10:22 am Jul. 19, 2012
Antonin Scalia is still good with John Roberts.
“No, I haven’t had a falling out with Justice Roberts,” Scalia told Piers Morgan last night, in a long sit-down to promote his new book about what the proper interpretation of the Constitution is.
Court observers have wondered just how contentious the internal deliberations became in the debate over President Obama's health care law last month. The dissent in the case, which was joined by Scalia, reads almost like a majority opinion—frequently referring to the other side as "the dissent"—suggesting that Roberts might have come late to his conclusion that the individual mandate was a permissible exercise of the federal government's taxing power.
While declining to say much about the case or the court's deliberations, Scalia said there were no heated arguments.
He was slightly more forthcoming when asked about campaign finance, defending the court's decision in Citizens United as a means of protecting free speech, that even the founding fathers would have endorsed.
“No, I think Thomas Jefferson would have said the more speech, the better,” Scalia said when asked whether Jefferson would have been alarmed by the level of influence it effectively gives to deep-pocketed interests. “That’s what the First Amendment is all about."
But he tacked on a proviso that may or may not be telling: "So long as the people know where the speech is coming from.”
The current rules allow for complex webs of contributions, often funneled through nonprofit groups that aren't required to disclose their donors, a system that some observers speculated the court might not have intended to establish with its decision. But last month the court declined a chance to revisit that decision in a Montana case that invalidated a longstanding state prohibition on corporate contributions.
Scalia said Bush v. Gore comes up in conversation more often than any other case, and shrugged off the idea that the election would have been decided any differently had a full recount been conducted. His basic message to people upset by the decision is, he said: "Get over it."