WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Is Downplaying Reports of Disc

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is downplaying reports of discord among the justices following last month's decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Scalia said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday he and his colleagues disagree over cases all the time "without taking it personally." The justice refused to discuss recent reports from CBS News that Chief Justice John Roberts changed his vote in the health care case and provoked hard feelings among his fellow conservatives who thought Roberts would side with them to strike down the law. "I was out of the country for who struck whom. It's terrible stuff. I'm not going to play any part in the recounting of it," Scalia, 76, is giving a round of media interviews to promote the new book "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts" he co-authored with legal scholar Bryan Garner. He went on to say disagreement over the tough legal issues the court must decide is a part of the job. "I disagree with my colleagues now and then. It happens all the time. If you can't do that without taking it personally and getting sore and picking up your ball and going home, you ought to find another job." -- Associated Press

Scalia said he's confident that his eight colleagues share his view. "The press likes to paint the court as, the usual image is nine scorpions in a bottle. And that's not true at all. I consider all of my colleagues friends and as far as I know, that's how they feel about one another."

The differences emerge in dissenting opinions, which can be harsh. Among the court's better writers, Scalia has sometimes used his dissenting opinions to savage his colleagues on the other side of the issue. He once derided Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's views in an abortion case as "not to be taken seriously."

Indeed, Scalia's closest friend on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, often opposes him in decisions, but they frequently socialize outside the court. …