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Justice Scalia Rules Against Deep-Dish Pizza

By Chris Bentley in Food on Oct 19, 2011 4:40PM

2011_10_19_scalia.jpg Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wants to be clear: deep dish pizza is not pizza. In the case of Chicago-style v. Neapolitan, the famously conservative justice issued this ruling:

“I do indeed like so-called ‘deep dish pizza.’ It’s very tasty,” ... “But it should not be called ‘pizza.’ It should be called ‘a tomato pie.’ Real pizza is Neapolitan. [from Naples, Italy] It is thin. It is chewy and crispy, OK?”

Scalia was speaking to students at the Chicago-Kent School of Law Tuesday while in town for a conference on judicial takings — the legal issue of when courts and governments can seize private property.

The Reagan-nominated justice’s strict interpretation of pizza’s original definition is not surprising, given his reputation for constitutional originalism. Nor is his opining on cheese-related issues.

We dissent. Sure, pizza took its modern form in 19th century Naples: thin crust, mozzarella and tomatoes. But the Neopolitans’ original intent when they drafted their recipe was to please the masses, in order to create a more perfect union of tomatoes, cheese and baked dough. They could not have envisioned modern technology, New World inventiveness or the American appetite for excess. We must respect this new context.

Scalia taught at the University of Chicago Law School for several years, before the school went soft and turned liberal. Perhaps they started serving tomato pie at the Federalist Society.