Antonin Scalia's time to sizzle: Immigration rhetoric in high gear at the high court
Aťs the Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about an Arizona immigration law, supporters of the crackdown set up an amp on the sidewalk in front of the court and belted out a tune:
We’ve got illegals in the backyard
It’s time we claimed our borders once again
I think Arizona’s great
Protecting citizens of that state
And I believe that all across this land
With Arizona we should take a stand.
The melody was weak and the lyrics weaker. But the protest anthem was noteworthy in one respect: In tone and substance, it was nearly identical to the argument Justice Antonin Scalia made inside the court.
While other justices at least attempted a veneer of fair and impartial questioning in the highly charged case, Scalia left no doubt from the start that he is a champion of the Arizona crackdown and that he would verbally lacerate anybody who felt otherwise.
When John Roberts became chief justice, he spoke about forging consensus and moving beyond 5-4 decisions, but the tone instead is being set by Scalia, the justice who crossed First Street Northeast last year to address a gathering of the congressional Tea Party Caucus.
During the immigration argument Wednesday, several justices were scrupulous about challenging both sides. ... Scalia wasn’t the only ill-tempered justice in the chamber. Samuel Alito rolled his eyes to the ceiling and shook his head in objection when two liberal justices spoke. And Sotomayor took a shot at the conservative justices when she referred to “those of us for whom legislative history has some importance.”