Piers Morgan Freaks Out Over Bush v. Gore, 'Possible Corrupting' of 'American Presidential System'

Liberal CNN host Piers Morgan thinks the Constitution "gave women no rights," and he freaked out about Bush v. Gore during a Wednesday night interview with Justice Antonin Scalia on CNN.

"Get over the possible corrupting of the American presidential system?" an incredulous Morgan gasped when Scalia told critics of Bush v. Gore to "get over it." One of the critics is CNN's own legal analyst Jeff Toobin, who ripped the decision as "a classic example of judicial activism."

And Morgan took aim at another favorite liberal target, lamenting that unlimited political fundraising and super PACs are contrary to the founding fathers' vision.

"The problem, as I see it and many critics see it, is that that – it has no limitation to it," he insisted. "And that cannot have been what the founding fathers intended. Thomas Jefferson didn't sit there constructing something which was going to be abused in that kind of way."

Scalia shot that assertion down. "I think Thomas Jefferson would have said the more speech, the better. That's what the First Amendment is all about. So long as the people know where the speech is coming from."

Scalia also lectured the journalist on newspapers and free speech. "Could you tell newspaper publishers you can only spend so much money in the – in the publication of your newspaper?" he posed to Morgan, who responded that newspapers don't buy elections.

"Newspapers endorse political candidates all the time," Scalia answered. "What do you mean – they're – they're almost in the business of doing that."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on July 18 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:15 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

PIERS MORGAN: Well, let me -- well, let me take up the issue of speech. Let's turn to political fundraising, which, at the moment, under your interpretation, I believe, of the Constitution, you should be allowed to raise money for a political party.

The problem, as I see it and many critics see it, is that that – it has no limitation to it. So what you've now got are these super PACs funded by billionaires effectively trying to buy elections. And that cannot have been what the founding fathers intended. Thomas Jefferson didn't sit there constructing something which was going to be abused in that kind of way. And I – I do think it's been abused, don't you?

Justice ANTONIN SCALIA: No. I – I think Thomas Jefferson would have said the more speech, the better. That's what the First Amendment is all about. So long as the people know where the speech is coming from.

MORGAN: But it's not speech when it's – I'm talking about money to back up the speech.

SCALIA: You can't separate speech from – from – from the money that facilitates the speech.

MORGAN: Can't you?

SCALIA: It's – it's -- it's utterly impossible. Could you tell newspaper publishers you can only spend so much money in the – in the publication of your newspaper? Would they not say this is abridging my speech?

MORGAN: Yes, but newspaper publishers aren't buying elections. I mean to -- you know, the election of a president, as you know better than anybody else, you've served under many of them – is an incredibly important thing. It shouldn't be susceptible to the highest bidder, should it?

SCALIA: Newspapers endorse political candidates all the time. What do you mean – they're – they're almost in the business of doing that.

(...)

MORGAN: What has been your hardest decision, do you think?

SCALIA: My hardest?

MORGAN: Yeah.

SCALIA: You don't want to know.

MORGAN: I do want to know.

SCALIA: No, it's the dullest case imaginable. They – there is – there is no necessary correlation between the difficulty of a decision and its importance. Some of the most insignificant cases have been the hardest. And –

MORGAN: What has been the one that you –

SCALIA: It'd probably be a patent case. You want me to describe it, really?

MORGAN: No, I don't.

(Laughter)

SCALIA: Of course.

MORGAN: All right, what has been, in your view, the most contentious? What's the one that most people ask you about?

SCALIA: Contentious? Well, I guess the one that, you know, created most – most waves of disagreement was Bush v. Gore, Okay? That comes up all the time. And my usual response is get over it.

MORGAN: Get over the possible corrupting of the American presidential system?

(Laughter)

MORGAN: Justice Scalia?

SCALIA: Look it, I – my court didn't – didn't bring the case into the court. It was brought into the courts by Al Gore. He is the one who wanted courts to decide the question which -- when Richard Nixon thought that he had lost the election because of chicanery in Chicago, he chose not to bring it into the courts. But Al Gore wanted the courts to decide it.

So the only question in Bush v. Gore was whether the presidency would be decided by the Florida Supreme Court or by the United States Supreme Court. That was the only question, and that's not a hard one.

MORGAN: No regrets?

SCALIA: Oh, no regrets at all, especially since it's clear that the thing would have ended up the same way anyway. The press did extensive research into what would have happened if what Al Gore wanted done had been done county by county, and he would have lost anyway.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014