Antonin Scalia was about 12 minutes into the latest phase of his recent charm offensive yesterday when he briefly returned to type. The famously acerbic Supreme Court justice was making a nuanced point about his disagreement with the notion of “substantive due process” when he paused and frowned at some photographers in the aisle. “Could we stop the cameras?” he directed. “I thought I announced a couple of shots at the beginning is fine, but click, click, click, click, click.” Still, it was a kinder, gentler Scalia who took questions from scholars at the Woodrow Wilson center, reports the Washington Post.
The extraordinarily private justice has in the past banned cameras from his speeches and was moved to apologize after reporters’ tapes were confiscated at one lecture. He does not allow his speeches to be posted on the Supreme Court’s Web site along with the other justices’ addresses. But lately Scalia has been stepping, squinting and blinking, into the public glare. One possibility for Scalia’s conversion: a looming vacancy in the office of chief justice. The current officeholder, William H. Rehnquist, is gravely ill, and President Bush is on record praising Scalia as one of his favorite jurists.