tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC February 20, 2016 7:00am-9:01am PST
well, good day. and our coverage for the next few hours will be centered upon the northeast corner of washington, d.c., an extraordinary structure, one of the largest of its kind in the world. the basilica of the national shrine of the immaculate conception. it's on the campus of catholic university, last in the news, when the pope said mass there in september. today it will be a gathering of so much of official washington, members of a large and sprawling family, as the nation will remember and lay to rest associate justice of the supreme court, antonin scalia. we're outside the court. pete we have yet to have a chance to have a conversation since word arrived of the death of easily one of the most impactful justices of the modern era of the court. curious as to your thoughts today and describe the day
itself. >> a jumble of thoughts today, brian. this will be a well attended funeral. we expect about 4,000 people to come to the funeral today. an astonishing number of people came to the court building yesterday, more than 6,000 people ended up coming into the supreme court building to file past justice scalia casket. many waited in lines for two-and-a-half or three hours. the line went from the front of the supreme court, wrapped around the side and then went three more blocks down east capitol street, as the supreme court is just across the street from the u.s. capitol. to get a chance to do what you're seeing right now, which is to file past the casket. yesterday was that kind of symbolic day. this lying in repose has only been done seven times in the supreme court history.
today is a very different day. today is a day to look at another side of antonin scalia. we have talked a lot over the past week about his judicial career. this is about his spiritual life. we're going to hear from his son, paul, who is a catholic priest here in northern virginia, who will celebrate the mass is the right term. will in essence lead the ceremony today. also hear from someone whose voice is silent during the supreme court argument. one of the other catholics on the supreme court. he will do a reading today, as will a very close friend of justice scalia, be leonard leo, who is the executive vice president of the federalist society, the conservatively oriented legal group that justice scalia helped to found to in essence create a kind of greenhouse for growing future conservatives. and it's been sort of an intellectual side of justice
scalia, as well. this will be a traditional mass. it will last the normal amount of time here. one departure from perhaps the normal way things are done here is isn't usually a homily. there isn't usually much discussion about the secular life of a person at a funeral mass. because the emphasis is supposed to be on spirituality. but we will hear a homily from paul scalia. so it will be a -- mostly spiritual day here, brian. i want to say one other thing here. yesterday, there was that huge gathering of justice scalia's former clerks, the two columns of people through which the casket came as it was brought into the court. many of them will be here today. and i heard an interesting anecdote from one of them. and i think reflects a lot on justice scalia. this clerk said that he actually applied for a job with scalia, who turned him down. so he ended up getting a position with another supreme court clerk, but he said after a few weeks, scalia kept coming up to him and saying, "hey, can you
take a look at this and medical me what you think, maybe write me a note" and finally the clerk says to justice scalia. you know, mr. justice, i applied for a job with you and you didn't hire me so maybe you should get somebody else to do this for you. and he said about a week later, a gift-wrapped package came. he opened it up and inside was a signed picture of antonin scalia who said, "if i never made any mistakes, i would have hired you as a clerk." >> wow, that's a great story. and pete, you have covered the court for us for so many years. people may not know that among the veterans who cover the court, there are opportunities to be around the justices, to visit with them, to talk to them on and off the record basis. and i'm curious. we've all been reading different accounts of what kind of guy he was. how do you answer when asked that very same question.
>> reporter: a person who was extremely bright, who could sometimes be a little prickly, but most of all, had a great sense of humor. and really liked the kind of hand to hand intellectual combat. he liked to talk about things. he liked to mix it up with people. he did not simply surround himself with people who agreed with him. he sometimes chose audiences like the aclu, for example, in which he knew he would get questions challenging his judicial philosophy. and he gave as good as he got. and he really loved that. and his son has written an op-ed in the "post," today, one of his nine children, reflecting on what it was like to grow up with him. and he said the dinner table conversation was just like that. that you would start out trying to have a serious conversation about something, and you couldn't do it, he said, because his dad kept making jokes. >> and carried that on. i just heard paul clement, so lis
lister general and former clerk who said there were more interruptions in the written account of scalia's oral arguments that said laughter than any other justice in the modern era. >> reporter: that's actually been studied. just about everything about the supreme court, some law student somewhere or law professor, has studied and they have actually gone through methodically with computer programs and algorithms to figure that out. you know, i think that sort of sometimes irritated the chief justices of who he served that things got off track. he loved it. i think he was well aware that he was playing to the gallery, in addition to his fellow justices. and it didn't hurt from time to time when you were in these weighty sometimes rather dry subjects, if you were discussing a tax case or maybe the future of the earned income retired security act and footnote 17 in a statute to have a little lefty. he loved that.
