Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Nine ethicists or nine historians?

Quotable quotes from the Nino-Breyer Smackdown (I'm sure you can figure out who said what):

"The ideal rule for an honest judge is 'garbage in, garbage out.'"

"France is a country with 300 cheeses and 2 religions. America is a country with 2 cheeses and 300 religions."

"The 17th century was just terrible!"

"I never took a logic class."

Also: neutrality between religion and irreligion is an "excrescence," dissents are written for their "educational value," and death threats against the living constitution.

Throughout, Breyer was only slightly more revelatory than another liberal justice I've heard speak about the court's inner workings. He also claimed that he couldn't think of a single case in which his principles led him to decide in a way he found personally objectionable; Scalia gave what sounded like this case as an example, which was odd. Breyer's cell phone went off, to many guffaws. It was a huge crowd, and I was lucky enough to get a front-row seat thanks to a run-in with my old boss. Fun, even if the moderator did ask one (1!) audience-submitted question and tossed softballs for the rest of the time.
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