Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Justice Antonin Scalia Justice Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is the most talked about Justice on the Supreme Court and one of the most influential – known for his unflinching conservatism and hard-hitting opinions. He is also a passionate music-lover and in this wide-ranging and candid interview with host Gilbert Kaplan, he reveals the enduring power of music in his life.

  • Though he became “really quite good” at the piano, he reveals why he has not touched the piano in 15 years. Likewise, after singing in a chorus up through his time on the Court of Appeals, he gave that up when he joined the Supreme Court.
  • He recounts his experience as an extra at the Washington Opera when a “perky little participant” suddenly jumped upon his lap -- not his “most notable theatrical performance”, he concludes.
  • Why Bach is his music of choice when writing opinions.
  • Why hearing modern hard rock with its “noise and ugliness” might constitute cruel and unusual punishment as envisioned in the Constitution
  • Favorite singers: Renee Fleming, Placido Domingo, Cecilia Bartoli; pianists: Glenn Gould; conductors: Georg Solti, Wilhelm Furtwängler.
  • Two musical fantasies: “To be a good tenor” and to play the violin: “I have always thought I could have been a superb violinist”.


His musical selections:
Strauss: Rosenkavalier
Kreisler: Liebeslied
Handel: “Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa”
Wildcard: “Sh-Boom”
Boyce: Symphony No. 1
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem

Guests:

Justice Antonin Scalia

Hosted by:

Gilbert Kaplan
The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Comments [13]

James from Canada

Yes, a man who graduated with high honors from Harvard law, is one of the most respected jurists in the world, by both conservative and liberals, is not worthy to give his opinions on music?? Those feeble minded commenters who decry his opinions demonstrate why they remain a impotent fringe, for they are enraged by anyone who deigns to disagree with them, one of the hallmarks of an insecure, weak intellect.

Dec. 08 2011 01:01 PM
Richard Sherwin from PITTSBURGH, PA

What will the Supreme Court Decision of today (1/21/2010) do to our country? IT IS THE END OF OUR DEMOCRACY. YOU, AS A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, (TO USE THE TERM VERY LOOSLY) HAVE NO CONCERN FOR THE AVERAGE CITIZENS. YES YOU ARE A FAT CAT AND WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BY YOUR DECISION. THE ORDINARY CITIZEN LIKE ME HOWEVER WILL BE. WE WILL NOT HAVE OUR VOICES HEARD IN ANY UPCOMING CAMPAIGN OR ELECTION.
Dr. Richard Sherwin

Jan. 21 2010 07:55 PM
Dougl

He shares a first name with Dvorak yet had none on his list? Why that indicates a temprement free from prejudice and bias!

Jan. 05 2010 04:31 PM
Allison from Charlottesville, Va

Scalia is an originalist, and he takes his oath to uphold the Constitution more seriously than most other members of the Court. Sometimes that means he does not cater to progressive interests if there is not a constitutional foundation for the advancement of those interests. Even though I do not agree with some of his rulings, I admire his efforts to actually uphold the oath that most other state officials ignore completely.

It is really unfortunate to see people engage in ad hominem attacks if someone dares to venture an opinion that doesn't match up with what NPR and the New York Times tells them to think (or the O'Reilly Factor and Fox News).

You might abhor racism, but still believe that the right of freedom of association is important and worth protecting--it doesn't matter, you are a racist. You might believe that abortion is murder and therefore strongly support a ban. Or you might just understand that there really is not a "right to abortion" in the Constitution, and that the matter is one more properly for the state to decide. It doesn't matter--you must hate women and be against women's rights.

Really, have any of you carefully examined these issues and considered all the different arguments before spouting vitriol against those who think differently than you? Think about this honestly. Where do your opinions come from? Have you done careful research or thought critically about any of them?

The lack of independent analysis and thought is disturbing, and the worst offenders are often the ones claiming to be the most enlightened.

This was an interesting interview and I hope to hear more like it in the future.

Jan. 04 2010 06:19 PM
Evan from New York City

I just turned off WQXR and not sure I want to listen again in the near future. How could WQXR present a platform to a such a vile man? Does the NY Times - your owner - know about this? I highly doubt it.

Jan. 04 2010 05:52 PM
Bob A from NYC

Thank you for a wonderful interview with my favorite SCJ! Fascinating to gain further insight into this brilliant mind. America is truly fortunate to have this clear thinking, unbiased and couragous man sitting on the highest court in the land!

Jan. 03 2010 10:27 PM
Evelyn from New York

This was such an interesting interview. I love classical music and I am planning to attend law school myself. I am thrilled to find out that S.C. Justices love classical music!!! He is a choral singer too, just like me. Yes, Justice Scalia is the opposite of my political ideology, but he also shares my love of classical music. He didn't bring his right wing ideology to this interview, so just please consider him as a classical lover who is also a Supreme Court Justice.

Jan. 03 2010 10:21 PM
John

I turned on WQXR to listen to a man celebrate music! Is a conservative not allowed to do that? You liberals are always bringing your brand of politics into everything. Even a musical interview! Does everyone who loves music have to be leftist, gay and pro abortion? Stop confusing conservatism with fascism. Fascists advocate the creation of a single party state which sounds like more like what's going on in Democrat controlled Congress today; their way or no way. Anyone who puts Bach at the top of his list is alright with me! It says much about the man! Good choice WQXR!

Jan. 03 2010 10:01 PM
ray from new york

thank you for your lovely selections and for your defense of the music. best for the new year to wqxr and to supreme court justice scalia.

Jan. 03 2010 09:53 PM
NB

I have just turned off WQXR also. Would much rather hear music than this interview.

Jan. 03 2010 09:47 PM
Don from NYC

I have just turned off WQXR. I could not be less interested in hearing what a right wing fascist like Anthony Scalia has to say about music, or anything else! His "positions" on civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, and human rights in general are a disgrace to the Supreme Court and to this country. I hope you have a more suitable choice for MAD ABOUT MUSIC next week.

Jan. 03 2010 09:11 PM
Jerry

I am really disppointed that you would have him as a guest. He has such negative energy and hostility: anti-affirmative action, anti civil rights, etc. He is not what the music stands for at all.

Jan. 03 2010 10:48 AM
Robert C Challener from Magnolia Springs, AL

I am sending a link to my daughter who is an associate professor of law at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, MS. She is interested in the U.S. Supreme Court and this will provide additional insight into the persona of the court.

Jan. 02 2010 06:44 PM

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