60 Minutes Interviews Justice Antonin Scalia , Public And Private Life
Here is an inside look at the Social Conservative, first Itailian Justice to the Supreme Court.
Who is his Best Friend on the Court? Justice Thomas who is a strict Constructionist? No! The video of the interview will tell you. You will be surprised. Nominated to the High Court by President Reagan, he is 72 years old. Justices retire at full salary, so why is he still working? Get to know one of the most controversial justices of our time.
Not many Supreme Court justices become famous, but Antonin Scalia is one of the few. Known as “Nino” to his friends and colleagues, he is one of the most brilliant and combative justices ever to sit on the court and one of the most prominent legal thinkers of his generation.
He first agreed to talk to 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl about a new book he’s written on how lawyers should address the court. But over the course of several conversations, our story grew into a full-fledged profile – his first major television interview – including discussions about abortion and Bush v. Gore.
At 72, Justice Scalia is still a maverick, championing a philosophy known as “orginalism,” which means interpreting the Constitution based on what it originally meant to the people who ratified it over 200 years ago.
Scalia has no patience with so-called activist judges, who create rights not in the Constitution – like a right to abortion – by interpreting the Constitution as a “living document” that adapts to changing values.
Asked what’s wrong with the living Constitution, Scalia tells Stahl, “What’s wrong with it is, it’s wonderful imagery and it puts me on the defensive as defending presumably a dead Constitution.”
“It is an enduring Constitution that I want to defend,” he says.
“But what you’re saying is, let’s try to figure out the mindset of people back 200 years ago? Right?” Stahl asks.
“Well, it isn’t the mindset. It’s what did the words mean to the people who ratified the Bill of Rights or who ratified the Constitution,” Scalia says.
“As opposed to what people today think it means,” Stahl asks.
“As opposed to what people today would like,” Scalia says.