But it's one thing to make comments from the bench, vile as Scalia's can often be, and quite another to make them in other forums while the case is still pending. But then Scalia surely has had his takedown of the Voting Rights Act written in his head for decades.
His latest remarks were made Monday to students at the University of California's Washington Center in D.C. According to The Wall Street Journal, he told them that:
[P]rovisions of the Voting Rights Act had evolved from an emergency response to racial discrimination in 1965 to an "embedded" form of "racial preferment" that would likely continue indefinitely unless the court acts to end them.While that's not really different than what he said in February, Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog wrote that he found it "pretty remarkable that he’d make these comments off the bench while Shelby County remains pending." Hasen later discovered Scalia was giving away how he'll decide in another pending case as well.
The folks at the Alliance for Justice are more than appalled not just at Scalia's off-the-bench comments about the Voting Rights Act but also other remarks he made at the Washington Center arguing against protection of minorities by comparing them to "child abusers." Said the alliance:
There is one crucial difference between making such callous, insensitive remarks during oral argument and making such callous, insensitive remarks elsewhere while the case is pending: judicial ethics.With 31 years on the bench, Scalia has developed his very own code of conduct with which to perpetuate his personal entitlement. Perhaps trying to rein him in would encourage him to resign and write a book or two about how he and his remora named Clarence Thomas should get more respect. Then he can deliver all the off-the-bench outrages he wants without their being enshrined as judicial precedent.
We have long argued that the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, which applies to all other federal judges, should apply to Supreme Court Justices as well.