>> the court, pete, as no one needs to remind you, is one of the last mysteries in american public life, even in our new electronic era of what is supposed to be transparency. we saw them yesterday. scalia's death leaves eight of the nine. scalia himself always said that, you know, there are no enemies on this court, unlike pastor rahs, where you had justices who weren't speaking to each other while serving on the same court. there are no enemies here. contrary to that, there were deep friendships that justice scalia enjoyed on this court. just your power of observation, and knowing the justices as you do, what is this death going to do to this group of surviving eight? >> reporter: this is going to be disorienting to them. there is an expression that any time there is a new justice, it's a new court. and to some extent, i think you could say that in the negative,
as well. the previous relationships that existed will continue. but this will be a blow to the justices and the way they have come to expect this court to operate. they know that there has been a change. they know another one is coming. and it's symbolically interesting, i think. we learned yesterday -- we saw that picture, you may recall, that the supreme court has throughout 100 years or so does this tradition of when a justice who is on the bench dies, there is a black drapery hung on the seat where they sat and on the bench in front of where they sat. and you may be looking at a picture of that now. what we're told is, when the court takes the bench again, that's where justice scalia sat. he was just to the right, as we look at it, to the left, of the chief justice, because the most senior associate justice. and that's the way they sit on the supreme court, sort of going back and forth in seniority. that is going to remain there for a month. the justices will come back to the bench on monday. that's when their midwinter
break ends and they're now in head-long rush to finish this term by the end of june. so it's symbolically shows what a gap there will be on the court. but it also reflects the deeper fact that now this court has to get along with eight justices. this has happened throughout history. the last time this went on for a long time was back during the reagan administration when there's a gap of something like 237 days when without a full court. so this is not unprecedented. but it is disorienting. and we're going to have to see what it will do for the cases that would have been closely decided by 5-4 votes with him in the majority. now the court has a choice. will they just issue tie decisions? will they postpone those cases for the next term? those are the sort of questions now that we face. >> and justice scalia, pete, would probably not mind us observing that in his absence, looking at that bunting at his place. some lawyers will get a little bit further into their oral arguments and presentation
before getting interrupted. >> reporter: well, that's probably true. although, you know, there were some close competitors on this bench for people who asked a lot of questions. sonia sotomayor has picked up that mantle, as well. she asked a lot of questions in oral argument. the only one who doesn't is famously justice thomas. he has gone ten years now without asking a single question in oral argument. he doesn't think it helps to under the case. that's why i say it will be somewhat unusual for people to hear him speak. he will be doing a reading from scripture today at this funeral mass. >> pete williams, who covers the court for us on this history-making day. a day none of us will forget, especially those of us who follow the court and the long tenure of associate justice antonin scalia. chris jansing joins pete outside the basilica. and chris, we're just allowed to
see these live pictures, a camera in the rear of the basilica, as i said, for people who find these confines looking familiar. it's likely because we were -- our cameras were there in september. the visit of the pope, justice scalia, of course, was a religious catholic, very spiritual man. very religious man. and for those who missed it, his son, father paul scalia, will be officiating. >> reporter: and prbrian, he certainly could have had a cardinal, he could have had a high-ranking bishop, but it is his son who will do a traditional post vatican ii mass in english. but he was a devout catholic who every sunday usually went to one of two latin masses that are still said in this area, either at a church near his home in virginia, and one that he went to on and off for many years in chinatown. chinatown has now undergone as
much of the city of d.c. has, a renaissan renaissance. they have a lot of shops, and they have the major centers there. that was not the case when he started going there. and i think when you think about justice scalia and his devout catholicism, there are two things that come to mind. someone a story pete was telling, stories about his kids. one of them is that for years and years, as the nine children were growing up, they were not allowed to wear, as they called them, blue jeans to school. it caused quite a lot of discussion over the dinner table there. and eventually, he relented. but he always said he wanted to instill very traditional values in his children who he said one of the great prides of his life was that they all still were catholic and mass-goers. the second is a story that was written in a paper by someone who for years went to church with justice scalia who said not only did he often go and have coffee and doughnuts afterwards,
but it was clear he was not happy with the choir at the church. the man who wrote this admitted he was a member of that choir, and in spite of their best efforts, were unable to improve what he admitted were perhaps not the best renditions of some catholic songs. and eventually, justice scalia was able to convince the pastor of that church to get rid of that choir and reinstitute it with another all-men's chorus, which, by the way, the writer of this story was a member of as well. but he said it was very indicative of justice scalia that whether in his personal life or on the bench, he liked nothing more than winning a good argument, brian. >> well, just as i don't think it was easy growing up scalia, we now know it wasn't easy singing for justice scalia. and, of course, it was justice ginsberg who said justice scalia didn't have a bad singing voice himself. >> reporter: a tenor.
>> i suppose this is a good time to kick off our discussion of this unlikely friendship between justices ginsberg and scalia. i think people have been so surprised to learn this over the years, because they are poles apart. they do represent different ideologies. but as people, not only are they forever linked in an opera, but as people, they truly enjoyed each other's company. >> reporter: in fact, you referenced an opera that actually was written about the two of them. and both of them like to quote. and they were both opera lovers and went to the opera together. this dates back to the time when they were both judges before they were on the supreme court. they also -- there's a famous photos of them when they were both riding elephants. and they spent -- their families were very close as well over the course of so many years. and always spent new year's eve together.
but when you want to look at the differences, it's not it hard to find any 5-4 case on the court in which they were different. and just last summer, when justice ginsberg very famously officiated at a gay wedding, people pointed out that her bff, as they like to laugh when they were called, had written about homosexuality about his moral feelings against, as he put it, homosexuality. i think, though, on this day when we are standing here, one of the things that both justices would love to hear is that somehow it would rub off that there would be the idea of listening to an opinion different than your own. which was something they both believed and have talked about assistancively. they feel made them better, better people, better justices. there was nothing that justice scalia liked better than a good argument. he changed the face of oral
arguments on the court, as well as doing some very impressive writing. some people have compared them to oliver wendell holmes. but all of that tied up in these personal relationships that you have when you spend 30 years on the court and some of it with other members like ruth bader ginsburg for decades, brian. >> chris jansing outside the steps of the shrine. and we should point out, for all the people who may be visiting washington, all of the people who are going to be outside for a time, where it looks like we're looking at 68 degrees later today. a spring-like day. another blessing for former associate justice antonin scalia. andrea mitchell is here with us in the studio. a person who has lived and worked and covered washington for so long. and andrea, listening to chris jansing talk about this unlikely friendship, it seems to me that he was so blindingly smart.
