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© 2005 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is reprinted with permission from Legal Times, a publication of American Lawyer Media. (1-800-933-4317, email@example.com, www.legaltimes.biz).
By Tony Mauro, Legal Times, April 7, 2005.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is everywhere these days –- speaking on C-SPAN, flying off to conferences, and, coming soon, appearing as his very own bobblehead doll.
The Scalia doll is the latest in a series of highly prized, limited-edition dolls created by Green Bag, the irreverent law review published at George Mason University School of Law.
Subscribers to the law review are the only ones who get the dolls, though they have been known to draw bids of hundreds of dollars on eBay.
Since 2003, the law review has been turning out the bobbleheads, one justice at a time -- Chief Justice William Rehnquist first, then down the line of seniority to John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, and now Scalia.
Portrayed in ceramic serenity with spring-loaded heads, the dolls are replete with iconography specific to each justice. Resting at O'Connor's feet, for example, is a Hereford cow with the brand and earmark of the Lazy B Ranch, where she grew up.
For Scalia's doll, Green Bag editor and George Mason law professor Ross Davies resisted the urge to show Scalia hunting ducks, which probably would have been an unwelcome reminder of Scalia's ethical tangle last year over remaining in a case that involved duck-hunting partner and friend Vice President Dick Cheney.
Instead, Scalia is shown with a wolf, recalling Scalia's memorable line in his dissent in Morrison v. Olson, the 1988 decision that upheld the Independent Counsel law. In sapping the powers of the executive branch, Scalia wrote, the law was unlike a wolf in sheep's clothing. "This wolf comes as a wolf," Scalia wrote.
Scalia is shown standing atop the second edition of Webster's New International Dictionary, which he cites in his opinions, even though it was succeeded by a third edition in 1961. He is also accompanied by a skewered lemon, symbolizing Scalia's disdain for the so-called Lemon test for assessing establishment clause violations.
As is customary, the first Scalia doll available from the factory in China was placed in Scalia's chambers at the Court on April 1 -- April Fool's Day -- by an unnamed intermediary. Past justices, by and large, have liked their dolls, Davies says, and he reports that Scalia likes his.
But Scalia has not stuck around to savor the doll. The 69-year-old justice is on the speaking circuit again, which is nothing new, except that he seems more open about it, and more ready to mix it up with friends and adversaries in public.
On April 21, for example, Scalia will have a public conversation with Justices Stephen Breyer and Sandra Day O'Connor at the National Archives, an event moderated by Tim Russert of NBC's "Meet the Press." In January at American University, before C-SPAN cameras, Scalia and Breyer debated the use of international law in Supreme Court jurisprudence.
Scalia vigorously opposes the invocation of international law, but apparently not so strongly that he is passing up a chance to discuss international law in Rome in May. He'll speak before the first meeting of the National Italian American Foundation's Institute for International Law, created last year to forge ties between American and Italian lawyers and judges. "We're delighted he is coming," says institute chairman Frank Razzano, a partner at Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky in Washington, D.C.
So why is Scalia doing all this public speaking? Friends say it is not a campaign for higher office -- namely, the position of chief justice, should Rehnquist leave the post. But they offer few alternative theories. One might be that since he has not succeeded in persuading a majority of justices on some of his most heartfelt beliefs, Scalia is trying, at least, to get his message out to the masses. He also may be making amends for an episode last year when federal marshals, believing they were carrying out his wishes, ordered reporters to erase tape recordings of a speech Scalia gave in Mississippi. Scalia apologized.
Another possibility is that all the commentary suggesting he rubs people -- including fellow justices -- the wrong way is getting to him. One unfriendly theory about why Bush might appoint Scalia as chief justice is that it would have a bench-clearing effect -- leading numerous other justices to resign rather than work under Scalia's leadership, and giving Bush more seats to fill. "As much as I love him, he's not good in the sandbox," said Cardozo School of Law professor Marci Hamilton of Scalia at a recent conference.
By showing his face more, some speculate, Scalia may smooth the rough edges of his image. The problem with that theory is that in some of his C-SPAN appearances, Scalia appears as truculent as ever, unwilling to yield even an inch to adversaries on issues of original intent and the "living constitution."
And television cameras are unforgiving in another way -- they preserve mistakes forever. At a March 14 event at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Scalia mangled the names of two Supreme Court precedents in the space of three minutes, with C-SPAN cameras whirring. He cited the gay rights case of "Romer v. Colorado," which is actually Romer v. Evans, and then referred to "BMW v. Bush -- not the Bush you think." The name of the case was actually BMW v. Gore -- not the Gore you might think, but one Ira Gore Jr.