Scalia Channels Holmes’s “Brooding Omnipresence in the Sky”

October 2nd, 2012

I am finally making my way through the Kiobel transcript, and Scalia had this pearl.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Yes, but general — general common law was not considered to be Federal law, neither Federal law nor state law. If that were so, every tort action, which in those days were decided under — under a general law that was up there in the sky, would have been a Federal — a Federal claim.

Of course, Scalia is referring to Holmes’s classic line about the common law:

The common law is not a brooding omnipresence in the sky, but the articulate voice of some sovereign or quasi sovereign that can be identified

Today during my panel on Huff Post Live, Mike Sacks quipped that we should calls Scalia’s questions “Shit Scalia Says.” I agree (and may make such a Tumblr for that), though once in a while, Nino can toss a gem.