The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

23 November 2005

Scalia vs. Nobody


At NY Event, Al's Sobering Reality Check

So much for Al Franken's "A-List" celeb aspirations.

In confronting US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a New York event Monday, Franken was exposed as insignificant. With this sobering reality check, perhaps Al will learn to stick to the Smalley routines.

Don't take the Radio Equalizer's word for it, New York City newspapers are having a pre-Thanksgiving journalistic feast, thanks to our friend Al.

According to the New York Daily News, Justice Scalia wasn't even familiar with Franken as the two sparred during outgoing Time honcho Norman Pearlstine's latest "Conversations On The Circle" event:

During the audience Q&A, Scalia fenced with comedian Al Franken - though Scalia had no idea who Franken was - over another "hypothetical" situation in which a jurist wouldn't recuse himself from a controversial case, even though he'd just gone hunting and flown on a private jet with the defendant. Just like when Scalia went hunting with Vice President Cheney and then sat in judgment of a lawsuit against the veep.

Scalia, who might have passionately defended his actions in the Cheney case, could have persisted in correcting Franken's word usage.

"I don't think I was any meaner than I had to be," Scalia told me at the post-off the record cocktail party, adding that he's planning to increase his visibility. "My kids have been working on me to get out and do more public appearances. ... They think it makes it harder to demonize you - and I agree."

The New York Post's Page Six also got into the action:

November 23, 2005 -- AL Franken, the former "Saturday Night Live" star, found out the hard way not to mess with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who chided Franken as if he were a delinquent schoolboy at Time Warner Center on Monday night.

Scalia, following in the footsteps of Karl Rove and Bill Clinton, was the guest at Conversations on the Circle, a series of one-on-one interviews with outgoing Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine.

When Pearlstine opened the floor for Q&A, Franken stood up in the back row and started talking about "judicial demeanor" and asking "hypothetically" about whether a judge should recuse himself if he had gone duck-hunting or flown in a private jet with a party in a case before his court.

Franken was clumsily referring to the fact that Scalia had gone hunting and flying with Dick Cheney before the 2000 election.

First, Scalia lectured Franken, "Demeanor is the wrong word. You mean ethics." Then he explained, "Ethics is governed by tradition. It has never been the case where you recuse because of friendship."

Time Warner chairman Dick Parsons later told PAGE SIX: "Al was not quite ready for prime time." Franken was a "Not Ready for Prime Time Player" on "Saturday Night Live" long before he began hosting a radio show on Air America.

The confrontation with Scalia didn't seem to weaken Franken's interest in running for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota. Franken discussed his possible candidacy afterward at the cocktail reception overlooking Columbus Circle. "I think I got under his skin a little," Franken humbly told us.

Franken hasn't been pounded this badly since his room-clearing speech earlier this year, also in New York City.

And that brings up an interesting point: most of Franken's fluffiest press coverage comes from outside New York City, where less scrutiny is applied.

At home, however, the media (other than the New York Times) appears to see right through him.

Is that the real reason he's leaving the area?

One problem for Al: in Minnesota, phoniness is detected even faster.

The National Ledger is also on this today.

GOPinion links to this story (I highly recommend the site, by the way).

Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of your final purchase selections, help to support this site's efforts. Thanks again!

The Radio Equalizer also recommends the (free) Mozilla Firefox web browser. Packed with features such as tabbed browsing, SessionSaver (makes computer crashes less painful) and dual Google/Yahoo (both at once!) search extensions, I can't imagine using anything else.

Frankensoftballs and Franken Lies by David A Lunde.


  • Scalia is dumber than a box of hair.

    Scalia: "Ethics is governed by tradition."

    What an idiotic thing to say. He should add "slavery is governed by tradition" and "organized crime is governed by tradition".

    By Blogger WHT, at 23 November, 2005 20:31  

  • Um, yeah. That's why he sits on the SCOTUS and you post comments that redefine "lame".

    Franken v. Scalia is a classic example of what happens when a .22 mind (Franken) enters a .357 (Scalia) world.

    By Blogger Cordeiro, at 23 November, 2005 21:20  

  • Why do libs go straight for negative ethnic stereotypes when they encounter somebody they don't agree with?

    By Blogger SCSIwuzzy, at 23 November, 2005 22:46  

  • Scalia has been the most intelligent justice on the Supreme Court for many years now -- precisely because he has the "audacity" to believe that judges should actually follow the Constitution instead of reinterpreting it to suit their personal agendas.

    Compare that to Breyer, who actually believes that rulings in foreign courts are somehow relevant to American law.

    By Blogger The4thEstate, at 26 November, 2005 00:12  

  • There is a very popular attitude, that when someone confronts someone else of greater knowledge that you don't agree with and gets spanked, that you still somehow win no matter what the real outcome was.

    This exchange between Scalia and "nobody" is an example of how although popular, this attitude is not at all realistic.

    By Blogger Hening, at 27 November, 2005 19:03  

  • During the 2004 prez election Franken tackled and gave a beating to a Heckler at a John Kerry speech. Franken said he just wanted to be sure Kerry's right to free speech wasn't violated. Too bad someone didn't look out for Justice Scalia's rights. I would love to be the guy to make sure Franken kept his Big Fat Lying Liar's mouth shut!

    By Blogger Lee Perry, at 29 November, 2005 23:14  

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