if you were smart, you could be friends. i think that would be much more important than any ideological difference. >> there are so many memories flooding over me, having covered his confirmation, watched him over these decades, knowing ruth bader ginsburg and some of the other justices. and going to the opera and seeing them socially. and that is the wonderful sauce that makes all of this work. and as we know politically, it's broken down a lot of ways in washington. but in the supreme court, remarkable relationships. martin ginsberg -- the late martin ginsberg, ruth bader ginsbu ginsburg's husband and the scalia's vacationed. that picture of the elephant was a trip. martin ginsberg was a wonderful cook, specialized in italian cuisine, wonderful for the scalias. and these friendships -- i noticed that as pete was describing the very moving ceremony yesterday at the
supreme court, walking up, the pall-bearers carrying the cassette past the clerks and you saw the spouses and their families. and i saw goody marshal, the widow of thurgood marshall, an elderly woman standing behind with the other members of the -- large family. one of my favorite recollections was written about the other day, that when -- in his first oral argument, justice scalia asked so many questions that justice powell turned to thurgood marshall and said, "do you think he knows that the rest of us are here?" >> wow. >> so this goes back a long way with them. and that recollection -- the writer who talked about the men's choir which now sings gregorian chants at the latin mass at saint mary's, our mother of god church in chinatown, he would linger and have coffee and doughnuts after the mass. and this writer -- the former
choir director recalled that he would often see him driving up, no marshall escort, parking on g street in chinatown, put on his tie in the mirror of his bmw and rushing into latin mass. this is someone who did not love ceremony. and was just very much part of the fabric. >> and as the conspiracy theorists picked up on immediately after word of his death at age 79 at a ranch in texas. let's fit in a break here of what we're here to cover really gets you said way at 11:00. but we want to get a sense of the arrivals of the church, it at the church we want to get a sense of the man, the justice, and becausis germane the politics of this death, this vacancy, the future of the court, and the obama administration. on a spring-like saturday, in the northeast corner of washington, d.c. we'll be right back. i have asthma...
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in northwest washington, d.c., the shrine. last part of a live television broadcast when pope francis said mass there. today, a sad gathering. we're expecting about 4,000 people. we will be hearing the voice of father paul scalia, one of justice scalia's nine children. notable, because justice scalia himself was an only child. certainly, a different experience for the scalia children than he himself had.
well-wishers, dignitaries, family members are filing in. and we will have live coverage of all it for you. andrea mitchell is here with us. andrea, he was very well-known, justice scalia was, for his dissents. i'm sure he would have traded a bunch of them in to be on the top of a 5-4 decision. politically, though, he was like a bellows for the fire of the conservative cause. his political impact will live for years. >> for generations, really. because the federalist society, which pete williams referred to, that was the incubator. and he was the leader, the teacher, who created this movement, really. and there's no other conservative jurist who created as much of a following and of a new philosophy of jury prudence.
he also changed the way they rely much less on legislative history on what congress intended. they are going back to, as he, you know, referred to the originalist theory. not strict constructionists, but originalist is his interpretation. in fact, there was a play last year called "the originalists" about scalia, with a liberal young clerk struggling with her professional and personal relationship, very successfully playing on arena stage in washington. and it makes you think, who else among those justices could be the subject of a theoretical experience of an original drama. but in terms of his influence on judges, when you think about even who is in contention, let's say, and on the short list, or longer list of president obama, if he does move toward a more conservative consensus candidate, nominee, it will be someone heavily influenced by
scalia's writings and teachings. >> i've always despised the word "clerk." its connotation is so lowly, and it's so counter to what the task of clerking at the supreme court or for any federal judge truly is. there is nothing menial about it. it is for the best and the brightest, newly minted law school students who scalia used to say he didn't want anyone antagonistic to his view, but he liked clerks that were on the other side who could hold him to account for his own opinions. clerking for the supreme court has almost always been a ticket to ride for a career in the law. >> absolutely. from white house counsels to federal judges, appeals court judges, presidential candidate right now, ted cruz, famously, you know, clerked for rehnquist,
and these are men and women who enjoy a lifetime in the law, but heavily influenced. and as pete williams was referring earlier, this is a large family. this is a life-long membership in that family. because they have annual reunions. they meet, they celebrate occasions sad and joyous. >> there we are looking at the lineup of the eight surviving justices of the supreme court. pete williams touched on this earlier. the court, of course, can function as a body of eight. it's not ideal, it's not optimal. but it looks like that will have to do. while the political debate goes on. and because politics is part of the backdrop, especially when you look at today on the calendar, we want to take a moment here before we switch to live coverage of the funeral mass. just to update you on the big event today, and that is the
primary going on in the state of south carolina, our friends mark halperin and john heilemann are standing by. obviously co hosts of the broadcast, with all due respect that airs here on msnbc. john, you first. because when we look through a political lens today, it's colored by this event, first off. and then tonight it's okay to engage in a conversation that's more purely political. and let's keep talking about the republican party and what you make of things going into election day. >> reporter: well, brian, it's been a very intense period here in south carolina, basically from the new hampshire primary onward. all the campaigns, really, hammering each other. south carolina is a state famous for down and dirty politics. there has been a lot of negative ads, a lot of negative mail and a lot of very vicious accusations on the campaign trail.
