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U.S. Supreme Court

Scalia Worries Gifted Litigators Should Be Doing Something More Productive

Posted Oct 1, 2009 8:28 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Justice Antonin Scalia says most lawyers who appear before the U.S. Supreme Court are so brilliant that he worries they should be doing something more productive.

Scalia’s observation was made in an interview with C-Span, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. Scalia said he disagreed with former Chief Justice Warren Burger, who complained about the low quality of counsel.

“I used to have just the opposite reaction,” Scalia said, according to the Law Blog account. “I used to be disappointed that so many of the best minds in the country were being devoted to this enterprise.

“I mean there’d be a ... public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?

“I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table, and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.”

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