Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Justice Antonin Scalia Rocks!!--Part 1

I can't even begin to describe how wonderful last night was getting to hear Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speak at the University of Central Missouri. I went in with high expectations and Scalia EXCEEDED them! I took 9 pages of notes and there is so much good stuff to share that I am going to make this at least a 2 part post if not 3.

First, I want to extend a huge thank-you to my friend who got the tickets for us. She teaches at the school and by the time the tickets were made available to the public they were all gone. If she hadn't gotten the tickets, I wouldn't have been able to go. I took 2 friends and Heidi also joined us, so it was a lot of fun. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

How do you describe Scalia?

I don't even know where to start. He is not only an intellectual powerhouse but one of the wittiest speakers I have ever heard. It is hard to count how many times the audience burst out in laughter. He has the greatest demeanor and behind it is a man who is passionate about his strong beliefs and principles. He is passionate about the constitution and is a scholar in every respect. He is a strong Catholic with a wife and 9 children.

He is an Originalist to the core and says this is not a conservative or a liberal thing. He made a big deal out of this and yet, he said, "I confess I am a social conservative." Originalism doesn't have anything to do with whether you are a conservative or not but he also wasn't afraid to proudly declare that he was a conservative. It impressed the audience and we all applauded.

He is about ready to turn 72 but you would never know it by the way he looks and talks. He described himself as sometimes feeling like Frodo in Lord of the Rings. The comical thing to me is that he was short and when he walked he kind of made you think of someone like Frodo.

I adored him, laughed and learned a lot!!

Humor Quotes:
I can't begin to tell you how many humor quotes there were that caught my attention. Some of them were ones that I had seen in his other speeches but many of them were ones I had never heard. I doubt I will have access to a transcript so the quotes below are loose translations of what I heard and was able to get written down.

"I am the only one left to defend the dead constitution. Maybe, enduring would sound better."

When talking about what some judges must have based their bad decisions on, he said he didn't know what they were using, maybe, "the sexual preference clause" or the "excessive damages clause" in the bill of rights.

"What are evolving standards? I'm afraid to ask."

At the end Scalia was asked questions that audience members had written down on cards. One of the questions was, "If you could have dinner with any member of the Supreme Court, dead or alive, who would it be?" He replied that he had dinner with Ruth once a year. He then went on to say, "I certainly wouldn't want to have dinner with a dead person."

There should be a stamp I could use on documents that says, "Stupid, but constitutional".

Another question asked about what Senators should be allowed to ask Judicial nominees. Scalia's response was, "They are entitled to ask whatever they want but nominees should answer as little as possible."

When asked a question about Obama, McCain and Hillary he said, "Next question." He then went on to say, "I have a deal with the Senate, House, etc... I leave them alone and they leave me alone."
Check out part 2 tomorrow.

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