OTR Interviews

Ingraham: Scalia will have legacy as an 'originalist'

Radio host and former clerk for Clarence Thomas, Laura Ingraham, goes 'On the Record' on Justice Scalia's legacy and the political fight ahead


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 15, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Radio talk show host and a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas in the United States Supreme Court Laura Ingraham is here. 

Nice to see you Laura.


VAN SUSTEREN: When did you first meet Justice Scalia?

INGRAHAM: Oh gosh, I'm really dating myself. I worked for the Reagan Administration for Bill Bennett when I'm the education. Education secretary now and Jean Scalia was also a speech writer when - and he introduced me to his father. He had just been nominated to do the Supreme Court, it was 1986, I believe or early '87.

But everything has been said but it's like one of those people that you can't say enough. Larger than life, hilarious, you would be hearing him play opera in his chambers, working late at night. Never complained about the work load and was joyful as he was tough. And that's hard to come by in Washington.

VAN SUSTEREN: While you know, he really did have an impact on the court whether you are for him or against what he did. I mean he was not just a justice that left the medium impact he left a big impact.

INGRAHAM: I love the big impact pass on every law school in the nation on every textbook, in all textbook in the nation. I went to the University of Virginia where he taught law. And I was there after he taught but I mean, you can't read a constitutional law textbook without reading a classic Scalia majority opinion or the sensing opinion as, you know, from when he talks about the Jiggery Pokery of the majority but when he said most hilarious .

VAN SUSTEREN: Well he had pass through on to in - he can , we could put some blistering dissents.

INGRAHAM: Yes, the Lemon vs. Cuttersman, The Lemon Test, of course, with establishment clause is one of his least favorite doctrines of the Supreme Court. But he had something that is, again, sorely missing in Washington today. The ability to disagree without being disagreeable, it's hard to do.

So one of the other times I met him with that on not met him but it was with him on New Year's Eve in 1987. And it was like where are we going for New Year's Eve? We are going to judge Ginsburg's apartment. Oh, she is on the D.C. Circuit, she was obviously younger than we see him on the D.C. Circuit and they celebrated, I think, many, many, New Year's eve together.

VAN SUSTEREN: They were both together on the D.C. Circuit before they ended up in the Supreme Court.

INGRAHAM: They were good friends there and again, I don't want to say that's a whole legacy. His legacy is as an "originalist." He believe it was literally a crime to substitute his personal opinion for the wisdom of framers of the constitution and that the constitution was not an evolving document that evolve from generation to generation. And, if it did, the actual under pinning of our whole society would be deteriorating.

He will be believed that he said is it perfect? No it's not perfect. But of all the legal theories out there, it is the best among them and I think that really is his legacy and originalism means.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right which this is your chance at home to vote on Twitter, should a new justice be confirmed before President Obama leaves office. Twit yes or no using hash tag Greta, we'll show you live Twitter votes throughout the show. Now, will ask you, why shouldn't the president, the constitution says she, why should we nominate someone and senate can reject them.

INGRAHAM: I mean, I'm not, I mean, Obama is going to nominate some, right, I have no doubt but it doesn't say that the senate shall confirm that nominee.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, but it says shall no, ma'am that the. It doesn't say the Senate shall say yes or no.

INGRAHAM: No, look, we went through. This I have two words for all these people. Robert Bork. OK. Robert Bork also Lian Bevere, Miguel Estrada, all the people .


VAN SUSTEREN: What about Justice Kennedy?

INGRAHAM: What about Justice Kennedy?

VAN SUSTEREN: We went from Bork, Ginsburg, to Kennedy.

INGRAHAM: Right, well yes, we did. That was the process.

VAN SUSTEREN: But should we need the process did play out?

INGRAHAM: That well, you know, it a lot of us think it played out really horribly but the idea that the Republicans have to roll over.

VAN SUSTEREN: They don't have to roll over.

INGRAHAM: What do you mean? They are in charge.

VAN SUSTEREN: They don't have to roll over at all.

INGRAHAM: There is nothing constitutionally requiring them to confirm a justice to the Supreme Court of the United States.

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh no, I agree with you. But the constitution says the president shall nominate. He shall nominate.

INGRAHAM: It doesn't say when he shall nominate.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no no, but it says -- he is supposed to do his job. Shall nominate and if the Republicans don't want to do anything about it they don't or vote them down.

INGRAHAM: There's a lot to do. The Congress has a lot on its plate this year. I'm being a little bit facetious we are all sitting here like well the president is going to have to do this and Congress -- we know if the shoe were on the other foot the Democrats would be stopping this and Chuck Schumer argued it should be stopped.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I would be arguing the same thing at that point.

INGRAHAM: Well maybe would grab it but the idea that the Democrats who stopped phenomenal judges like Miguel Estrada look Lian Bevere who Clinton stopped from getting down there.


VAN SUSTEREN: Laura, thank you.