Often referred to as the funniest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia explained his thoughts on originalism to an admiring crowd Tuesday at the 2015 Robert Stein Lecture at the University of Minnesota.
He said he would not be surprised if the Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional. He didn’t hint at when it might happen. The justice also remarked, “There’s no use in debating about abortion any more. It’s over. It’s offstage.” In response to a question about eminent domain, he also predicted, “Kelo [v. City of New London] will be overruled. It’s just a matter of when.”
Scalia was genial and very funny during his prepared remarks, saying that there is no other principled criteria to use when interpreting the constitution than the original meaning of the original text. He also said he was happy to be spared the “cross” of the chief justice role which, among other things, would require him to turn down his rhetoric. “Let Nino be Nino,” he said, referring to his nickname.
He showed his more acerbic side when answering questions from law students. In answer to a question about elective questions, Scalia replied, “You mean like women in the law, spinach in the law.” And when the cases of Citizen’s United and Hobby Lobby came up, he snarled, “Get over it.”
Staff photographer Bill Klotz took pictures of the lecture.[portfolio_slideshow id=103847]