Hatch Defends Scalia

Sen. Orrin Hatch disputes the notion the Antonin Scalia is a racist after the Supreme Court justice’s comments questioning the effectiveness of affirmative action policies draw criticism from liberals.

Reports The Hill:

While lawmakers were quick to call Scalia’s comments on race abhorrent and insulting, no one specifically called for an apology. 

Butterfield held that any apology would be “minimal.” 

“He would have to decide if his conscience would allow him to apologize,” he said. “An apology is not going to directly address the question — the question of has the public’s confidence in the administration of justice been eroded?” 

Butterfield said he is considering calling a meeting on Monday to discuss what formal action the caucus should take. 

“Judges can be impeached,” he said. “I’m not calling for his impeachment at this point until we have a chance to continue to talk about it, but judges are not above the law. You don’t use your position on the U.S. Supreme Court to make reckless statements that could be considered political statements.”

Some lawmakers, however, came to Scalia’s defense.

“Justice Scalia is a very witty person, he’s a very brilliant person,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “He’s one of the most brilliant justices who has ever sat on that court and he has a lot fun with some of those arguments.”  

When asked if what Scalia said was at all racist, Hatch said, “Oh heavens no.” 

“He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” he said. “He’s conservative and sometimes people try to imply that conservatives are racist when they’re really not.”

As for the uproar created by Scalia’s comments on Capitol Hill, Hatch said it’s just the “usual baloney that happens here in Washington.” 

“Everyone knows what an accomplished person he is,” he said. “Liberals don’t like what he does. They don’t like him personally … but I know him very well and he’s as fine a man as you’ll ever find.”