January 23, 2005


Justice Scalia: The Charm Offensive: The Supreme Court Justice is vying for the chief's seat on the bench (JAMES CARNEY AND MATTHEW COOPER, Jan. 31, 2005, TIME)

"The idea of appointing the first African-American Chief Justice has undeniable appeal to the President," says a top Republican who informally advises the White House on judicial nominations. "But there'd be a huge fight over Thomas, and the President doesn't need a fight." Though Scalia's conservatism irks many Democrats, he was confirmed easily by the Senate in 1986, and would probably be confirmed again without too much trouble.

Yet Scalia does not have a lock on the job. According to several sources familiar with White House thinking on judicial nominations, the President and his advisers are worried that the tart-tongued Justice may not have the people skills to manage the court, build consensus among its nine members and represent the institution in public. That may explain why the famously dyspeptic Scalia has become a merry mainstay on the A-list Washington social circuit of late. At parties ranging from a charity dinner at the Kuwaiti embassy two weeks ago to an Inaugural lunch at D.C.'s chic Cafe Milano, guests have been surprised to find the once reclusive Scalia mixing with the city's power brokers, making small talk and telling jokes. "Lately, I've been running into Nino everywhere," says a friend and fellow lawyer. "He's showing that he actually can be charming and gregarious. It's a sign that he's really interested in the job."

Given what Democratic interest groups do with jurists' paper trails, it's hard to believe Justice Scalia would be any more easily confirmed than Justice Thomas.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2005 3:13 PM

I read a lot. However, I do not watch much television, and I do not hang out in Washington circles or other places where these matters would be discussed aloud. So could someone please tell me how the name "Antonin Scalia" is actually pronounced?

If anyone is willing to share their own popular culture/political deficits, please do. No need to be embarrassed, now that I have opened the door.

-- Dummy

Posted by: Dummy at January 23, 2005 4:18 PM

The President understands that he doesn't lose political capital in a fight, he gains it, even if he loses.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 23, 2005 4:23 PM

And didn't he recently say that he's learned to never negotiate with oneself?

Posted by: ray at January 23, 2005 4:27 PM


Like it's spelled.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2005 4:39 PM

'Like it's spelled'? So, does that mean ...

ANN-tuh-nin SCALE-yah?

ann-TONE-in SCALE-yah?

ahn-TONE-in SCALE-yah?

ANN-tuh-nin skuh-LEE-uh?

ann-TONE-in skuh-LEE-uh?

ahn-TONE-in skuh-LEE-uh?

ANN-tuh-nin scalee-UH?

ann-TONE-in scalee-UH?

ahn-TONE-in scalee-UH?

Posted by: Dummy at January 23, 2005 4:51 PM

Antonin Scalia

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2005 4:55 PM

Dummy, your fourth formulation is how it's pronounced.

Posted by: John W. at January 23, 2005 5:46 PM

Thanks, John W., since I wasn't joking around like the poster "oj" seems to think I was doing.

In a day when half the American population still calls Chicago's homestate "illuh-NOISE," I don't think my query was that weird.

Posted by: Dummy at January 23, 2005 6:03 PM

There's also "Cairo" (kay/ro), but my favorite is "Goethe Street", pronounced Go/ea/thee.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 23, 2005 6:30 PM

A fair rule of thumb with Italian last names is when in doubt, stress the next-to-last syllable (so skuh-LEE-uh.) Antonin's kind of an odd first name. I grew up in Jersey with a boatload of An-TO-nyos, but I don't remember an Antonin. OJ grew up there too, and could surely have helped you out, if only he didn't enjoy being such a tosser.

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 23, 2005 7:53 PM


Detroit (strait) was once Day-tr-wah.

Posted by: Peter B at January 23, 2005 8:17 PM

North of Lansing, MI there's a little town named Pompeii. They pronounce it POMP-E-I.

Posted by: Dave W. at January 23, 2005 8:31 PM

I was a little surprised to read this -- I've always heard that Scalia is sharp-tongued but gregarious and likable. The impression of him as standoffish is probably related to the fact that his opinions make Democrats spittin' mad. Which of course means that the media feels the same way.

Incidentally, I was once present at a speech he gave during a dinner in Washington, D.C. He told the audience that he makes a point of asking budding law students (especially those going into Constitutional law) how many of them had read the Federalist papers -- and not just some of them, but all of them. According to Scalia, no more than 5% of the students ever raise their hands in affirmation.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 23, 2005 11:22 PM

In Indiana where I grew up they have amongst others towns named Versailles (ver-SALES) and Terre Haute (tara hote). I have a Belgian friend who finds these pronunciations most hilarious.

Posted by: MB at January 24, 2005 12:10 AM

There is a "Ver-sales" in Kentucky too (west of Lexington).

Posted by: Dave W. at January 24, 2005 12:57 PM