Justice Scalia, in his concurrence in the Myriad Genetics patent case:
I join the judgment of the Court, and all of its opinion except Part I–A and some portions of the rest of the opinion going into fine details of molecular biology. I am unable to affirm those details on my own knowledge or even my own belief.
What does this statement mean? The article from which I quoted him (linked above) argues that Scalia here is making a proud statement about his ignorance of the details of molecular biology, and that this scientific illiteracy is a badge of honor among much of society. I’m not so sure, especially given:
Typically, Justice Scalia does not qualify the factual portions of opinions he joins, even where they involve science.
I don’t have any good thoughts on what he has in mind with this qualification, but I find it disturbing. At the same time, as someone who teaches the fundamental concepts at play in this case to students of the liberal arts, I hope none of my students make such a claim when they become Supreme Court Justices.