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Scalia Visits Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Lionel Van Deerlin

February 18, 2004

San Diego's Thomas Jefferson School of Law hosted Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia last weekend. In a public lecture on the first night of his visit, the conservative jurist lashed out anew at those who view the U.S. Constitution as a document whose flexibility has made it equal to our nation's ever-changing needs across more than two centuries.

According to press accounts, Justice Scalia finds this notion "phony." He derided talk of the Constitution as "a living document." Rather, he insisted:

"It's a legal document. It says some things which are permanent. And it doesn't say other things."

His conclusion: Too many judges (including several serving alongside him on the current court) happily ignore the Constitution's actual wording in favor of what they think the Founding Fathers intended. Or what the Founders might have intended, had they known how the world would change.

"I'm not willing to do that," Scalia asserted with a touch of lonely righteousness.