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Scalia gets tangled up in funny wife hypothetical

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Your money or your life? That’s an easy choice.

Your life or your wife’s? Justice Antonin Scalia appeared to suggest Wednesday he might have a hard time with that one.

“You can’t refuse your money or your life. But your life or your wife’s, I could refuse that one,” Scalia said, enmeshed in a discussion over whether the health care overhaul law coerces states into expanding the Medicaid program.

Everyone else in the courtroom immediately sensed trouble.

“He’s not going home tonight,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Chief Justice John Roberts tried to be helpful. “Let’s leave the wife out of this,” Roberts said to his seatmate.

Eventually, Scalia got it. “I’m talking about my life,” he said. “Take mine, you know?”

Maureen Scalia, the justice’s wife of 51 years, was in the courtroom on Tuesday.

She wasn’t there Wednesday. For that, her husband should be grateful.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)