a little hard to say exactly what's going to happen. donald trump holds the lead in most polls. what will happen below him between ted cruz, marco rubio, in particular, and then with jeb bush looking like he's in fourth place right now, and what that would mean in south carolina. >> even always ask, why is south carolina known for this. why is it such a tough and at times dirty place to operate politically. what do you say? why? >> reporter: well, just the state and the region has a tradition of asking candidates maybe to talk less about policy, although there is certainly a lot of policy talk, and more to show that cannot so much throw a punch than take a punch. and why people think marco rubio has done well this week, he came down here, having stumbled pretty badly in new hampshire, and showed people he would come back. he's been hit hard this week. ted cruz has been hit particularly hard this week by both marco rubio and donald trump. and you're seeing there at the top of the heap those three who have been doing the best so far
in the polling and putting in a lot of effort here. you're seeing the kind of full contact sport engagement that befits a state that takes its politics and football seriously. and mark, beyond taking a punch and throwing one, some of them are just plain dirty. they are below the belt, and they -- some of the political charges in south carolina have been obscene over these past few cycles. >> reporter: over the last few cycles. the candidates themselves, they're tired and they're taking things personally now. this one has been patty cake. there may be some last-minute stuff today, but this has not been the kind of personal negative campaign that we have seen in the past. and i think justice scalia's passing may have played some role in that. i think you have seen since his death a seriousness on both sides of the campaign, as these candidates and a lot of voters recognize the stakes are very high. not just because of the question of who will nominate future justices over the next four years after president obama
leaves office, brian, but also the fact that there are big issues at play and justice scalia, whether you agreed with him or not, was one of the leading americans over the last quarter century in speaking out and saying ideas matter, public policy matters, all three branchs matter. >> jeb bush outside a polling place this morning. so much has been -- so much ink has been spilled over his campaign, his mother's visit to south carolina. jimmy kimmel compared their joint interview to a parent/teacher conference, the way it looked on camera, the former governor of california has taken off his ubiquitous glasses. he's now wearing lenses, he's trying to streamline his look a little bit, trying to infuse his life and certainly his political life with more energy. hey, john, one final question. and it's about justice scalia. maybe unanswerable, without the view of a couple before we get a couple years on us. but what did this supreme court
justice do to and for the republican party? >> well, i mean, look, you mean what scalia's legacy is, brian or in terms of the campaign right now? >> yeah. >> reporter: well, look, he was in many ways on the court the most outspoken proponent of the view of originalism, right? that the constitution is not a living, breathing document, but was something that was written by its framers that by the people who created the document and that we need to -- though the court should in scalia's view, have the original intentions of the framers. that view, as a piece of ideology is now the definitive view of all republican politicians and of all republican jurists. that was not the case 20 years ago. it was not the case 30 years ago. and any republican politician or any future republican president that we can foresee will have to -- will make a litmus test in some ways to that notion.
so scalia will have a huge impact going forward, because of the way in which he's embedded that idea into conservative ideology and into the spectrum of legal thinking that will shape the court going forward for decades. >> one of the best vocabularies, certainly, in television, john heilemann, thank you. mark halperin, thank you. and i'm aware i just made jeb bush, former governor of california, which he would find so interesting to hear. the former governor being that he is the former governor of florida. another break here, when we come back, we're getting more and more arrivals now as people take their seats prior to the funeral mass for justice antonin scalia. we'll have live coverage of that, of course, coming up in a half hour. vo: across america, people are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes with non-insulin victoza®. for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar. but it didn't get me to my goal.
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flanked, going up into the shrine of the immaculate conception. justice breyer arrived a few minutes ago. andrea mitchell is here with us in our new york studios. we're watching all of this for law buffs, history buffs, supreme court watchers. there is going to be a sea of recognizable faces. andrea, these are -- and the number of legal stars today who got their start as clerks to justice scalia is staggering. >> and these are people who are not only in the federal judiciary, but in influential positions in offices on the hill, in agencies throughout the federal government, to confirm jobs into the court's you saund
bush administration and previous administrations and a lack of confirmation in this administration. most of the judiciary really has been republican influence. >> there is justice thomas. we also just saw justice breyer to join us in this conversation. we will stay on the pictures that are live here for the next 20 or so minutes until we actually get under way. before the supreme court, he has taught up at harvard about the supreme court. most recently he is known for something called scotus blog and for fans of the supreme court,
it comes highly recommended. tom, thank you for being with us. dia lithwick, fans have listened to her podcast. she is a seniored editor at slate and has written and is spoken a lot about the man we remember today. and ken giasheeno from new york, nyuel school of law. and a specialist in anti discrimination law, among other fields. thank you all for being with us. tom, you getting to first. the influence of justice scalia on this court and on jurisprudence in general. >> you have to understand that when justice scalia became a judge and supreme court justice, there was a settled way almost of looking at the constitution that treated as a vibrant document that could change in its meaning that could be
adapted for anti discrimination purposes. and justice scalia had everyone step back and take another look at that. and was incredibly influential in reshaping how it is that many, many, many people read the constitution and also the laws that congress passes. it's astonishing. we've got hundreds of thousands of lawyers, you know, innumerable judges as well that this one voice could change the conversation so much. >> dia, as we look at ted cruz in the center of the picture there, we just saw retired justice john paul stevens taking his seat. you've spoken quite passionately about the role of antonin scalia, just the excitement, the intellectual back and forth he brought to the court. how he made a job like yours, covering and talking about the court so much more interesting and exciting. >> it's so true, brian. he really was on a court of people who tended to be, for a
long tile while i was covering it, fungible, gray-haired men with glasses and suddenly you had in the middle of it this physically huge kind of floor i had, very enthusiastic, exuberant. i think i described him in something i wrote this week, the only three dimensional jurist with sometimes only a two-world vi view. and in terms of the zingers he brought both to oral argument and to writing, he has no one, no one on the court that rivals him for that. we watch the arrival of justice samuel alito, a native of south jersey. scalia, of course, was born in trenton. but we associate him with queens, new york. he did most of his growing up there. at the time of his death, he was at a hunting lodge, of course, in texas. he spoke passionately about
hunting. he said it was part of his family history, especially on the sicilian side. he talked about an uncle who was always hunting. he had among his off-court passions, dalia, he was all in. whether it was music or food or red wine or conversation or travel, opera, specifically in the music category. and just so many people found him such an unlikely hunter. >> it's funny. the hunting story i think goes to how polarizing he could be. because if you think of the two i think foundational scalia hunting stories, one is, as you remember, he was out hunting with dick cheney while there was a case pending at the court that involved dick cheney. and there were calls for his recusal, and it was really i think a dramatic example of how he liked to pal around with people who were washington players. sometimes edging right up.
