The Kingdom of Antonin Scalia

Liza Batkin in The New Yorker:

In 1978, when Antonin Scalia was still a law professor at the University of Chicago, the American Enterprise Institute invited him to a panel called “An Imperial Judiciary: Fact or Myth?” On his side of the table was Laurence Silberman, who had been Richard Nixon’s Deputy Attorney General; across from them sat the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union and a Harvard Law professor. Within the previous several years, the Supreme Court had established the right to abortion and had upheld a lower court ruling that required schools to bus students from other districts as a remedy for segregation. The panel’s speakers were debating whether the judiciary had taken on an outsized role in public life and the political process.

“I am not particularly concerned about whether the courts put the crown on their own head in Napoleonic fashion or whether somebody else conferred it upon them,” Scalia said to the panel. “We can blame everybody: the Congress, the executive, and the courts. I do not care whom we blame, I just do not want the crown there.” The philosophy that he went on to develop as a professor and Justice took aim at broad, ambiguous, and flexible decrees that he thought let judges rule imperiously.

More here.