Friday, October 30, 2015

No dissent! Supreme Court Justice - Wit!

No dissent!  
Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s
wit is fun!  
“No purses, backpacks, bags, cell phones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed”, the warning stated on the brochure.
So I can’t prove to you that I was there with a “selfie”!
I stuffed pen, paper, wallet, car key, etc. in my pockets.   
The reason for all the security was the presence of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the 2015 Stein Lecture at Northruop Memorial Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus.
This brought to mind all the potential threats that someone might make in this situation.  And how would I get help if we were in a hostage situation?
So I texted my kids and told them I wouldn’t have a cell phone but they could still get in touch with me via my little Striiv smart watch. I can’t call out but it shows text messages. And I figured someone on a rescue team could send info to me!  (Drama queen tactics!)
So how did I get in?
The reason I got to hear Justice Scalia - being as I wasn’t a law student or graduate - was that I knew the man who hosted the event.
Bob Stein is a former dean of the U of M law school and has many other honors.    He married one of my “Best Friends Forever!”  His wife Sandy and I started out in kindergarten together.  But we hadn’t seen each other for near to 50 years!
Bob was introduced to the audience as having had the highest Grade Point Average on record in the U of M law school.  
I remembered that Bob and I had one class together - as Freshmen. It was Econ 101 I think. He got an A and I got a C.
Part of my problem was that I didn’t agree with the methods of economics presented.  I came from immigrant parents where I was taught you didn’t spend money until you had saved it up.
Later on I learned to fill out the tests differently when a professor announced (in my understanding):  "I don’t care what you think... you will put what I think on the tests."  I started getting better grades then.
Justice Antonin Scalia
But now my husband, Paul and I were here to listen to Justice Scalia.
I had prepared for the lecture by reading some books about him. One was: how a lawyer should “present” before a judge to get them on your side.  I chuckled as I realized that I do that naturally when trying to convince my husband of something!
And by reading his dissents I became aware of the difficulty in making these decisions.  I found good points on both sides.
The lecture hall at Northrup Auditorium at the U of M had almost filled its 2700 seat capacity.
Justice Scalia is known for his witty remarks and kept the audience entertained as he educated us as to his reasoning.  Also his appreciation for his fellow justices whether or not they shared the same opinion.
Scalia explained his interpretation of the constitution - Originalism: where the text bears the same meaning in the past and the present.  Compare this to the idea of a “Living Constitution”... where changes relate to the period of time you are dealing with.
For example: Scalia feels the text concerning freedom of speech was the same whether you communicated simply by word of mouth or via cell phones and the internet.  He felt it protected episodes like flag burning, although he might not approve of that.
Further explaining the reason some might prefer a living constitution is that it is easier to make changes.  But Scalia explained, it’s also easier to change things in a monarchy, but this is not compatible with democracy.
Scalia warned...
Scalia warned, we imperil the court when we make decisions not by law.
He pointed out how difficult it was for nine lawyers to make decisions on topics like assisted suicide.  He explained: these are moral issues and as lawyers they are trained in making legal statements.
When he finishes making a point Scalia pauses... then he folds his arms across his chest and puts one hand up to his face for a contemplative effect and looks like the old comedian Jack Benny!  
"Best Friends Forever"...
After the lecture we were in the hallway where some folks were introduced to the Justice.  But I was looking for my old girl friend.  And after we hugged... I asked if anyone had a camera to take our picture?    
Well, one of the fellows did... turns out he was a judge too!
But enough reminiscing... except for this:  almost 50 years ago, Paul and I met at the U of M.  And so now, as we walked back across the campus on that beautiful fall day... we held hands!