Outrage mounts over Scalia tequila comment; no one quite sure why

posted at 7:43 pm on October 4, 2006 by Allahpundit

CNN was all over it yesterday. Scandal:

Justice Antonin Scalia opened the Supreme Court’s new term Tuesday by questioning whether a man deported to Mexico after a drug conviction would be “abstaining from tequila” for fear of violating his U.S. parole terms…

Neither Crooks nor the other justices reacted visibly to Scalia’s remarks, and there was no immediate reaction from immigrant rights activists, many of whom were in the courtroom.

Did CNN’s reporter think to provide the alcohol-themed context for what Scalia said?

No, he did not.

With no one capable of explaining why Scalia’s comment should be thought offensive, Law.com reporter Tony Mauro knew what he had to do. It was time to call in a Latino:

Carlos Ortiz, former president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, was not in the audience but reacted strongly when told of the comment. “Justice Scalia is supposed to be very smart, but anyone who is supposed to be so smart would not and should not say something that insensitive. It is a really terrible comment, and he should be called on it.”

Ortiz, who has long lobbied for the appointment of a Hispanic justice and more Hispanic law clerks to the high court, added, “This is the kind of incident that makes it so clear that the Court needs more diversity.”

Did Ortiz specify why, precisely, Scalia’s comment was so terrible?

No, he did not. Maybe I can help him out, then. The problem with Scalia’s comment is that:

1) He’s a conservative
2) Who made an assumption
3) About an aspect of minority culture. Namely, that “Mexican alcohol” = “tequila.”

It would be like me hearing someone say, “Jim Webb used to drive around Watts pointing rifles at people and hurling racial slurs at them,” and then automatically assuming that those people he was pointing rifles and hurling insults at were black.

Which they were, of course. Allegedly. But the point is, we should never assume.

Because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and Jim Webb.


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What if Scalia had said Corona? Or Dos Equis?

Would people take offense that he assumed the guy would be drinking such crap beer?

meep on October 4, 2006 at 7:59 PM

This is the coolest scandal ever! I’m going to go have a shot of something racist!

frankj on October 4, 2006 at 8:02 PM

I’m just taking a guess at the reasoning:

tequila : Mexican illegals :: Mohammed’s image : Euro-muslims

That is, maybe someone hopes tequila is revered by Mexican illegals in the way Mohammed’s image is revered by European muslims.

Kralizec on October 4, 2006 at 8:07 PM

If he wasnt a conservative, he’s be congratulated for being in touch with La Raza…the peoples of Mexico. I mean listen to them, they will all tell you, to a man, that they drink tequila and it IS mexico’s drink and they are proud of it. But a non-hispanic conservative said it. Kinda like a person of color can NOT be racist?.?.?
FINE, dont let him go, put his dry non-tequila drinking ass in jail.

BTW, Anyone ever ask what his crime was? If it involved a little tequila drinking? Maybe some shots, or maybe the whole bottle? Just curious.

shooter on October 4, 2006 at 8:16 PM

Does tequila even come from anywhere but Mexico? I’ve never seen a brand of tequila imported from Australia or Canada, or even made in southern California. Tequila is, alcoholically speaking, associated in just about everyone’s head with Mexico.

Mark V. on October 4, 2006 at 8:28 PM

I’m so sick of this PC crap. Anyone who is somehow “offended” by what Scalia said, and I don’t see why they would be, needs to go take a siesta. Oh, I’m sorry, was that insensitive of me to say? [Hmm..let’s see. siesta = Mexican nap. Gee, maybe someone should call LULAC and/or Donna Shalala to see if they were offended by that, just to be safe].

CP on October 4, 2006 at 8:37 PM

Jose Cuervo you are a friend of mine. I like to drink you with a little salt and lime. When we get together we sure have a good time. You’re my friend, you’re the best, my amigo—I believe this was sung by Terri Clarke about 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe if Scalia has sung it they would have given him 10 points because it has a good beat and they can dance to it.
BTW why is it not racist to have a National Hispanic Bar Association? Isn’t it a bit racist to only want to be with your own kind. Maybe he was mad because he’s not a tequilla drinker himself and perfers Corona instead.

Catie96706 on October 4, 2006 at 8:48 PM

And these people wonder why they have lost so much power?

SouthernGent on October 4, 2006 at 8:57 PM

I think Scalia should have just said:

“Nobody thinks your client is really, you know, abstaining from Jose Cuervo as he finishes the last of his burrito and leans back, his sombrero nestled over his brow, for a early evening siesta–to prepare for that night’s fiesta, which is well-deserved after a hard-day’s drywalling–ready to dream of the Virgin Mary, as the sun sets over the Aztec ruins that frame the dusty clay pueblo by the glittering white sanded beach on which a coyote howls because he is on supervised release in the United States. Nobody thinks that.”

That would have avoided all this.

Alex K on October 4, 2006 at 9:45 PM

“And maybe there’s one of those cool Day-of-the-Dead skelletons hanging somewhere.

“And small children run by kicking a soccer ball and eating chicklets, as a mariachi band grimly sell their instruments to pay for the arms with which they will lead a people’s revolution based out of the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan.

“And of course a pinata. There’s a pinata in there.

Nobody thinks your client is doing that.”

Alex K on October 4, 2006 at 9:51 PM

You forgot the chupacabra, Alex. There really ought to be a chupacabra in there somewhere.

And maybe one of those masked wrestlers.

Sean M. on October 4, 2006 at 10:59 PM

Hilarious! I’m offended that they’re offended… whomever, about whatever. Outrageous.

