Justice Scalia carries around a pocket Constitution

May 23rd, 2012

What might serve as a metaphor for Scalia’s primary theme throughout his visit occurred during his lunchtime question-and-answer session with students. The Justice’s first questioner, Barrett Young, ’14, inquired about the relevance of a section of the Constitution to Scalia’s view of limited federal-government powers. Within moments, Scalia had his pocket copy of the Constitution opened to the section in question—and so did Young. “Are you reading from the same Constitution I am?” Scalia asked.

And so does my friend Barrett, who got a good shot-out in the Chicago alumni magazine.

And it was RBG’s idea to ride an elephant!

Late in the questioning, Paxton Williams, ’13, was called on. “I have a question I’ve been wanting to ask you since 1994,” Williams said. Scalia asked, “Really? What did I do in 1994?” “You went to India,” Williams responded, “and what I want to know is, whose idea was it to take the elephant ride?” To much laughter, Scalia answered, “It was probably Ruth’s. I have a wonderful picture at home of me and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the back of an elephant, led by a guy in a turban. Ruth is an incredible lady. We taught some summers together in Nice, and she went parasailing! You know, I’m surprised she ever came down—she’s so light. I wouldn’t go parasailing—are you crazy? So I’m pretty sure the elephant ride was Ruth’s idea.”