Justice Antonin Scalia said he hasn’t had a “falling-out” with Chief Justice John Roberts, dismissing reports of a rift over the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld President Barack Obama’s health-care law.
Roberts cast the deciding vote in the case, breaking with his fellow Republican appointees, including Scalia. Days after the June 28 ruling, CBS News, citing unnamed people, said that Roberts had switched sides during the court’s internal deliberations and that his conservative colleagues felt betrayed.
In an interview yesterday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Scalia said he remained on good terms with the chief justice.
“No, I haven’t had a falling-out with Justice Roberts,” said Scalia, a 1986 appointee of President Ronald Reagan. Among the justices, “there are clashes on legal questions but not personally,” Scalia said.
The 5-4 ruling gave Obama an election-year triumph and preserved the core of a law designed to expand insurance to at least 30 million people. Roberts joined the court’s four Democratic appointees in saying the law’s centerpiece, a requirement that people either get insurance or pay a penalty, was valid under Congress’s constitutional power to levy taxes.
Scalia said reports about the court’s internal deliberations were inherently suspect.
“You should not believe what you read about the court in the newspapers because the information has either been made up or given to the newspapers by somebody who is violating the confidence, which means that person is not reliable,” he said. Scalia said he was out of the country when reports about Roberts were published.
Scalia also defended the court’s 2010 ruling that corporations can spend unlimited sums on political campaigns, reiterating his contention that political spending is constitutionally protected speech. At the same time, he underscored a qualification, saying Americans had a right to know who is paying for advertisements.
“I think, as I think the framers thought, that the more speech is better,” Scalia said. “Now you are entitled to know where the speech is coming from -- information as to who contributed what. That’s something else. But whether they can speak is I think clear in the First Amendment.”
Republicans have opposed proposals that would broaden disclosure requirements. This week, Senate Republicans twice blocked legislation requiring nonprofit groups such as Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to reveal who is paying for their political ads.
Scalia gave the interview in conjunction with the publication of his new book, “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” co-written with Bryan A. Garner.