CNN's Toobin: Scalia 'A 1950s Social Conservative' While Ginsburg 'Very Much In Tune With the Modern World'
CNN's legal analyst Jeff Toobin thinks Justice Antonin Scalia is stuck
in the 1950s on social issues but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is up to
date with today's citizens.
The entire Court is a "deeply political institution," Toobin admitted, yet his descriptions for the conservative Scalia and the liberal Ginsburg differed significantly. Scalia is "a 1950s social conservative," he insisted on Tuesday's AC360 Later, while Ginsburg "is a woman who is very much in tune with the modern world."
[Video below. Audio here.]
"[A]nybody who thinks that the Supreme Court is anything except a
deeply political institution got to see a portrait of a 1950s social
conservative," Toobin said of a New York magazine interview of Scalia that he called a "tremendous public service."
Toobin added, "He [Scalia] doesn't like the Internet. He doesn't like all this sex and violence on TV. He's not sure if he's ever met a gay person. I mean, this is who Antonin Scalia is. And this is what his rulings reflect."
In contrast, Toobin gives Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "And if you want to talk about the age issue, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is three years older. She's 80 years old and she's done two same-sex marriages this summer. I mean, this is a woman who is very much in tune with the modern world. So I don't think it is purely an age matter. This is a matter of ideology."
Toobin admits he is "not exactly famous" for his "hatred of the Obama administration." In the past, he has labeled the conservative wing of the Court "very conservative" while referring to the other side as just "liberal." In fact, in his eyes Sotomayor was a "moderate liberal" when she entered the Court back in 2009.
Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on AC360 Later on October 7 at 10:29 p.m. EDT:
ANDERSON COOPER: Hey. Welcome back. It's everything you ever wanted to know about Justice Antonin Scalia and maybe a few things you didn't. In a wide-ranging interview in New York magazine, Justice Scalia weighs in on a number of topics. Just a sampling. He says that the devil is real. He caught one episode of Duck Dynasty. He thinks the State of the Union address is childish. He doesn't know why anyone would want to be friended on the Internet, and he thinks he has some gay friends, but
doesn't know for sure. It's a fascinating interview. We have got some
fascinating people to talk about it. Back with Christiane Amanpour, Tina
Brown, Ana Navarro. Joining us also at the table, CNN legal analyst and
criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN legal analyst: He has been the greatest savior for the rights, constitutional rights of the accused of anybody probably in the last 100 years. So, I let him do whatever he wants to do. And I think that the fact that he has bonded with Elena Kagan on their hunting trips is not a bad thing.
ANDERSON COOPER: I want to bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, who obviously has followed the Court very closely. What did you make of this interview, Jeff?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN legal analyst: I thought it was a tremendous public service. Because anybody who thinks that the Supreme Court is anything except a deeply political institution got to see a portrait of a 1950s social conservative. He doesn't like the Internet. He doesn't like all this sex and violence on TV. He's not sure if he's ever met a gay person. I mean, this is who Antonin Scalia is. And this is what his rulings reflect. Jennifer Senior did a fantastic job interviewing him.
COOPER: By the way, Jeff's book, "The Nine," is a brilliant account inside the secret world of the Supreme Court. You should read it if you –
NAVARRO: Let's also remember something. He also reflects that he's 77 years old. You know, a lot of those -- a lot of these issues, particularly the LGBT rights issues, are very generational across the country. And I think what he – you know, we see from him is that. I thought it was a terrific interview. It was colorful. He obviously doesn't care about political correctness. He doesn't care what they think about him. He's going to be long dead and gone and everybody's going to be sublimely happy or sublimely unhappy. I thought it was –
TOOBIN: Well, and talk – and right-wing talk radio was also a big part of his life. And if you want to talk about the age issue, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is three years older. She's 80 years old and she's done two same-sex marriages this summer. I mean, this is a woman who is very much in tune with the modern world. So I don't think it is purely an age matter. This is a matter of ideology.
COOPER: So Jeff, but you're saying personality doesn't matter on the Supreme Court?
TOOBIN: No, no -- It's not that personality doesn't matter. It's just that the idea that justices influence each other is usually vastly overstated. What matters on this court is that there are five Republican appointees and four Democratic appointees. That's most of what you need to know. This is just like Congress. The Democrats vote one way, and the Republicans vote the other. And that really –
GERAGOS: I could not disagree more. Look what's happened with Breyer. Breyer has all of a sudden jumped the shark on all kinds of cases. Scalia is going the opposite way on all kinds of cases. You have to take a look at these. There is no way you can say that this is a Republican/Democratic kind of a split.
COOPER: Jeff, you ought to take a look at the Supreme Court. You ought to pay some more –
GERAGOS: You've got to pay more attention. Why don't you do some research on that, Toobin?
BROWN: He also says there may be legal reasons –
TOOBIN: Look at the Voting Rights Act.
AMANPOUR: – for discriminating against women but not against minorities. So that doesn't make me very happy.
— Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matt Hadro on Twitter.