U.S. Supreme Court

Rift? What Rift? Scalia Says There Was No Falling Out with the Chief Justice


Justice Antonin Scalia says the Supreme Court clashes on legal questions, but there is no personal animosity. And there is no rift with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

In an interview on Wednesday evening, Scalia denied reports of a falling out with Roberts over the Supreme Court’s health care ruling. The Associated Press, CNN, Bloomberg and Politico have reports of the interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight.

“No, I haven’t had a falling out with Justice Roberts,” Scalia said.

“Loud words exchanged, slamming of doors?” Piers Morgan asked.

“No, no, nothing like that,” Scalia said.

Reports of dissension between Roberts and the other conservatives emerged after Roberts wrote an opinion upholding the health care law’s insurance mandate under Congress’ taxing power. Scalia and the other conservatives wrote an unusual unsigned dissent that agreed with Roberts on some points but did not concur in any parts of his opinion. A report by CBS News cited unidentified sources who said Roberts had switched his position, and the dissent was intended to send a message to Roberts.

Scalia told Piers Morgan that reports about internal deliberations are unreliable. “You should not believe what you read about the court in the newspapers because the information has either been made up or given to the newspapers by somebody who is violating the confidence, which means that person is not reliable,” he said.

“There are clashes on legal questions but not personally,” Scalia said of the court. “The press likes to paint us as nine scorpions in a bottle. That’s just not the case.”

Scalia isn’t the only justice downplaying reports of a rift. Justices who spoke to the National Law Journal on the condition of anonymity said divisions over the health care law aren’t likely to last into the next term. “My guess is we’ll come back in the fall and have the opening conference and it will be almost the same,” one justice told the publication. “I would be very surprised if it’s otherwise.”

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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