Justice Answers Minority Charge

The impeachment story overshadowed the other Washington news this week, but there is one story that should not get lost in the shuffle.

The newspaper U.S.A. Today did a study this week and discovered that Supreme Court Justices have one of the worst records in the nation when it comes to hiring minorities.

From a total of 428 law clerks hired over the years by the current justices, less than 2 percent were African-American.


Justice Antonin Scalia was cited for having the worst record, having hired no minorities in 13 years on the Court. When a Supreme Court spokesman refused to comment on the study, CBS News Reporter Stephanie Lambadakis waited on a public sidewalk in Washington for Justice Scalia to appear.

Here's what transpired when she asked him why he wouldn't talk about his minority hiring record:
Justice Antonin Scalia: Because you're annoying me.

Stephanie Lambadakis: Well, the African-Americans who have never had a shot at being...

Scalia: They have never had a shot with me before?

Lambadakis: Have you interviewed them?

Scalia: How do you know that? How do you know that? Do you know how many have applied to me?

Lambadakis: No, those numbers are not public.

Scalia: Then you have no basis for making any statement about it. You have no basis for making any statement.

Lambadakis: Have you...

Scalia: If you do notÂ…do you know...do you know how many have applied to me?

Lambadakis: No, no one keeps statistics.

Scalia: You have no basis for making any charge against me or against any of the other members of the Court.

Lambadakis: So what should...

Scalia: That's all I have to say.

Lambadakis: What should people know about the hiring practices of the Court?

Scalia: They should know it is rigorously fair, that I hire the best and the brightest that I can find.

Lambadakis: Regardless of race?

Scalia: Of course regardless of race! Of course regardless of race!


Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Justice, but that does explain a lot. It really does.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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