Video at Expose the Left.
James Joyner at OTB: More AP lies in Scalia/AEI story
Reader KT e-mails:
I was at AEI yesterday and saw Scalia speak and was, I am not sure you could call it heckled and I thought of your book. First, Justice Scalia was excellent, especially on the main issue, using foreign law to inform Supreme Court decisions. He said he used it too, but it was very old foreign law from England that informed the writing of the Constitution.
However, most notable was the array of student questioners without questions. I counted a dozen at least. “I hear Dick Cheney’s not such a great shot.” “You want to impose your view of natural law on me.” “Quail err quail…” “Illegal war in Iraq.” I was embarrassed for them. This is the young left. They can’t even make their leadership’s arguments or any argument for that matter. I thought I was sitting in a physical Daily Kos blog. We make their arguments better than they do it seems.
I was sitting with a group of teens/twenties perhaps, that at least had a few potential future liberals among them (I heard their conversation before hand) but seemed pretty clean cut and did not engage in this behavior. One kid’s ID said “Aspen Institute” but he was talking like Al Gore to his friend. However, the young lady sitting next to me leaned over after about ten minutes of her fellow youth’s non sequiturs and said that she was embarrassed by it. Perhaps some of those young folks might rethink their political course. I think the lesson is that if you sound like an idiot, people are going to catch on and not follow you and that a certain amount of respect and decorum goes a long way. More people my age (34) and older (and some younger) in that room got a real glimpse at what is out there on the left and it is pretty vacant or as you might say, “unhinged.”
As for Scalia, he put up with it but it clearly irritated him the way a college professor get irritated when his students ask inane questions.
Reader Mark D. writes:
First, as for myself, I’m a lawyer and I watched on C-Span the Scalia presentation on the use of foreign precedent by US Courts.
No news reports that I have seen addressed the substance of Scalia’s remarks.
Secondly, many of the “questions” were beyond unfriendly or hostile; they either weren’t questions at all, but statements of political position, or they were ignorant, or both.
An informed hostile question would have been interesting. But, Scalia was confronted with invincible ignorance. It was an absolute embarrassment that these people (and there were several, not just the one who was ejected from the proceedings) would display their ignorance for all the world to see, and present that ignorance with the demand that intelligent, civilized people should engage with it. It seems that some people have lost the capacity to engage in rational discourse, even in a setting as benign as an AEI forum.
The audience statements were also incredibly rude, and rude to a Supreme Court Justice, a man of intelligence and accomplishment, a man who is willing to state on the record the principles that guide his work and who is willing to discuss and defend those principles, and a man of unimpeachable personal integrity. His “questioners” addressed him as if he was dirt, a rag of a man, someone to be spat upon. It was this quality to the proceedings that was disgusting, the assumption of superiority by people who were so obviously ignorant of the subject matter while simultaneously lacking any awareness of their own ignorance.
Rather than attending such a session to learn about the issues, these people attended to abuse both the speaker and other attendees, persuaded of their own righteousness. I don’t know what frightened me most: their imposing ignorance or their presumptuous rudeness.