Through the years, I have put up with a lot from Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who I have always said has retained an admirable level of consistency and intellectual honesty in his views even though I often disagree with him. Nevertheless, I have criticized his conduct in public, including his enthusiastic embrace of being a conservative “celebrity justice” (here and here), shocking elitism in speaking with law students, and making public comments on issues before the Court (here and here). Yet, I have always tempered this criticism with a degree of respect for Scalia’s consistent adherence to a jurisprudential foundation that is missing with some of his other colleagues. However, he has finally gone too far. I am done. This week, Scalia did his usual ill-considered comments about issues before the Court but added in a speech in Chicago (my home town) at the Union club about Chicago-Style pizza. To the boos of the audience, Scalia declared that Chicago-Style pizza is not pizza but some form of “tomato pie.” It is not just injudicious but downright sacrilegious. In my view, Scalia has crossed the line into potentially impeachable conduct in his attack on this highest form of pizza and should be removed faster than one of those pathetic New York wafers that people fold and call pizza.
Making this all the more shocking is Scalia’s former work as a professor at the University of Chicago.
Scalia began with discussion of the role of God in government and by extension constitutional law — an issue that is before the Court this session. He insisted that “it is contrary to our founding principles to insist that government be hostile to religion. Or even to insist, as my court, alas, has done, that government cannot favor religion over non religion . . . It is a matter of believing, as our founders did, that belief in God is very conducive to a successful republic.”
After invoking God’s domain, however, Scalia then moved to the truly sacrilegious: seemingly embracing New York pizza while calling Chicago pizza “tomato pie.”
Now, I am Italian and a native Chicagoan and I am fully aware of the traditional thin crust pizza found in Italy. However, pizza is a category of food, not a single exclusive term for one style. Indeed, Scalia’s intolerance for different forms of pizza seems consistent with his views in other areas like privacy and marriage.
Consider the lunacy of this position. Gellato is a wonderful ice cream that truly surpasses all other forms but it is not the only ice cream. Ice cream is a category of frozen dessert usually made from dairy products. Likewise, pasta comes in a variety of forms. One would not call fried dough the only “true” pasta, even though it was referenced in this form in the First Century.
Pizza, my dear Scalia, is like marriage. It evolves and can take different shapes. Additionally, I would be the last to suggest anyone should “shut their pie hole” because I also believe that free speech takes on new and expanded meaning. Indeed, the disrespect shown pizza by Scalia reflects the same hostility shown to theories of evolution.
Chicago pizza is the highest form of evolution of pizza — a majestic combination of cheese, sauce, and dough that resulted from years of experimentation and consumer demand. Like the evolution of the horse from the tiny Eohippus in the early Eocene, pizza evolved with stronger crust and brilliant engineering advances. It is to New York pizza what the John Hancock is to a lean-to.
Scalia’s comments were not just injudicious but incomprehensible for anyone who has experiencing the exquisite experience of the Chicago-style pizza. As a food critic, Antonin Scalia is a wash out.
As many of us look at Scalia’s possible removal from the Court for demonstrated incapacity, Chicago needs to banish him from our shores. Call it our own high-fat Fatwa. Let him go watch his favorite football team (the Cowboys!) and eat his tomato wafers in that forsaken city known as the Big Apple. The city of Big Shoulders likes our pizza equally big and deep, thank you.
Source: Chicago Tribune