the flip of that, as soon as elena kagan was confirmed to the court, as we all know, he took her hunting. bridging barriers, reaching across ideologies. you know, he was sort of famous for both polarizing, i think, and en raging his opponents. but also as you're hearing over and over today. having this amazing ability to reach out across those boundaries and foster friendships where nobody would have expected them. >> i'm watching justice kennedy arrive. and dalia, for those of us who don't get to see the justices often, there's an occasional glimpse among those who choose to attend the state of the union, and there's an area where scalia was just down rite funny, talking about the state of the union and why he did not like to go in the modern era. we picture some of them back when they were nominated, as young men and women.
but maybe the ideological -- the ideological twin, but behavioral opposite of scalia is justice kennedy, who is constantly described as kind of courtly and conservative in his bearing and demeanor. >> i think that's absolutely right. i think that as circumspect and gentle as justice kennedy is, as careful about gravitas and the impression he gives off. i think scalia really revelled in being sort of the enfonte in the court. and as you'll recall in his dissent in the gay marriage case, he really, really reserved special vitriol for justice kennedy. went out of his way, not just to insult in his dissent justice kennedy's reasoning, but really went after him, calling it pretension and calling it akin
to fortune cookies. so it's always interesting to me that you can have two people who are more or less similar places on the conservative ideological spectrum, but such a vast distance, massive disparity, not just in temperament, but how they conducted themselves. >> ken, as i said, is also with us as justice ginsberg makes her way up the steps. counselor, do you think justice scalia is going to be better known for being on the losing end of, say, 5-4 decisions or his influence on cases where 5-4 prevailed in his favor? >> well, i actually think he'll be remembered for both. i mean, to build on what my two colleagues have said, justice scalia was incredibly tenacious about holding had toys philosophy. so he was in majorities in strange cases in the sense that
on the one hand, he wrote the majority in the heller case, which was the individual right to bear arms case in 2008, and is so that will have a huge legacy, it's already had a huge impact on the nation with regard to gun rights. on the other hand, as originalist methodology led him to take extremely quote, unquote, liberal cases in other cases. the crawford case, decided in 2004. the first said that detainees who are citizens had to be released and given a fair trial. he was in dissent in that case. but in the other case, the crawford case, he was in the majority, but also in a liberal vein, where he was saying the confrontation clause required a heightened standard for protection of criminal defendants. so in all of these cases, his originalism led him to different paths. and so i think that it's really that methodology that tom was talking about, that arcs over these cases and makes him influential in his dissents.
>> i have to take time out to talk to andrea mitchell. we were just watching the pictures of justice ginsberg come up the steps with a kerchief on, and not to criticize your town, but where motorcades end and security details have taken on comic dimensions, this giant of the law who i don't think cracks five feet in height, just an ordinary woman walking up the steps. >> and that is the way she lives her life. i've gotten to know her over the years as one would in washington. and she is -- she moves around, she gets to the opera, and sandra day o'connor always had their yoga and training classes at the court. they had an instructor come in. sandra day o'connor, by the way, amazingly vigorous over the years. and of course, the first woman whom i covered on the court when
she came for confirmation. and she was quoted, interestingly, in the last couple of days saying "get on with it." get on with nominating and confirming someone. >> i noted that. she is there today at this gathering. we have seen several of the justices, either inside or arriving. let's go back to tom goldstein. tom, the 8-8 court. a lot of people have said, well, how is this going to work? people who don't have the memory of it ever before. and isn't the short answer that cases that come before the court where it is a lower court decision getting decided upon, if it's a tie, indeed, 4-4, that case stands. >> that's right. the rule at the supreme court, if there is just an intractable tie, so that we've got four on each side, so we don't have a
majority, then the lower court decision stands. but there is a special tradition at the court for a situation like this one, where you have the possibility of adding a new member to the court. this is in the case where a justice is recused because they have a financial interest or a family member is involved or they're close to one of the litigants. we're just missing a justice. and when we're missing a justice, they hold the case and they will try and have it argued again when they get to nine. >> we're looking at pictures outside. there have been a report indeed confirmed that the -- hearse carrying the body of justice scalia has arrived and the complex of driveways, streets leading up to the shrine. again, this is part of the catholic university of america, northeast washington. a very, very dramatic scene when
the body arrived at the u.s. supreme court. with all of the former clerks, those who were able to make it to washington with all of the surviving justices there. in effect, to receive the body of antonin scalia. >> and brian, that's one of the senior members of the supreme court police who had walked in behind for a moment. >> okay. vice president biden is going to be attending. there was some kerfuffle over the president attending or not attending. and we should show you the picture of the president last night going from the working portion of the white house up to the residence.
