Thursday, December 07, 2006

Yo, Justice Scalia!

Law school has been busy lately, surprise!!! That's why I have returned to being a blog slacker and have found it increasingly difficult to write. I have been trying to balance classwork, studying, job searching, social life (dwindling), and basic functions of life without totally flipping out. So far, so good.

Another reason that I may have been somewhat lazy in updating my blog is because I might be braindamaged from prolonged exposure to the cold in my room. No joke -- you would not believe how f***ing cold my room is. At the moment I am wearing two shirts, a thick, hooded robe, two pairs of socks, and UGG slippers, and still can't fully feel my feet. I finally broke down and emailed my RA tonight and asked her if there was any way I might be able to get the heat turned on in my room (seeing as it is routinely below 30 degrees outside lately), and she emailed me back to inform me that everyone's rooms were supposed to have heat for the last few weeks. She forwarded my email to maintenance to see why the heat hasn't been turned on in my room. This is so typical -- the girl with severe circulation problems, who hates the cold and has suffered from frostbite three times, gets put in the one dorm room in Boston with no heat during the winter. Should I shoot for a fourth frostbite streak? Any one want to put some money on this?

Anyway. Another thing that I had been meaning to write about for a while was that I got to go see Justice Scalia speak here at the law school last week. That makes two -- or three, depending on how we're counting -- Supreme Court Justices that I have seen. I got to see Sandra Day O'Connor when she came into the Alumni Center my senior year. I said "hi" to her but was too shy to say anything else. Then, earlier this semester, Justice Kennedy was on campus to preside over a moot court, and I went to it, but had to sit in overflow seating and thus technically only saw Kennedy on a tv screen. But he was in the next room, so I think it counts. And finally, Nino Scalia makes three.

The talk was good. Scalia is an impressive guy because even if you don't agree with most of his decisions, you have to admit he is principled in his jurisprudence. His main argument for why he thinks an "originalist" interpretation of the Constitution is preferable to an "evolutionist" perspective is that an originalist will always have the text of the Constitution as a guide, while for an evolutionist, "each day is a new day." However, I think that perspective results in some really disturbing/wacky results, but, that's a blog for another day.

The point is, most people who went and saw Scalia talk probably have some serious disagreements with quite a few of his positions and decisions -- I certainly do -- but went to hear him talk and perhaps pose some thoughtful questions to a Supreme Court Justice. How often do you get that opportunity? So we were all pretty shocked when some kid got up to the microphone and started reading off a piece of paper, his voice gradually rising until he was yelling at Scalia, asking him if he was going to "step up and take judicial responsibility" in a case that the Court is currently hearing. He went on and on, yelling at this Supreme Court Justice, until the Dean of the Law School stepped in and told him that it was inappropriate to question a Supreme Court Justice on a case that is currently before the Court. Ugh.

Scalia said, "Doesn't Harvard have an ethics course?"

The kid snapped, "Yes, I've taken it."

How embarrassing. It's one thing to challenge someone politely on a position or decision, but you have to address judges -- ESPECIALLY Supreme Court Justices -- with respect. Not only that, but as Harvard students, we owe every speaker who comes to talk to us a certain level of respect and deference. These people are taking time out of their schedules to come and share a little bit of wisdom or challenge us in some way, and they deserve to at least be spoken to in a respectful tone. It was pretty ridiculous for this random kid to think that he was entitled to stand up and speak -- nay, yell -- rudely at a Justice, just because he doesn't agree with Scalia. People like that are unbearably presumptuous because they assume that they are sailing on a cloud of righteousness above those whom they disagree with and can thus speak however they want to those below them whom they deem "wrong." But really, this guy was just some awkward kid with a piece of paper shaking in his hand, making a total ass of himself.

The only other things I've thought to blog about have been random and fleeting: the intoxicating smell of hamburgers in the air and how it never fails to improve my mood, my theories about winter and winter-haters like me, the ghetto-ness of Harvard health facilities as compared to Stanford, why are omelettes so damn good?, etc. Maybe I will get to these fascinating topics at another time. Right now I am going to go put on another layer and shiver myself to sleep while watching Law and Order SVU.

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