WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Sunday that he does not believe the high court is "political," and refused to comment on Chief Justice John Roberts' deliberations in its recent health care reform decision.
"I don't think the court's political at all," Scalia said on "Fox News Sunday." "People say that because at least in the recent couple of years since John Paul Stephens and David Souter have left the court, the breakout is often 5 to 4, with 5 [Republican-appointed judges] and 4 by Democrats on the other side. Why should they be surprised that after assiduously trying to get people with these philosophies, [presidents] end up with people with these philosophies."
Scalia declined to answer questions about reports that Roberts changed his mind about the case, saying any reporting on the court's reasoning and wrangling could not be accurate.
"I don't talk about internal court proceedings," Scalia said. "A reporter who reports that is either a) lying, which can be done with impunity ... or b) that reporter had the information from someone who was breaking the oath of confidentiality, which means that's an unreliable person."
Nevertheless, Scalia reiterated the view he expressed in a dissenting opinion from the health care reform case that President Barack Obama's signature legislation is not constitutional and its individual mandate cannot be viewed as a tax.
"You don't interpret a penalty to be a pig," Scalia said. "It can't be a pig. And what my dissent said in the Affordable Care Act was simply there is no way to regard this penalty as a tax. It simply does not bear that meaning.”
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