and he was carrying an enormous binder. the press corps was informed that that indeed is the briefing book, the bulk of his weekend's work, choosing between candidates to become the obama administration's nominee to fill this vacancy on the court. the -- that has not always been the way presidents have decided. some presidents prefer an oral briefing. the bare minimum on paper. but remember, this president, like his wife, a harvard law graduate, very much immersed in the law, probably requested opinions and written forms of jurisprudence from all these people they are considering. and andrea mitchell, joe biden has given an interview where
he's talked about, you know, the likelihood of a fight and what would be an easier passage, in his view. >> and he is a former chairman of the judiciary committee that used to be his job to run these confirmations through. the possibility of a consensus nominee would be someone like jane kelly, originally from iowa, endorsed by now judiciary chairman grassley, confirmed in 2013, unanimously. so there are a number of potential federal judges and supreme court judges who have recently been confirmed and have a lot of support. and that would mean disappointing the democratic base, not going into the face of the republicans. but it would mean challenging mitch mcconnell and the republican leadership, which is already beginning to see some cracks in their rank and file of senators up for re-election in purple estates, republican senators who are anticipating
some pushback from their constituencies from independent voters and others if they hold off and don't even grant a hearing to an obama nominee. >> indeed, this name we'll be hearing so much more of, sr sri srinivasan, was passed in the senate. >> a unanimous confirmation in 2013. so this republican senate confirming him. he would be the first asian american put on the court. we know this president with sonia sotomayor loves the narrative, making history. and so that would be a noteworthy nominee. he is very well-liked among the justices, as well. >> let's bring in a man who got to know antonin scalia for very well and for over three decades, federal judge martin feldman. a district judge for the eastern district of louisiana. judge, it's good to see you
again. thank you for joining us today. and of all that you have read and heard about your friend, justice scalia, add something to the record that we ought to know about him in person, in private. what the person was like away from the bench. >> well, thanks for having me, brian. i -- it's hard to add to everything that has been said, because he was so well-known and so publicly well-known. and such a gigantic personality. but the man i knew for 33 years was a very kind and a very -- a man who was very conscious of not letting celebrity overcome him. he had no sense of celebrity.
his kindness never faltered. and i think that's something that the viewers might be interested to know, in addition to all the bombaste and the dissents and he had absolutely no sense of celebrity. and wasn't too crazy about people who he thought did have a feeling of celebrity. >> how did he deal -- you yourself as a federal judge for people who don't know, it's a lifetime appointment. federal judges receive security as they sometimes need protection, given the cases that come before them, and the decisions they come to. that is written large as one of nine on the supreme court, death penalty decisions, all that they deal with. how did he balance the crush of
business, very serious business, on the supreme court with his need, his demand for a private life, a vigorous private life, with many hobbies and interests? >> well, most of the time that i ever spent with justice scalia and his lovely wife, maureen, he would drive and there would be no security. occasionally if he had been at the supreme court and was coming to collect me to go to a meal, there would be -- it would be in a car that was driven by the court security. but more often than not, he would drive, there would be no security, and i have to say, maybe something that others don't know about him, he was a mad man behind the wheel. i used to tell him all of the time, please, neono, i don't want to ride with you, i have a weak heart. >> so let it -- for the record,
a federal judge has just accused justice scalia of being a -- i think a threat to society bheenbehind the wheel is not too strong a term. judge feldman, you yourself converted to catholicism. i did not know this until today. and when you did, justice scalia became your godfather? >> yes. >> tell us about that. >> well, to back up, i don't want to make this about me. this is his day, and his family's day. but i had been drawn to the church most of my life, and i simply eventually made official what had been unofficial most of my life. but nino knew it. nino and i would discuss religion and the church all of the time. he would send me books i think every c.s. lewis book i ever read. he was responsible for giving me. and when i finally decided about
ten years ago to officially convert, i called him, and i asked him if he would be my god matter. and his first words were, "maury, i'll be your god father, but i want you to know i've been working all my life to get into heaven and you're just going to slip in right ahead of me." >> and people have already said today's mass, because of the need for a large venue, it is being held at this very ornate place. and yet because this is a guy who didn't like a whole lot of fuss, it's kind of perfect that we will be hearing from his son, father paul scalia. >> well, i know father paul well. and like all of the scalia children, he is a wonderful, wonderful person. i mean, one of the children is a
military career officer. a bunch of successful lawyers. the daughters are just wonderful people. his youngest daughter is maybe one of my all-time favorites. paul is a very special -- very special priest. also, like his father, very accessible. i would spend many evenings at their house at dinner with paul and maureen and the justice and after dinner, we would go down stairs, just the three of us. paul, me and justice scalia. and we would drink whiskey and watch old western movies and have a cigar. and paul could keep up with the best of us. >> that sounds pretty great. and judge, isn't it correct, if my memory serves, one of the scalia children had the good
sense to marry somebody from louisiana? >> yes. john, the oldest, married someone from covington. i and a few other of his close friends happened to be honored to have been at the wedding. at st. joseph's abby in covington. >> let's -- with our thanks -- >> i'm sorry, i said john. i meant gene. >> oh, okay. the record is corrected. our thanks to federal judge martin feldman, who is going to -- as difficult as this is going to be for him, he's going to watch along with us. let's listen in on this moment taking place on the front steps. [ church bells ringing ]
the young priest who looks so much like his dad and speaks with that same precision is indeed the son of justice scalia, father paul scalia. he will be presiding. we are joined in the studio by father james martin, and from time to time to walk what may be a lane on catholic audience through this will be explaining what we see. and father, even though there is a cardinal present, the mass will be said by this priest, of course, the son of justice scalia. this was a procession to come to the front of the church, and meet the arriving body of justice scalia. >> that's right. these are the introductory rights. it's the same as in any catholic funeral and the sbrant went to the casket, plefd it and on the
casket was placed a wipe cloth. a child is given a paul or a white cloth at their baptism. and they're told, bring this garment unstained into the kingdom of heaven. so it links us with the baptism. and then the procession will come back to the front of the church where the casket will be placed. and then the funeral mass will start. >> father, thank you. we will only add our words to what you're seeing on the screen if something happens that is -- calls out for a description. but on a spring-like saturday, 4,000 people are inside the shrine in northeast washington to remember justice antonin scalia, died at age 79. ♪
personal and together with bishop paul laverty, the home of the scalia family. and mon senior rosci, the director of the national shrine of the immaculate conception. and express with all who are here to you, maureen, to your children, to all of your family, to you, father paul, who will be the principle celebrant at this liturgy, our heart felt sympathy at the loss of your husband, your father, your grandfather and friend. and pledge once again our prayers that god will grant him eternal rest. and you comfort in consolation. in keeping with your desire to have a simple parish family mass.
