The Washington Post described the Harvard Crimson as “arguably the nation’s best campus newspaper.”
But the Post went on to report the following, which, if the Crimson is the best, is a terrible indictment of all the rest. The Post noted that the Crimson:
“Raised many an eyebrow last week with an article saying that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia favored sexual orgies.
“The newspaper quoted Scalia, speaking at a symposium Tuesday, as saying, ‘I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tension and ought to be encouraged.’
“A court spokesman said Friday the quote was ‘not only inaccurate but also taken out of context.’
“No, he didn’t quite say that ‘sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.’ What he said was: ‘I even accept, for the sake of argument, for example, that sexual orgies …’
“It was one of those ‘assuming arguendo’ things that lawyers like to indulge in.
“The Crimson, after reviewing the Kennedy School of Government’s transcript, said it would issue a correction on Monday.
“‘There had been a miscommunication on whether we could have a recorder,’ Crimson Managing Editor Elisabeth S. Theodore said. (Scalia’s policy allows print reporters to use tape recorders to check accuracy.)”
What the Post did not mention was what else the Crimson reported – which went unchallenged:
When Justice Scalia accepted an invitation to lecture at Harvard, only 850 seats were available. So Harvard conducted an on-line lottery – in which 2, 016 competed for the 850 seats.
One of the winners was graduate student Larry Harris Jr. During the question-and- answer period, Harris tried his best to entrap Justice Scalia – who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1960, Magna Cum Laude.
“My fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated when I was pulled over in Cambridge – for driving while black,” Harris said. Justice Scalia replied:
“What the 14th Amendment prohibits is unnecessary search and seizure. Is it racial profiling, prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, for the police to go looking for a white man with black eyes? Do you want to stop little old ladies with tennis shoes? The suspect is 5 feet, 10 inches. We know what he looks like, but we can’t tell you!”
That evoked laughter from the crowd – but later, complainant Harris told the Crimson reporter, Daniel Hermel, the following:
“The flippancy with which Scalia dealt with the question was insensitive. It shows that on issues like this, he might be a little out of touch.”
The Crimson seemed to agree, in describing Scalia as “the eccentric justice.”
But Scalia, who is not only one of the most brilliant minds on any American court, is also surely the most entertaining. He ridiculed the European Court of Human Rights’ thoroughly ridiculous 2000 decision striking down British legislation that bars group homosexual sex – on the grounds that this law intrudes upon private life.
“How many individuals would have to be involved in a sex act for it to no longer qualify as private? Presumably it is some number between five and the number of people required to fill the Coliseum!”
That led to another of the Harvards in the audience to announce:
“I’d like to know whether you have any gay friends – and if not, whether you’d like to be my friend?”
SCALIA: “I probably do have some gay friends. I’ve never pressed the point!”
When one freshman questioner contended that Scalia’s own vote in the 2000 presidential election case could be viewed as an example of the “judicial activism” Scalia deplored, he replied:
“I do not mean by judicial activism judges actively doing what they are supposed to do. The Florida Supreme Court’s decision to order a recount in Miami-Dade County, which we overruled, was a clear violation of the federal constitution. Would you rather have the president of the United States decided by the Supreme Court of Florida?”