If you missed my Monday appearance on ABC's Q&A with Tony Jones, you can see it in full here. The other panelists were Guardian political editor Lenore Taylor, the Greens' Sarah Hanson-Young, Labor's Terri Butler and incoming Trade Minister Steve Ciobo. Topics ranged from refugees to regulation, Turnbull to Trump. All went well until the end when I warned that Bernie Sanders could be the first Socialist President of the United States, and the ABC crowd burst into delirious applause. I fled in terror.
Also for your viewing pleasure, my appearance on Sky's Viewpoint with Chris Kenny. In the first part of the show Chris interviews me about the affairs of the world, and then the great Miranda Devine and Tim Blair join me for some panelesque bantering. You can see the full show here.
~The death of Antonin Scalia made the Sydney headlines ("Supreme Scalia Is Dead At 79"), albeit mainly for his impact on the election year ("Showdown Looms After Judge's Death"). If you'll forgive me being purely selfish for a moment, I regret his passing because, in the event I lose to Michael E Mann at the DC Superior Court, Justice Scalia's clarity of thinking seemed most likely to get me to a fifth vote at the Supreme Court. In the broader sphere, he was not only a brilliant jurist but one who expressed his opinions with great brio. Glenn Reynolds quotes this marvelous piece of wisdom from Scalia's dissent in the Virginia Military Institute case, but which could apply to far too many other Supreme Court decisions:
Much of the Court's opinion is devoted to deprecating the closed-mindedness of our forebears with regard to women's education, and even with regard to the treatment of women in areas that have nothing to do with education. Closed minded they were — as every age is, including our own, with regard to matters it cannot guess, because it simply does not consider them debatable. The virtue of a democratic system with a First Amendment is that it readily enables the people, over time, to be persuaded that what they took for granted is not so, and to change their laws accordingly. That system is destroyed if the smug assurances of each age are removed from the democratic process and written into the Constitution.
So to counterbalance the Court's criticism of our ancestors, let me say a word in their praise: they left us free to change. The same cannot be said of this most illiberal Court, which has embarked on a course of inscribing one after another of the current preferences of the society (and in some cases only the counter-majoritarian preferences of the society's law-trained elite) into our Basic Law.
The Supreme Court opinions will be much less readable from now on.
If Justice Scalia's advice were heeded, there would be less need to label judges "conservative" or "liberal", which are political rather than judicial philosophies.
Notwithstanding their all but incompatible views of the role of the Court, Justice Scalia's closest friend on the bench was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and it was she who provided the most touching personal reminiscence:
He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader's grasp.
Justice Scalia once described as the peak of his days on the bench an evening at the Opera Ball when he joined two Washington National Opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. He called it the famous Three Tenors performance. He was, indeed, a magnificent performer. It was my great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.
I liked this bit:
Last year, she recalled the first time she heard him speak: "I disagreed with most of what he said, but I loved the way he said it..."
Even on the most contentious issues, they were always willing to have a little fun. After the court legalized gay marriage nationwide in 2015, a decision for which Scalia wrote a scathing dissenting opinion, he serenaded Ginsburg with a rendition of Bob Dylan's classic song "The Times They Are A-Changin'."
~Jim McFarland writes:
You mentioned in Notes After New Hampshire that both parties ignore nearly every concern Americans have to worry about. One great example is H-1B.
I was wondering why no one is hitting Rubio on H-1B (an immigration program which sounds like a virus, and actually works like one.) Rubio wants to triple the program, which has been used to:
A. Fire Americans
B. Replace Americans with cheaper labor from India
I predict that the Dems, whomever survives the nomination process, will hammer the Repos (Repos is a better name for the GOP, as they intend to repossess all that Americans once owned.) Trump is the only candidate who seems to understand this. The Repos, including my own Congressman Goodlatte, refuse to even discuss the program. Of course, he was given an award by the US Chamberpot of Commerce, so it's not all that hard to figure.
~My Aussie tour continues with Brisbane on Tuesday and my live debut in Cloncurry on Wednesday.