The Intersection

Scalia, Clown of Climate Science

From my friend Eli Kintisch, reporting on today’s Supreme Court global warming hearing:

“We are not asking the court to pass judgment on the science of climate change,” said Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General James Milkey in his opening arguments. That may be fortunate for some justices, including Antonin Scalia, who asserted erroneously that global warming occurs in the stratosphere before Milkey corrected him by noting that it was a tropospheric phenomenon. Scalia then confessed his scientific limitations:
“I told you I’m not a scientist. That’s why I don’t want to deal with global warming.”

That confession didn’t prevent him from venturing into some deep scientific waters, however. At one point, Scalia questioned whether greenhouse gases should even be considered pollutants, noting that the resulting carbon dioxide is produced in a portion of the atmosphere not in direct contact with people. Milkey offered a counterexample, noting that Congress had authorized the regulation of sulfur dioxide, which people don’t encounter directly but which causes harm after it washes out of the air in the form of acid rain.

P.S.: Thanks to Mike of Crooks and Liars for linking this post and sending lotsa traffic my way….if any of you visitors are interested in the hurricane-global warming and what it means, that’s my next big thing.


  1. #1 pissed off patricia
    November 30, 2006

    “I told you I’m not a scientist. That’s why I don’t want to deal with global warming.”

    Those have to be the most lame words ever uttered by any justice. Jesus, it’s just mind blowing that he would say something that ignorant. What the hell was he thinking?

    ps, congratulations for getting a link at crooks and liars in mike’s roundup.

  2. #2 Batocchio
    November 30, 2006

    Well, gosh, I’ve always been in favor of having the most ignorant people on a given subject make the most important decisions regarding it. 😉

    (Sadly, it often works out that way, doesn’t it?)

  3. #3 Tomkitty
    November 30, 2006

    Having Scalia weigh in on global warming makes sense… In the same way Ted “Its a series of tubes” Stevens should be in charge of internets regulation. Too may people let their judgment be clouded by things like ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ and ‘facts’, and thank god, the bible and little baby Jesus that the republicans are there to put a stop to it!

  4. #4 Redleg
    November 30, 2006

    I think that it is all right for Scalia to rule on science issues. We cannot expect our justices to be all-knowing. Having said that, Scalia’s job is listen to the scientific evidence with an open mind and not interject his own christianist, pseudo-science bullshit into the proceedings.

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