i will confine my remarks to these few words of greeting and welcome to the many, many people who are here in this magnificent basilica, simply to show their respect for the extraordinary man, justice antonin scalia. and to express their faith, their faith in god's abiding love and all embracing mercy. however, before proceeding with this welcome, i want to apologize for the condition of the center area in this basilica. the floor covering and the temporary seating arrangement the, as well concealed as they may be, are the result of a major project under way to complete the renovation and the final decoration of this great,
great basilica. the great dome is going to be faced in mosaic, and the preparation, as you can see, is already under way. and so i'm grateful for your understanding and your patience. it's a pleasure for me to welcome to this funeral liturgy, the apostolic to the united states and holy father, pope francis' personal representative. also, bishop paul laverty, bishop of arlington. my brother bishop's distinguished participants at this funeral, especially the honorable john roberts, chief justice of the united states. and the other justices of the supreme court. the vice president of the united states, joseph biden, former vice president, richard cheney. newt gingrich, former speaker of the house. president and mrs. john garvey
of the catholic university of america. and so many other distinguished guests here present. to my brother priests, deacons, women and men in consecrated life, brothers and sisters in the lord and friends all who have come here to show their respect. as i extend this warm welcome to each of you, i also express profound gratitude to all who are here. as i now ask justice scalia's son, father paul, to lead us in the church's lit urgency for him who has god has called to his eternal home. ♪ let us pray ♪ oh god whose nature is always
to forgive and to show mercy ♪ ♪ we humbly implore you for your servant antonin who you have called to journey to you ♪ ♪ and since he hoped and believed in you ♪ ♪ grant that he may be led to our true homeland ♪ ♪ to delight in its everlasting joys ♪ ♪ through our lord jesus christ your son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the holy spirit ♪ ♪ one god forever and ever ♪ amen
a reading from the book of wisdom. the souls of the just are in the hand of god. and no torment shall touch them. in the view of the foolish, to be dead. and their passing away was thought an affliction. and their going forth from us utter destruction. but they are in peace. for if before men indeed they be punished, yet is their hope full of immorality. chastised a little, they shall
be greatly blessed. because god tried them and found them worthy of himself. as gold in the furnace, he proved them. and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. in the time of their visitation, they shall shine. and shall dart about as sparks through stubble, they judge nations and rule over peoples. and their lord shall be king forever. those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love. because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect. the word of the lord.
st. paul to the romans. hope does not disappoint. because a the love of god has been poured out into our hearts through the holy spirit that has been given to us. for christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person. though perhaps for a good person, one might even find courage to die. but god proves his love for us in that while we were still centers, christ died for us. how much more, then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath?
indeed, if while we were enemies we were reconciled to god through the death of his son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life? not only that, but we also boast of god through our lord, jesus christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god. ♪
such has been your gracious will. all things have been handed over to me by my father. no one knows the son, except the father. and no one knows the father, except the son. and anyone to whom the son wishes to reveal him. come to me. all you who are labor and are burdened. and i will give you rest. take my yolk upon you, and learn from me. for i am meek and humble of heart. and you will find rest for yourselves. for my yolk is easy, and my burden light. the gospel of the lord.
distinguished guests, dear friends and faithful gathered. on behalf of our mother and the entire scalia family, i want to thank you for your presence here, for your many words of consolation and even more for the many prayers and masses you have offered at the death of our father, antonin scalia. in particular, i thank cardinal wherl for reach south so quickly and graciously to our mother. it was a consolation to her and therefore to us, as well. thank you also for allowing us to have this parish funeral mass here in this basilica, dedicated to our lady. what a great privilege and consolation that we were able to bring our father through the holy doors and for him gain the
indulgence promised to those who enter in faith. i thank bishop laverty of arlington, a shepherd our father liked and respected a great deal. thank you, bishop, for your prompt visit to our mother, for your words of consolation, for your prayers. the family will depart for the private burial immediately after mass and will not have time to visit. so i want to express our thanks at this time. so that you all know, our profound appreciation and thanks. you'll notice in the program a mention of a memorial that will be held on march 1st. we hope to see many of you there. we pray that the lord will reward your great goodness to us.
