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Justice Scalia talks politics, high court, pizza

CHICAGO (AP) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a group of Chicago law students on Tuesday that the only thing political about the nation's highest court is the selection process.

Scalia said the process – especially confirmation hearings – have been highly politicized because the public has finally realized the court's immense responsibility. But once the judges do their work, he said political lines don't matter to the five Republican-appointed and four Democrat-appointed judges.

"I don't care a fig if a statute has been passed by a Democrat or Republican," Scalia said. "Once you're on the court, you don't owe anybody anything. Justices are notorious ingrates."

Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, did not elaborate on high-profile cases last term involving campaign finance rules and limits on class-action lawsuits where the court ruled along political lines.

Scalia spoke to students and took questions at Chicago-Kent College of Law for a keynote address during a conference on property rights. His lecture-style remarks delved into the court's 2010 decisions on a case involving owners of beachfront homes in Florida.

But he also weighed in on two other issues some Chicagoans might find equally as important – Chicago-style pizza and baseball.

"I like so-called deep dish, it's very tasty," he said as some audience members cheered. "But it should not be called a pizza. It should be called a tomato pie."

His answer to the second question, about whether he preferred the Cubs or White Sox, elicited some boos.

"I am a Yankees fan," he said.

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