MT on October 4, 2006 at 11:28 PM

What’s funny is that if Scalia had asked if the guy would abstain from “Budweiser while in Mexico”, he could have been painted as the “stereotypical arrogant American for not knowing that Mexicans take great pride in their own legendary tequila, and don’t need your stinking American alcohol… how arrogant ARE you to assume that they’re all drinking American beer you dirty gringo?“.

Or something along those lines.

DaveS on October 4, 2006 at 11:44 PM

You forgot the chupacabra…And maybe one of those masked wrestlers.

D’oh! Of course!

Well, come on, those are just understood. Goateating monsters are regularly cited in SCOTUS arguments, it’s a tradition that goes back to John Marshall.

Alex K on October 5, 2006 at 12:30 AM

Tequila makes me allergic to my clothes.

doingwhatican on October 5, 2006 at 3:55 AM

Hispanic National Bar Association

Nobody? Am I wrong here? Was it too easy?

Whatever. I snickered when I read it.

The Apologist on October 5, 2006 at 5:41 AM

You are all worthless and weak…now drop and give me twenty. I have been rotflmao since I opened HotAir this morning.

Jaibones on October 5, 2006 at 9:31 AM

It’s not a matter of being racist or insensitive. It’s a matter of being stupid. He couldn’t foresee this? Please, the media lives for this stuff and Scalia should be more savvy.

honora on October 5, 2006 at 10:42 AM

It’s not a matter of being racist or insensitive. It’s a matter of being stupid. He couldn’t foresee this? Please, the media lives for this stuff and Scalia should be more savvy.

He shouldn’t use the word “niggardly” either, then. Morons might get confused!

Please. Let’s not blame Scalia for the media’ bottom-feeding.

Allahpundit on October 5, 2006 at 10:44 AM

He shouldn’t use the word “niggardly” either, then. Morons might get confused!

Please. Let’s not blame Scalia for the media’ bottom-feeding.

Allahpundit on October 5, 2006 at 10:44 AM

You are a SCOTUS justice. You are the intellectual bulwark of the right wing of the SCOTUS. Right or wrong, there is a perception that the RW is less than open to minority issues. This remark gets press, as you could have predicted.

I stand by my statement. Being innocent and being stupid are not mutually exclusive.

honora on October 5, 2006 at 10:52 AM

Allah,

But the point is, we should never assume.

Unless we’re assuming that a conservative is racist. In that case, carry on.

honora,

You are the intellectual bulwark of the right wing of the SCOTUS. Right or wrong, there is a perception that the RW is less than open to minority issues.

And when it’s wrong, we should correct the wrong perception and prevent future occurances instead of attacking a person for making a perfectly valid remark.

You’re right, honora. He’s a Supreme Court Justice. Which means his job is to review and decided important legal cases, not to scour his every utterance to insure that nothing could possibly be construed as offensive by the left wing and their bedwetting media friends.

Pablo on October 5, 2006 at 12:28 PM

You are a SCOTUS justice. You are the intellectual bulwark of the right wing of the SCOTUS. Right or wrong, there is a perception that the RW is less than open to minority issues. This remark gets press, as you could have predicted.

I stand by my statement. Being innocent and being stupid are not mutually exclusive.

Scalia, as you pointed out, is a SCOTUS justice, and as such he ought to be dedicating his considerable mental resources to the cases put before him. It does not make the man “stupid” merely because he does not choose to dedicate a portion of his conscious thought to carefully tip-toeing around anything that might remotely enter the realm of possible manipulation and exploitation by the press. If Scalia did do that, he wouldn’t be able to do his job. You know who DID carefully tip-toe? Harriet Myers. All that indicated to me was that she was spineless and afraid of what people thought of her, which means she would end up voting with the liberals for fear of exactly this kind of ridiculous criticism.

I also find it funny that some guy in internet comments is calling one of the most intelligent men in this country “stupid”. Now, I happen to think the 4 liberals on the USSC are wrong-headed, but I don’t think Id be capable of rising to the level of glass-house arrogance necessary to call them “stupid”.

Lastly, no I do not think that this comment would have been predicted to get press at the time he said it. Even if it was, the right thing to do was to say it and expose the ridiculous bottom-feeding of the press, rather than censor himself.

kaltes on October 5, 2006 at 12:32 PM

Intelligent people do stupid things all the time. This is news??

honora on October 5, 2006 at 12:50 PM

I also find it funny that some guy in internet comments is calling one of the most intelligent men in this country “stupid”.

I find it funny that some guy/gal on the internet doesn’t realize Honora is a woman’s name. Gee, get out a little.

honora on October 5, 2006 at 12:51 PM

Scalia did nothing stupid, nothing wrong;

It is just more of the moonbat smear tactics….that if one throws enough mud some of it is bound to stick. It need not be true, after all they only care about the result, any means is acceptable. Intellectual discourse or debate is beyond them, thus their only recourse is to attack those that stand in their way.

I suggest treating them like the scum they are, apply bleach and disinfectant and return them to the evolutionary cesspool from which they crawled.

MarkB on October 5, 2006 at 1:58 PM

Hmmm, where does the worm come in to play here?

NTWR on October 5, 2006 at 2:18 PM

I find it funny that some guy/gal on the internet doesn’t realize Honora is a woman’s name. Gee, get out a little.

I have never in my life heard the name honora. This is not a result of my being ignorant, of my not “getting out a little”, it is the result of honora being an extremely obscure name, not even found among 0.001% of the US population. Check for yourself:
http://www.census.gov/genealogy/www/namesearch.html

I’d wager that far more people know what “kaltes” is, than “honora”, since at least kaltes is a common word in a languauge spoken by over 100 million people in the western world, but I wouldn’t get my panties in a bunch because someone didn’t know what it meant.

kaltes on October 5, 2006 at 6:17 PM