we are gathered here because of one man. a man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more, a man loved by many, scorned by others. a man known for great controversy and for great compassion. that man, of course, is jesus of nazareth. it is he whom we proclaim, jesus christ, son of the father, born of the virgin mary, crucified, buried, risen, seated at the right hand of the father. it is because of him, because of his life, death and resurrection, that we do not mourn as those who have no hope.
but in confidence we commend antonin scalia to the mercy of god. scripture says, "jesus christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." and that sets a good course for our thoughts and our prayers here today. in effect, we look in three directions. to yesterday in thanksgiving, to today in petition, and into eternity with hope. we look to jesus christ yesterday. that is, to the past, in thanksgiving for the blessings god bestowed upon dad. in the past week, many have recounted what dad did for them. but here, today, we recount what god did for dad.
how he blessed him. we give thanks, first of all, for the atoning death and life-giving resurrection of jesus christ. our lord died and rose not only for all of us, but also for each of us. and at this time, we look to that yesterday of his death and resurrection and we give thanks that he died and rose for dad. further, we give thanks that jesus brought him to new life in baptism, nourisheded him with the eucharist, and healed him in the confessional. we give thanks to jesus bestowed upon him 55 years of marriage. to the woman he loved. a woman who could match him at
every step. and even hold him accountable. god blessed dad with a deep catholic faith. the conviction that christ's presence and power continue in the world today through his body, the church. he loved the chairty and coherence of the church's teachings. he treasured the church's ceremonies, especially the beauty of her ancient worship. he trusted the power of her sacraments as the means of salvation, as christ working within him for his salvation. although one time, one saturday afternoon, he did scold me for having heard confessions that
afternoon, that same day. and i hope as some source of consolation, if there are any lawyers lawyers present. that the roman collar was not a shield against his criticism. it is not that i heard the confession but that i was in his confessional line. and he quickly departed it. and he acquitted it later by confessing to you. the feeling was mutual.
god bless dad as is well-known with a love for his country. he knew well what a close-run thing the founding of our nation was. and he saw in that founding, as did the founders themselves, a blessing. a blessing quickly lost when faith is banned from the public square or when we refuse to bring it there. so he understood there is no conflict between loving god and one's country. between one's faith and one's public service. dad understood that the deeper he went in his catholic faith the better a sit zcitizen he be because he was god's first.
we scalias, however, give thanks for a particular blessing god bestowed. god blessed dad with a love for his family. we have been thrilled to read and hear the many words of praise and admiration for him, his speeches and writings and so son. but more important to us and to him, because he was dad, he was the father that god gave us for the great adventure of family life. sure, he forgot our names at times or mixed them up, but there are nine of us. he loved us and sought to show that love. and sought to share the blessing
of the faith he treasured. and he gave us one another to have each other for support. that's the greatest wealth parents can bestow. and right now we are particularly grateful for it. so we look to the past to jesus christ yesterday. we called to mind all these blessings and we give our lord the honor and glory for them. for they are his work. we look to jesus today, to be present here and now, as we mourn the one that we love and admire, the one whose absence pains us. today we pray for him. we pray for the repose of his
soul. we thank god for his goodness to dad as is right and just, but we also know that although dad believed, he did so imperfectly like the rest of us. he tried to love god and neighbor, but like the rest of us, did so imperfectly. he was a practicing catholic. practicing in the sense that he hadn't perfected it yet. or rather, christ was not yet perfected in him. and only those to whom christ has brought perfection can enter heaven. we are here then to lend our prayers to that perfecting, to that final work of god's grace in freeing dad from every em
encombrance from sin. but don't take my word for it. dad writing years ago to a presbyterian minister whose funeral he admired, he summarized quite nicely the pitfalls of funerals and why he didn't like eulogies. he wrote, even when the deceased was an admirable person, indeed, especially when the deceased was an admirable person, praise for his virtues can cause us to forget that we are praying for and giving thanks for god's inexplicable mercy to a sinner. now he would not have exempted himself from that. we were here as he would want to pray for god's inexplicable mercy to a sinner, to this sinner, antonin scalia.
let us not show him a false love and allow our admiration to deprive him of our prayers. we continue to show affection for him and do good for him by praying for him. that all stain of sin be washed away. that all wounds be healed. that he be purified of all that is not christ. that he rest in peace. finally, we look to jesus forever into eternity. for better we consider our own place in eternity and whether it will be with the lord. even as we pray for dad to enter swiftly into eternal glory, we should be mindful of ourselves.
every funeral reminds us of just how thin the veil is between this world and the next, between time and eternity, between the opportunity for conversion and the moment of judgment. so we cannot depart here unchanged. it makes no sense to celebrate god's goodness and mercy to dad if we are not attentive and responsive to those realities in our own lives. we must allow this encounter we te we ternty to change us and to turn us to the lord. the english dominican father b. jarrett put it beautifully when he prayed, oh, strong son of god, while you prepare a place for us, prepare us, also, for
that happy place, that we may be with you and with those we love for all eternity. jesus christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. my dear friends, this is also the structure of the mass. the greatest prayer we can offer for dad, because it's not our prayer but the lord's. the mass looks to jesus yesterday. it reaches into the past, reaches into the last supper, to the crucifixion, to the resurrection, and it makes those mysteries and their power present here on this altar. jesus himself becomes present here today in the form of bread and wine so that we can unite all our prayers of thanksgiving,
god, the almighty father, raised christ, his son, from the dead. with confidence we ask him to save all his people living and dead. for antonin who in baptism was given the pledge of eternal life, that he may now be committed to the communion of the saints. we pray to the lord. >> lord, hear our prayer. >> for our brother antonin who ate the body of christ, the bread of life. that he may be raised up on the