Monday, February 15, 2016

Justice Scalia

Over the weekend Maureen, my wife, and I went to a gathering of some acquaintances. As we entered the house a jubilant outcry greeted us. "Scalia is dead, hurray!" Taken aback I paused for a moment and said "The man is dead! The man is dead! And he had a different view of the constitution!" I must have sounded like a party pooper because the commotion calmed down a bit. Maybe more than a bit!

With leaving the leftist politics more than 20 years ago I began to develop a taste for the understanding of the U.S. constitution and history. Whenever I had a chance I listened to the interviews or talks by different justices of the supreme court. I have not found any of them not interesting and Justice Scalia was particularly interesting and educational.

This morning when I was reviewing the NYTimes I ran into this picture in an slide show about Justice Scalia.


The subtitle said, "Justice Elena Kagan with Justice Scalia at the University of Mississippi in 2014". It peaked my interest to find out what these two justices, who at times voted differently on the bench, say face to face outside the formality of the court and how they interact with each other. My search for the video of that event did not turn up anything. If you find an audio or video recording of it I appreciate receiving a link to it. My original search was to no avail but I ran into this video of an interview with Justice Elena Kagan at "The Scalia Lecture" of the Harvard Law School. The interview seems to be on November 18, 2015. It is interesting if you have an appetite for understanding the constitution and its reading.

What I learned is that Scalia was instrumental in developing the subject "Reading of Statutes" and Kagan emphasizes this point. Early on in the recording, about minute 7:30, you hear this: Kagan says, "I think Justice Scalia is an incredibly important figure in the court in many ways. I mean we all sort of like to say go to supreme court justices … The truth of the matter is you wake up in a hundred years and most of the people are not going to know most of our names. But I think that is not really the case with Justice Scalia who I think is going to go down as one of the most important and most historic figures in the court …"
I am not a Scalia expert but this evaluation of Kagan I believe is significant. She was nominated by President Obama.

No comments: