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Scalia Tells Screenwriter: No Secession

Any Tea Party members interested in building a secessionist movement won't get any legal backing from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Back in 2006, before the Tea Party movement gained any steam, Scalia responded to a letter from a politically-minded screenwriter developing a script about a secessionist movement in Maine. The screenwriter, Daniel Turkewitz, wrote to all of the Supreme Court justices, according to his brother, blogger Eric Turkewitz, asking for some input on his script. In the story, Turkewitz wrote, the secession leads to a big Supreme Court showdown.

Scalia was the only justice to respond to Turkewitz, saying that such a legal battle could never happen.

"To begin with, the answer is clear," Scalia wrote. "If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, 'one Nation, indivisible.')."

After further arguing his point, he concluded, "I am sure that poetic license can overcome all that -- but you do not need legal advice for that. Good luck with your screenplay."

Scalia is in part known for his distinctive writing style, so it's perhaps fitting that he was the one justice ready with some tips for the screenwriter.

USA Today's Joan Biskupic, who penned the Scalia biography "American Original," said on's Washington Unplugged last month that Scalia has a "great facility with language" and often makes allusions from everything from "West Side Story" to Shakespeare in his writing.

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