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Justice Antonin Scalia Says 'Yes' to Tea Party Invitation

3 years ago
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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has scored a big name as keynote speaker for her Tea Party Caucus next month. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia accepted the congresswoman's invitation to address the panel and headline what's being billed as a "Conservative Constitutional Seminar," USA Today reported Thursday.

The weekly meetings are officially for members of Bachmann's caucus, but Yahoo News said she hopes "all the members of Congress" will attend. She plans on inviting Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts for future sessions.

Bachmann, a tea party favorite, told USA Today last month that she wants the caucus to focus heavily on constitutional issues.

"Justice Scalia has distinguished himself by his 'originalist' approach to constitutional interpretation," Bachmann said.

Bloomberg News
said the fact a Supreme Court justice would speak before such a highly partisan group has raised eyebrows among judicial ethicists.

"It certainly adds to the politicization of issues surrounding the judiciary," said University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, who served as George W. Bush's chief ethics officer. "When a highly publicized case comes along, it does not help the Supreme Court for the justices to appear aligned one with one party or the other."

But Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda told Bloomberg that Scalia's speech shouldn't be a concern if his subject matter isn't overly political.

"Justices are allowed to give speeches on the law and legal reform," Rotunda pointed out.

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