Feb 4, 2010

Posted in Legal Profession, Liveblog

LiveBlog: Justice Thomas Speaks Live at University of Florida

Check out the webcast here. I will be liveblogging it here.


Update: Transcript of the event, after the jump. Definitely skim through it.

10:11
Justice Thomas giving introductor remarks about the Court, and different perspectives the Justices have.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:11
10:12
There’s a reason Plessy ends with Brown. The system must absorb it, understand it, and appreciate why its wrong.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:12
10:13
One of the thing he loves with his colleagues is that they can disagree. Respects all of his colleagues. Justice Ginsburg is a fantastic Judge, really respect.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:13
10:14
The institutions must be respected and preserved, not undermined. You are going to need them one day. You will not be able to preserve the liberties you enjoy unless you have these institutions.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:14
10:15
First question.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:15
10:16
Bust of his grandfather in Chambers with quote “Well Old Man Can’t is Dead. I buried him.”. One of the first items in his office.. busts of Frederick Douglas, booker t. washington, reagan, thatcher, and others. That bust is so important to me.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:16
10:17
How many people enjoyed 1L? One hand. -laughter-
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:17
10:18
I finished paying my student loans on my 3rd term on the Court.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:18
10:19
My grandfather is that “brooding omnipresence.” Holmes FTW!
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:19
10:19
2nd question. Since you came onto Court, technology and the Internet has changed the way we work. Has Court kept pace?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:19
10:19
Court kept pace internally. I have a blackbery. AMEN CT!
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:19
10:20
SCOTUS uses Citrix and VPN to access his files.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:20
10:21
Technology has changed IP issues, search and seizure, regulatory structures, privacy issues.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:21
10:21
Pictures you put on facebook are permanent.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:21
10:22
Also, technology has obtained information in criminal context. Gov doesn’t need to come onto property to look into private affairs. Can seize information online. Just think about future where Internet providers cooperate with government, and able to tap into Over the air, or wireless transmissions.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:22
10:23
What role does Declaration of Independence play in interpreting our Constitution
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:23
10:24
It informs our interpretation. The notion is that we have a reason our Constitution has a structure. I have written extensively on the commerce clause. We have to retain the powers of the government to preserve our liberty. I like reading the Declaration and Constitution. It’s really not that long. And it’s fascinating.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:24
10:24
We keep small copies of the Constitution all over the House. AMEN!
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:24
10:25
Is the Constitution perfect? Is any Institution perfect? No.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:25
10:25
But you are still passionate about it. It is perfectible.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:25
10:27
In my lifetime, I could not go to law school in my Circuit. And now I am a Circuit Justice. The people who perfected this document allowed me to be here. It all started because of the Declaration. Is it perfect? No. Has everything been equalized? No. This document gives us the opportunity, building blocks to change. I get worked up about it.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:27
10:27
Question about Textualism
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:27
10:28
I take approach of first Justice Harlan. Harlan’s lone dissent in Plessy is a beautiful opinion. He laid out his prejudices. But this Constitution knows not caste and knows no color
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:28
10:29
When parties sign contract, ti is intent of parties. When you look at statute, it is intent of drafters. Try to look at intent of people who drafted it, and the words they used, and try to understand it. That is an awesome undertaking. What I try to do is separate my own views, as Harlan did, from what Framers said
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:29
10:30
Discussing McIntyre (Anonymous Speech case). He thinks that if you say something, you should put your name on it.. My view is, but. The Constitution allows anonymous speech, whether I like it or not. I’m not into worshiping methodologies. My approach is to find a way to be true to intent of drafters of Constitution.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:30
10:31
Question. Student recalling story of when Thomas found a wallet in the street and he said honesty is what you do when no one is looking. Does our profession lack professionalism or civility?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:31
10:31
Answer- we are not perfect, we always do wrong. I always try to look at it the other way. What can we do to make it better?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:31
10:33
You are all starting, and can make your own mark. You can decide that you don’t want to do it this way.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:33
10:34
When I saw that wallet, I thought it was mana from heaven. But I realized, it’s not mine.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:34
10:35
The same attitude I had towards the wallet, is the attitude towards the Constitution. It’s not mine. It’s your Constitution [This is what CT inscribed in my Constitution]. It’s not my job to insert my opinion. But my opinions are not to displace your Constitution.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:35
10:36
Great Lincoln quote: “I will prepare myself, and when the time comes, I will be ready.” Your turn is coming. You can spend your time worrying what’s wrong. Or get ready to correct it when you have your turn.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:36
10:37
Question- What would it take for an advocate to change his mind during SCOTUS oral arguments?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:37
10:37
Well, if my colleagues would let me talk… [Laughter]
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:37
10:39
I have been persuaded by a lawyer out of Florida. She was clear, honest, knew her case, responded, and won her case. Some cases where you are not at rest. You need to know the facts, and be honest. Your calling card is your credibility. If you lose that, you’re done.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:39
10:39
Question about the Cert pool, gives clerks too large a role. What is value of cert pool to the Court?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:39
10:41
Cert pool is nothing more than indicator. Read it. Go through it. He goes through every single petition, and he knows what he’s looking for. No matter what the clerk recommends, he goes back and double checks. He does cert petitions on the weekend, gets into a rhythm.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:41
10:41
I don’t rely that much on work clerks do. It’s only an indicator.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:41
10:42
Question about selecting clerks from Ivy League institutions. Why have you broken this mold? How can we one day clerk for you?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:42
10:42
People like their comfort zones. We have allowed qualifications to be defined based on where you go to school.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:42
10:42
8/9 Justices from Ivy League.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:42
10:42
I don’t believe the Ivy League has a monopoly on intelligence, and the best kids to clerk
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:42
10:43
If you want diversity, not all Justices should be from Ivy
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:43
10:43
I have a preference for non-Ivy league clerks
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:43
10:43
I’m not part of this faux state of nobility
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:43
10:44
Clerks last year from George Mason (WILL CONSOVOY FTW!), Rutgers, George Washignton, and Creighton. This year Harvard, Yale, Utah, and Notre Dame
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:44
10:44
The self proclaimed “smart bloggers” referred to my clerks as TTT “third tier trash.”
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:44
10:44
The rule is you select from right near the top of the class
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:44
10:46
I also look for kids who are self-starters. They are adults. I’m not in business of repeating myself. We have meeting of the minds early. When I want my stuff done, I want it done. I have zero tolerance for mistakes, tardiness, or excuses. No learning curve. Hit the ground running. I am beginning to take clerks from the 11th Circuit. A matter of time before I have clerks from the University of Florida law school. My preference is to visit law schools in my circuit. I intend to be a full participant in this Circuit because this is part of my judicial family
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:46
10:46
Question about Letter from Birmingham Jail. Can you elaborate on role of natural law in our society?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:46
10:47
I don’t know how much of a role it has today, but the Declaration provides a basis for this natural law.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:47
10:47
Question- ABA accrediting new law schools, law firms laying people off. What role should law school take to educate law students about the legal market?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:47
10:48
Answer- I couldn’t get a job out of law school. But that’s why i wound up in Missouri, and that put me on the path to the Supreme Court. Otherwise I would be a tax layer in Georgia.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:48
10:49
I thought I was going to be a tax layer in Georgia, but I became a Justice on the Supreme Court
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:49
10:49
Question about Citizens United. Dissented from Part IV (disclosure requirementsa re unconstitutional restriction)
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:49
10:50
Answer- I did a good job in McIntyre talking about free speech.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:50
10:50
Our framers used pseudonyms, spoke anonymously
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:50
10:50
Question- why have you chosen to meet with students rather than Professors?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:50
10:50
Answer- i love meeting with students. I insist on hanging with students
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:50
10:52
Chatting with clerks and students energizes me.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:52
10:52
Student once asked: What is it most you like about being an American? That question made me really think
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:52
10:53
I don’t like big events. I’m not Washington type person. I don’t hang out at Operas. I am not a member of country clubs. Maybe this has to do with wanting to become a priest
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:53
10:53
I remember as a student being annoyed with dignitaries avoiding the students to speak with the teachers. I never want to do that
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:53
10:55
Question- How did prior experiences aid you when you came to the bench?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:55
10:55
Answer- Every job you have will help you do the next job
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:55
10:55
Advice- work for the person. Not the job.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:55
10:56
If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:56
10:56
Even as a dishwasher, did it right
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:56
10:57
Job that prepared me the most for the Court was at EEOC. No one was watching, and “I was getting the heck beat out of me every time I made a policy decision.”
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:57
10:58
Most important thing to become a Judge, is when the storm starts blowing, and criticisms start, are you going to wilt or run?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:58
10:58
It is hard to not take shortcuts. But in retrospect, every experience has been worth it.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:58
10:58
Question- Who is most influential role model in your life?
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:58
10:59
Answer- two most influential people have been my grandparents
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:59
10:59
I like reading classics, economics, history, but I don’t know those people. I know about them. It’s the people who were there and did it by example.
Thursday February 4, 2010 10:59
