WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia grew tired of a persistent heckler Tuesday and asked organizers of a legal seminar to do something about the outbursts -- gently.
"Don't use force," Scalia told American Enterprise Institute workers as they grabbed the young man's arm and nudged him toward the door. The workers then let go and the man walked out.
It was unclear what he was asking when Scalia turned to organizers and said, "Can you, somebody. ..."
Earlier, a microphone had been snatched from the man's hand when he tried to engage the justice in debate. Scalia had asked him whether he had a question, "apart from insults."
After the man left, Scalia answered questions for about 15 minutes but repeatedly declined to engage anyone who asked questions, even of an apparently friendly nature, that he felt were not related to his topic -- the use of foreign law by U.S. courts.
"I feel really bad about it," said Veronique Rodman, an AEI spokeswoman. "There's no excuse for rudeness."
Topics raised by questioners ranged from U.S. policy in the Middle East to Vice President Dick Cheney's recent hunting expedition during which he shot at a quail but wounded a companion. Scalia and Cheney have hunted together in the past.
Scalia generally bars television cameras and sometimes other press from his events. Allowing the talk to be televised live on C-SPAN was a rare move for one of the court's most conservative justices.