Milbank says "Alito visibly mocked his colleague":
Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court, was making her argument about how the majority opinion made it easier for sexual harassment to occur in the workplace when Alito, seated immediately to Ginsburg’s left, shook his head from side to side in disagreement, rolled his eyes and looked at the ceiling.Epps:
... Alito pursed his lips, rolled his eyes to the ceiling, and shook his head "no." He looked for all the world like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, signaling to the homies his contempt for Ray Walston as the bothersome history teacher, Mr. Hand.I don't trust the descriptions of Epps and Milbank. Maybe we could get some more discussion of the meaning of Alito's head — from some observers who like him. And then I could calculate the truth from there. But what would be better would be cameras in the Supreme Court chambers. This is a new argument for cameras in the Supreme Court — to protect Samuel Alito from calumny.
Amusingly, Epps begins his little article with:
I suspect that the cause of cameras in the Supreme Court suffered a blow on Monday. I am glad the nation did not see first-hand Justice Samuel Alito's display of rudeness to his senior colleague, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Because Alito's mini-tantrum was silent, it will not be recorded in transcript or audio; but it was clear to all with eyes, and brought gasps from more than one person in the audience.It wasn't clear to me, and I have eyes.
Nice of Epps to want to protect me and the rest of Americans who didn't make it into the courtroom that day, but I prefer to be free to look things and form my own opinion, not to get second-hand descriptions from partisans and polemicists.
And by the way, the notion that female Justices command stronger displays of decorum than male Justices is sexist. Show some real respect.
AND: Do I detect anti-Italian prejudice? Alito is too visibly expressive. He's like a movie character with an Italian name (Spicoli)? The rule is your face should be a mask? WASP-style?
ALSO: Remember the words of one of the world's greatest Italian-Americans:
MOREOVER: Want to bet that if emotions played across the visage of Sonia Sotomayor while Alito or Scalia were articulating some nugget of conservatism that media's Epps and Milbanks would tell us that this — this! — was the empathy Obama said was essential to judging?
AND: A new post highlighting comments about what's wrong with likening Alito to Spicoli.