11:00
My grandfather told me “I won’t tell you what to do. I’ll tell you to do what I do.”
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:00
11:00
Thomas tells his law clerks to watch what he does. Do as I do.
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:00
11:02
Question- How do you balance Precedents with Original Intent?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:02
11:02
Answer- I believe in stare decisis, but the original precedent is the Constitution.
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:02
11:02
If we give value to precedents over the Constitution, Plessy would still be good law
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:02
11:02
If I am on the Circuit Court, or the district court, I would be bound by precedent
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:02
11:03
But SCOTUS is at the end of the food chain. If we don’t change it, who will?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:03
11:04
Easy for people who have never voted on an execution. For a person who has to vote on it, it is a life or death decision. And you spend a lot of time thinking, am I right? What are the consequences? What if I’m wrong? With that burden, I always try to get it right
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:04
11:04
How has your judicial philosophy changed since your experiences at the D.C. Circuit?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:04
11:04
Answer- I didn’t have a judicial philosophy. Who among us has it all worked out?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:04
11:05
My judicial philosophy is to try to get it right. Never displace your laws with my personal preferences.
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:05
11:06
Question about CVSG
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:06
11:07
Answer- want to know what United States thinks. SG is known as 10th Justice (cf. FantasySCOTUS.net)
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:07
11:08
Question – Will Americans look past race in the future?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:08
11:09
Growing up in the South, it is hard to believe this. But I have hope the Country will live up to its promises
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:09
11:11
When I was your age, I was steeped in cynicism. I was totally absorbed by my bitterness. I urge you not to be this way.
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:11
11:12
Question- quote by Bobby Knight. CT is a friend of Knight! “Most people have the will to win. few have the will to prepare to win.” Role of preparation in the law?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:12
11:12
Do you have will and discipline to prepare to change things? Or are you content to just protest and be cynical?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:12
11:13
CT became good friends with Bobby Knight because of that quote
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:13
11:13
People want to do things, but don’t want to work all that hard to do it
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:13
11:15
Question- do you have a favorite founding father?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:15
11:16
Answer- I just haven’t thought about it deeply. I like Madison, Adams. Franklin was odd in Paris. Jefferson was curious in everything. Maybe George Washington. he was the leader. Adams was a pain. I kinda like them all
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:16
11:16
Question- Circuit Riding.
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:16
11:16
I would be useless on the lower court. But I would love it. I have my RV and ready to go. Georgia, Florida, and Alabama
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:16
11:17
Circuit riding during college football season. I’d stay on road the entire season to go tailgaiting
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:17
11:17
Rehnquist did not like talking about getting reversed as a district court judge
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:17
11:17
Eastwood- a man has to know his limitations
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:17
11:18
District and Magistrate Judges are a special breed. They are the entry point for our system. They are special. Some of us have no business treading on that ground
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:18
11:18
But I will ride circuit to visit with people at special events
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:18
11:19
How much is the Public’s confidence affected by makeup in judiciary? More faith in decisions of judges that look like us
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:19
11:19
We have faith in systems we think are fair
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:19
11:20
Near the end, time for 2 more questions
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:20
11:21
Question- What question has not been asked by students, but you would want to answer?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:21
11:21
You haven’t asked how we conduct ourselves and treat each other
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:21
11:23
It is worth doing unto others as you would have them do unto you
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:23
11:23
Having strong opinions is not a license to be a jerk
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:23
11:24
Question- What is your dream job?
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:24
11:24
Answer- maybe I don’t want to work
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:24
11:24
I would like to see as much of the US and small towns as I could. Visit small towns, visit with people, go to places from Man v. Food
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:24
11:26
What is your legacy? I don’t want a legacy, other than I had my turn, and did my best
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:26
11:26
Justice Marshall told CT: I did in my time what I had to do. You should do in your time what you have to do
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:26
11:29
End of questions
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:29
11:29
Gave CT a Gator Pin, welcomed him to “Gator Nation”
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:29
11:30
quoting McArthur- I mean what I say. i don’t right things just to write things. I’ll be back. And I hope when I come back, I’ll have time to chat with all of you
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:30
11:31
Stay positive, do the right thing, do your best. Thank you
Thursday February 4, 2010 11:31
11:31
OK, that’s it for me. Thanks for following, and thanks to How Appealing for the link
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