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Like all of his colleagues on the high court, Justice Antonin Scalia has a robust speaking schedule that allows him to display his wit and intellect before a variety of forums. But what distinguishes Scalia from the other justices is his penchant for provocative comments that rise above the usual white noise of the daily news cycle to antagonize some ideological group he doesn’t particularly care for. Earlier this year, he charitably described those who think the U.S. Constitution is a living document as “idiots.” A few weeks later, he inveighed against what he described as the era of the “judge-moralist,” asserting that judges are no better qualified than “Joe Sixpack” to decide moral issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. But earlier this month, Scalia just may have crossed the line. While giving a speech in Switzerland, Scalia noted that “[w]ar is war, and it has never been the case that when you capture a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts.” Unfortunately, Scalia made his comments before the high court heard arguments last week in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld-the most important case in a generation dealing with the legal rights of military detainees, as well as the reach of presidential power. Lawyers for Guant�namo detainee Salim Hamdan didn’t waste time asking Scalia to recuse himself. The justice declined the invitation. Scalia’s latest outburst highlights an issue that should be explored in detail by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: Just how far should high court justices go when making political and ideological statements in public? (And, yes, that includes Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s thoughts on “active liberty.”) Should they be allowed to go as far afield as Scalia? And if a justice is asked to recuse himself, should the current rules-which allow that justice to make the decision-be amended so that the chief justice calls the shot? At the very least, we ardently hope that Scalia will restrain himself in the future. The very, very near future.

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