Scalia's Humor

As I’m not that important, my Scalia memory is minor by comparison to others. But I wanted to share anyway.

Justice Scalia was one of the judges for the Boston College Law School moot court competition in 1999 (?). Our problem was a failing school district that had initiated both a school voucher program and a pilot single-sex public girls’ school. When the poor student arguing the case began to speak Scalia interrupted with a series of “questions” on the single sex school portion:

Scalia: You want us to apply intermediate scrutiny?
Student: Yes, I..
Scalia: Can you identify any case prior to U.S. v. Virginia (VMI case) where we used that standard?
Student: No, Justice Scalia, I…
Scalia: So you’re saying that Justice Ginsburg just made it up?
Student: Uh, I…
Scalia: Is it your position then that Justice Ginsburg completely invented this test out of thin air and it had no basis in this Court’s jurisprudence?
Student: I…
Scalia: Are you suggesting that U.S. v. Virginia was a lawless decision?
Student: Uh… (increasingly flustered)

This debate between Scalia and Ginsburg went on for an agonizing (for the student), hilarious (for the rest of us) couple of minutes before Scalia broke character, laughed and gave the poor kid his time back.

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