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Justice Scalia says ‘not a chance’ to cameras

In a rare interview, the Supreme Court judge talks about TV coverage of legal cases, the confirmation process and the changing court.
/ Source: TODAY

While Washington continues to grapple with the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo got a rare interview with the current justice most conservatives hope Miers will emulate — Justice Antonin Scalia. Bartiromo began the interview by asking Justice Scalia how the Roberts court will be different than the Rehnquist court.

Maria Bartiromo: There hasn't been a change in the Supreme Court in 11 years. There will be less predictability in terms of what your new colleagues think and how they'll vote on issues.

Justice Antonin Scalia: Oh I’m not sure there was a whole lot of predictability before. Were you able to call the cases? I wasn't. [Laughs]

Bartiromo: Tell me how things will change.

Justice Scalia: It always changes. Have you ever been on a committee of nine people, and even when one of them changes, it's a whole new chemistry — seems like the whole group is different.

Bartiromo: Is that refreshing for you?

Justice Scalia: Sure, it's refreshing to have some new faces. I'll miss some of the old ones. I'll miss Sandra Day O’Connor. If there's anyone who's been the social glue of the court it's been Sandra, and I will miss her.

Bartiromo: You were confirmed by the Senate by 98 to 0. Are you concerned that the Supreme Court nomination process has become too politicized? Could you be confirmed today?

Justice Scalia: I don't know, but I wouldn't want to go through it today [laughs]. I’ll tell you that much. It has become politicized. But the reason it has become politicized is that the Supreme Court has been making more and more political decisions that are really not resolved by the Constitution at all. It took a while for the public to figure out what was going on. I think what has happened is that everybody now understands that courts can make tremendously significant social decisions — whether there should be same sex marriage, whether there should be a right to die, whether there should be a right to abortion, all of those things. None of which, you know, to tell the truth, was covered by the Constitution, but the court can say it is and that gives the court a good deal of political power.

Bartiromo: Justice Roberts really heralds in a new era for the court. Do you think that the rules will change allowing television cameras in the court?

Justice Scalia: Not a chance, because we don't want to become entertainment. I think there's something sick about making entertainment about real people's legal problems. I don't like it in the lower courts and I don't particularly like it in the Supreme Court.