering woman, would you say? >> i would say so, yes. >> i'll find out just how long suffering in a moment. wooohooo....hahaahahaha! oh...there you go. wooohooo....hahaahahaha!
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>> back with justice scalia and bryan garner, co-author of "interpretation of legal texts." have you ever broken the law, justice scalia? >> have i ever broken the law? >> yeah. >> i have exceeded the speed limit on occasion. >> ever been caught?
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>> oh, yes. i've gotten tickets. none recently. >> that's it? that's the only criminal action in your life? >> yeah. i'm pretty much a law-abiding sort. >> i like the phrase "pretty much." it gives me somewhere to go. >> i'm a law-abiding sort. >> what is your guilty pleasure? >> my guilty pleasure? i don't have any guilty pleasures. how can it be pleasurable if it's guilty? >> i have plenty of guilty pleasures. >> no, you don't. >> i do. will everybody does. >> anything i shouldn't do? smoking? >> you've been married for how long? >> 52 years. >> an amazing marriage. nine children. >> yes. >> how many grandchildren? >> 33. >> amazing. what has been the secret of such a longstanding marriage, do you think? >> maureen made it very clear
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early on that if we split up i would get the children. >> we said before the break that possibly she was a long suffering wife. did you mean that? >> she has worked very hard. i have not gone after the dollar for most of my life so we didn't have a lot of money and she didn't have help at home raising that many kids without a nanny or without for many years even people to help with the housework was hard. she worked very hard. >> i ask this of all my guests. i don't see why you should get away with not answering it. how many times have you been properly in love in your life? >> properly in love? i think maureen is it. >> you struck gold. >> oh, yeah. >> will you ever retire? >> of course i'll retire.
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certainly i'll retire when i think i'm not doing as good a job as i used to. that will make me feel very bad. >> and as we sit here now, what would you say your greatest achievement has been as a supreme court justice? >> wow. i think i think despite the fact that not everybody agrees with it, i think the court pays more attention to text than it used to when i first came on the court. and i like to think that i've had something to do with that. i think the court uses much less legislative history than it used to in the past. in the '80s, 2/3 of the opinion would be discussion of the debates on the floor and the committee reports. and that doesn't happen anymore. if you want to talk about -- >> on that point, on the legislative history point, critics would say, hang on a second. you're such a constitution lift and go back to the way they frame the constitution and so on. they debated that. that is in its way legislative history, isn't it?
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>> what is, what is, what is? >> the framing of the constitution, amendments, so on. what's the difference really? >> i don't use the madison's notes as authoritative on the meaning of the constitution. i don't use that. i use the federalist papers but not because they were the writer of the federalist papers were present. one of them wasn't, john jay was not present at the framing. i used them because they were intelligent people at the time. and therefore, what they thought this language meant was likely what it meant. >> why do you have such faith in those politician of that time? these days if the current crop of politicians created some new constitution people wouldn't have the faith that young burning, the unflinching faith that you have. why are you so convinced that
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these guys over 200 years ago was so right? >> you have to read the federalist papers to answer that question. i don't think anybody in the current congress could write even one of those numbers. these men were very, very thoughtful. i true he believe that there are times in history when a genius burst forth at some part of the globe. like 2,000 b.c., in athens or florence for art. and i think one of those places was 18th century america for political science, you know. when madison said that he told the people assembled at the convention, gentlemen, we are assembled in the new science of government. nobody had done it before. they were brilliant men. >> wish we had a few of them
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now? >> i wish we had a few of them now. and i certainly do not favor tinkering with what they put together. >> justice scalia, it's been fascinating. >> thank you. i enjoyed talking to you. >> brian. congratulations. it's an amazing book. anyone that listened to that will want to read it. it is "a weighty term." fuel of humor as the interview has been. i think it will give people a much better understanding of what you're about. and i think you've helped bring that out, brian. i applaud you both. may you sell many books. >> thank you. >> and continue to preside for a very long time. >> thank you, sir. >> the world would be a lot less colorful without you. after the break, in a special, justice alaska district attorney -- justice scalia takes me on a tour of the supreme court and tells me about his favorite italian dish. [ male announcer ] break the grip of back or arthritis pain
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tonight, justice scalia took me on a walk and talk tour of the supreme court. we talked presidents and pastor. so we're now in the bowels of the supreme court. >> the bowels, do you have to say -- >> do you still get a little thrill when you come in? >> no, i've gotten used to it by now. it's a nice place to work.
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>> who's been the most impressive president for you personally? >> most -- what, in history? in -- >> no, no -- >> in my lifetime or what? >> in your lifetime, yeah. >> i guess ronald reagan. i mean, i'll be an ingrate if i didn't say ronald reagan. >> what made him special, do you think? >> he had a way of -- he was the great communicator. he had a real way of making important and complex ideas comprehensible to the people. >> did he -- did he give you any advice? >> no. >> did he make any requests? >> no. >> did he say anything? >> no. >> would you tell me if he had? >> he almost got my name right. when we went out to the press room in the white house and one of reagan's aides says to me, "well, we think -- we think he'll get scalia right.
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but we don't know about antonin." sure enough, i think he messed up actually. >> you were the first italian -- >> i was. >> italian american. the first italian to ever get to the supreme court. [ applause ] >> yeah. it was a big deal for me. i got an enormous amount of mail afterwards. >> did you ever have to pay for a bowl of spaghetti bolognese in new york? >> i have a lot of italian friends. >> when i put questions out on twitter, of all the serious ones, one popped out which is what is his favorite pasta dish. >> my favorite pasta dish? there is -- >> your wife does amazing macaroni. >> she does. she has really learned to cook very well. if i had to pick a favorite, there is a sicilian dish with sardines and fennel. you can buy it in a yellow can --


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