scalia come and find me above the law.jpgLast week, we wrote about the Fordham law professor who assigned his information privacy law class to compile a dossier on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The professor had chosen Scalia as the target for privacy invasion because of the Justice’s remarks at a January conference organized by the Institute of American and Talmudic Law. Scalia’s views on the privacy of personal information online are summed up nicely by this quote:

“Every single datum about my life is private? That’s silly,” Scalia [said].

(And his views are summed up at greater length here by privacy expert and GW Law Professor Dan Solove.)

Professor Joel Reidenberg and his class now have a 15-page dossier on Scalia, including his home address, the value of his home, his home phone number, the movies he likes, his food preferences, his wife’s personal e-mail address, and “photos of his lovely grandchildren.”

We checked in with the Justice to see how he felt about his online information being aggregated and mined by the professor and his 15 students.

Scalia was far from pleased (though we were pleased that a Supreme Court Justice would honor Above The Law with a response). Check out his reply to us, after the jump.


Here is Justice Scalia’s response, in all its scathing glory:

I stand by my remark at the Institute of American and Talmudic Law conference that it is silly to think that every single datum about my life is private. I was referring, of course, to whether every single datum about my life deserves privacy protection in law.

It is not a rare phenomenon that what is legal may also be quite irresponsible. That appears in the First Amendment context all the time. What can be said often should not be said. Prof. Reidenberg’s exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any.

Reidenberg may have terrible judgment, but it’s fairly impressive he managed to get bench-slapped by One First Street from a classroom at Fordham Law School.

Earlier: What Fordham Knows About Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia’s Conception of Privacy [Concurring Opinions]

UPDATE: Dan Solove, who is one of the legal establishment’s foremost thinkers about privacy issues, has penned a response to this post over at Concurring Opinions: Justice Scalia’s Dossier: Interesting Issues about Privacy and Ethics.


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