Mark Tushnet Asks “Has Justice Scalia jumped the shark?”

April 1st, 2012

I asked just that question after the argument in McDonald.

I’ll get back to the ACA arguments, but my “jump the shark” question was actually provoked by reading Justice Scalia’s dissent in Vartelas v. Holder, where he writes, “Ignorance, of course, is no excuse (ignorantia legis neminem excusat).” I can understand translating an obscure Latin phrase into English, but what on earth was he thinking when he translated a perfectly understandable English phrase into the Latin from which, I’ll concede, it was derived? It suggested to me that he’s lost control of his cleverness, or – put another way – that he’s interested in displaying his cleverness for its own sake (or for his own sake).