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Scalia Not Surprised Bush Didn't Select Him

October 09, 2005|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Saturday that he had not expected President Bush to nominate him to succeed the late William H. Rehnquist as chief justice.

"I'm not even sure I wanted it, to tell you the truth," Scalia told reporters at a media briefing before a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.

Bush, who had in the past mentioned Scalia as one role model for an ideal chief justice, passed on Scalia and nominated John G. Roberts Jr. after Rehnquist's death.

Scalia said the time he would have had to devote to administering the court as chief justice would have taken away from his thinking and writing. However, he said, "The honor would have been wonderful."

Asked if he knew why he wasn't nominated, Scalia said the reason was "locked in the heart of the president."

Scalia was the only justice who did not attend a Sept. 29 White House swearing-in ceremony for Roberts. Scalia said Saturday that he had a commitment that could not be broken.

According the Federalist Society website, he was leading a two-day seminar in Avon, Colo., on the separation of powers.

Questioned about Harriet E. Miers, Bush's nominee to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Scalia said he had never met her.

"Never having met her, I have no impression of her," he said.

Scalia, who is Italian American, was in New York to serve as grand marshal of Manhattan's Columbus Day Parade on Monday. He was scheduled to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony today to commemorate the explorations of Christopher Columbus.

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