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Tales of the duck that got away: From left, Keating, Huckabee, and Scalia. Lawyers who argue before the Supreme Court are not the only hapless creatures who find Justice Antonin Scalia formidable, if not intimidating. Some ducks in northeast Arkansas are alive today because they headed the other way on January 19 when Scalia arrived in hunting gear, in hopes of bagging them like so many assistants to the solicitor general. “The word spread quickly among the ducks that they were in the presence of a serious intellect,” says Kaneaster Hodges, who was Scalia’s host and duck hunting guide for the day. “They would come in, but cert was denied, and they flew out alive.” Hodges, a lawyer and former Democratic senator from Arkansas with a gift for storytelling, relished his day with Scalia, whom he describes as “an accomplished duck hunter” as well as a “consummate gentleman.” Accomplished as Scalia is, only two ducks were bagged, far lower than the usual catch. “It was not our day to kill ducks,” says Hodges. So how did Scalia happen to be duck hunting in Arkansas on that cloudy January day? Scalia doesn’t usually let his weekend plans be known, but this excursion came to light because of the other folks he was hunting with: Republican governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Frank Keating of Oklahoma, and their wives. Scalia shows up, Zelig-like, in the news photographs taken after the outing. Oddly enough, Scalia is seen wearing a suit, while the governors are in camouflage hunting outfits. When the time approached for a scheduled press conference, Hodges explained, Scalia instinctively showered and changed from his hunting outfit to a suit. “He came downstairs and saw that the governors were still in camo[uflage], and said, ‘I’ve been sucker-punched.’ I assured him that in rural America, you can get by wearing camo.”

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