When Antonin Scalia says the tone in Washington has gotten “nasty,” you know it’s bad.
As in really, really bad.
The U.S. Supreme Court justice, who’s been on the high court bench since 1986, has carved out a reputation for being one of the court’s surliest members. Decorum during oral arguments at times goes out the window when Justice Scalia gets going. As for the opinions he writes — whether for the majority or in dissent — Scalia unsheathes the poison pen on occasion.
“It’s a nasty time,” Scalia told The Hill, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill. “It’s a nasty time. When I was first in Washington, and even in my early years on this Court, I used to go to a lot of dinner parties at which there were people from both sides. Democrats, Republicans.”
Yes, it’s gotten nasty. Democrats are saying it, as are Republicans. They say they liked it better when everyone got along once they were off the clock. The old-timers in Washington remember a more collegial time.
It’s just interesting to me to hear Justice Scalia now call attention to the poisonous climate in Washington.
He spoke as the court begins its new term. I’ll be anxious to see what this new term brings from the outspoken and occasionally cantankerous justice. Maybe he’ll tone it down a bit himself.