I am just back from a lecture given by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at LSE. Strange to think that the only lecture I have attended so far at LSE is one by an American. Much of the audience was American and simply showed up to see what Scalia would talk about. His speech, although I forget the title now, discussed Scalia's well-known criticism of the Constitution as a living document as well as his disapproval of the role of the Supreme Court as moral arbiters.
He made the audience laugh with some good quotes:
-In response to a question on limiting the power of the state with some reference to the Nuremberg Trials, he said, "Hitler made a fine automobile."
-In reference to the overturning of sodomy laws (I forget where he was referring to specifically), he said he is willing to "accept that homosexual orgies eliminate social tension and ought to be encouraged." Irony, of course.
-I forget the specific quote exactly, but it's referenced in wikipedia. In reference to his criticism of the "Living Constitution, he says he's "skeptical that societies always 'mature,' as opposed to rot." That the Constitution was written and defined so that future societies couldn't do whatever they want.
-He also criticizes the politicizing of the process of nominating new Justices. Every nomination "is like a mini-constitutional convention." "It's crazy," he said.
-Oh, and on the topic of the profile of the next judge to be nominated, he said "Probably a woman. A Hispanic woman... that's Protestant." Haha.
As his speech progressed, I became increasingly uneasy about the future of law in the U.S. I don't know why exactly. Scalia is undoubtedly intelligent, witty, and sharp-tongued. I would not want to be on the receiving end, as some students were during the Q&A, of his criticism. The U.S. is in, if not safe hands (for some minorities), capable hands. But knowing his opinions on hot topics like abortion and same-sex marriage, although he didn't explicitly express them, is worrisome to me. To Scalia, that society (or at least parts) wants these to be legal is a sign of "rotting" than "maturing." True, Scalia is not final say on these issues, but it just struck a chord with me.
I think I need to be more politically active. I'm not apathetic by any means, but I feel like more is at stake than I first thought. How in jeopardy is Roe v. Wade right now? With aging Supreme Court Justices and the possibility of a conservative present appointing conservatively minded judges, it's certainly not in the clear. I don't know. I don't think about these things often enough, I suppose, and thinking of them now, I'm just a little worried. Lots of laws seem to be very abstract for people. They can get worked up about them but at the end of the day, they are unaffected by the ultimate consequences. It's easy to be that way, but fortunately or unfortunately, the issue of abortion is relevant to all women.
Anyways, some more uplifting stories to come at some time in the future when uplifting things occur.