What is going on with the distinguished members of the Supreme Court of the United States? One of the justices recently got caught shopping at Costco. Another just confessed to riding the bus — no, not the Metro, the bus.
Earlier this week, Justice Scalia dissented from the Court’s denial of certiorari in a very interesting Establishment Clause case, Elmbrook School District v. Doe. His dissent garnered media attention for the way he curmudgeonly railed against rock music (and got in a dig at Stravinsky).
But what jumped out at me was a different line in the opinion….
Some there are — many perhaps — who are offended by public displays of religion. Religion, they believe, is a personal matter; if it must be given external manifestation, that should not occur in public places where others may be offended. I can understand that attitude: It parallels my own toward the playing in public of rock music or Stravinsky. And I too am especially annoyed when the intrusion upon my inner peace occurs while I am part of a captive audience, as on a municipal bus or in the waiting room of a public agency.
Now, I could see some of the Court’s more liberal members taking mass transit for environmental reasons. But as we know from his environmental-law jurisprudence, Justice Scalia isn’t overly worried about his carbon footprint.
And what’s this business about Justice Scalia “in the waiting room of a public agency”? I have a hard time imagining the justice flipping through cert petitions while waiting to see a caseworker.
The only circumstance that I could come up with involving Justice Scalia waiting at a public agency features him going to the DMV after he turns 80 in order to take the vision test again (a non-delegable duty, since law clerks can’t take the eye exam for you). And perhaps he might take the bus to the DMV if his license has expired by then.
Elmbrook School District v. Doe: Dissent From Denial Of Certiorari [U.S. Supreme Court]
On religion issues, children are still different [SCOTUSblog]
Scalia: You Hate School Prayer, I Hate Rock Music (and Stravinsky) [Gawker]
Scalia, Shockingly, Hates Hearing Rock Music in Public [New York Magazine]
Does Justice Antonin Scalia hate rock music? [Washington Post]