Sunday, February 14, 2016

Justice Scalia Now as Deceased as Non-Living Constitution

As the informed reader has no doubt heard, Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia has passed away at the age of 79.  May he rest in peace.  This unexpected twist reduces the Catholic majority on the court to a mere 5-3 advantage and removes a stalwart conservative with firm principles onto which he obdurately held in the face of social change with only a few select exceptions when they got in the way of important votes like Bush or Citizens United.  For Scalia, making law was like making love: you do it the same way they did it 200 years ago, except for the occasional whim when you want to fist it in the ass and piss all over it.

As a witty, staunch defender of the Rule of Law and limousine lecturer to America's finest law schools (now more than 200 locations!), he will be irreplaceable and greatly missed. The nation now faces a political stand-off in replacing him.  President Obama has already announced his intent to nominate a replacement for Senate consideration.  Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have already decided (over a weekend, no less!) that the next Supreme Court appointment should be made by the next President, preferring the Donald Trump dice-roll to a former constitutional law professor.  Let us all hope that a compromise candidate is named and America be blessed with the next Anthony Kennedy.

Such political maneuvers, though, are not our focus on this blog.  Instead, we celebrate Scalia's contributions to legal education beyond his annual tour.  In Scalia's view, legal education didn't teach much, but was invaluable as a three-year sorting function for separating gods and clods:
By and large, I’m going to be picking [clerks] from the law schools that basically are the hardest to get into,” Scalia said. “They admit the best and the brightest, and they may not teach very well, but you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they’re probably going to leave the best and the brightest, O.K.?
Words that will live on.  In an age where people are constantly wanting law schools to teach "practical" skills, Justice Scalia understood that the purpose of law school is not to be schooled in law, but to acquire a stamp on one's curriculum vitae to certify genuine intellect and societal worth.  The Supreme Court, with its grand tradition of well-reasoned opinions that guide the nation's legal superstructure, depends not on practitioners with real-world abilities, but rather on an endless conveyor belt of Harvard and Yale graduates to pontificate, that innate skill held by elitists who clearly earned every promotion that they were quickly given.

It doesn't take real-world skills to write twenty pages that punt the most important issues in a case; it takes pedigree.  Justice Scalia understood this concept.  Sure, nothing stops a 174 LSAT from staying home and going to Florida State or Colorado, and nothing stops Georgetown from admitting total nincompoops and laughing about it in the faculty lounge.  But to use that sort of "logic" would jeopardize the Rule of Law, if not America.

Law schools simply aren't designed to teach.  They weren't designed to do so in the 60s and therefore they shouldn't be amended to do so now.  Their purpose is to let silk purses be silky and sow's ears to be sow-y.  Such a stable system provides the public with confidence that their legal sector is well-maintained, enforcing a stable framework where words like "Harvard Law School" and "AV Preeminent!" mean something dating back to Thomas Jefferson, all to preserve the almighty Rule of Law.

Reform, then, is not only superfluous, but potentially dangerous.  If you enforce some sort of useful pedagogy or merits-based consideration, even for a minority of schools, it may set a troubling trend where the best and the brightest may not leave the best and the brightest.  While we at the LSTC encourage law school experimentation as a cheap marketing exercise to rubes, to have the ABA or any other regulatory body make substantial changes to law school imperils the natural order and would undermine the Rule of Law.

So the best way to celebrate Justice Scalia's legacy would be to maintain the status quo: a system where our nation's best and brightest pay a hefty sum to take a three-year study vacation that teaches them little outside a selection of pleasant, antiquated writings and pseudo-philosophical conversations where windbags blow past each other.  Then, they would stride into good jobs where they then learn the actual craft of law as relevant to their station.  Recycle graduates of the most prestigious institutions for the top positions and leave the remainder of law schools to educate those who will serve the grossly under-served remainder of the population. 

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


  1. Sarcastic insults for the newly deceased? You stay classy, Law School Truth Center!

    If you really want to have 5 dangerous ultraleft lunatics ruling you like kings, there's already a veritable, extremely tasty buffet of third-world shitholes that you can move to THIS VERY INSTANT. Where religion and property rights are both as dead as fucking doornails. North Korea, Cuba, or any of the lush isles in sub-Saharan Africa. Why don't you move, I'm sure those countries would loooove to have a hard-working and enterprising winner like you come live there. And work you would, my friend: you would probably LITERALLY be worked to death on some godforsaken assembly line.

    1. Cut the crap. This is the most radical (beyond Conservative) butts on the bench in history. Even Dred Scott had Consitutional precedent...
      Scalia, et. al. just shred the Constitution, making it up as they go along.

  2. Oh, look here, another right-winger who's suddenly concerned about "respecting the newly dead", even though Breitbart wasted no time dancing around Ted Kennedy's grave. While I feel bad for his family, let's face it: Scalia was a real shitbird jurist who basically legalized bribery in politics after the Koch Brothers had him over at their sauna. He got his kicks from trolling whenever possible with obnoxious commentary, and tried to disguise his mercenary mindset with the brush of being a "strict originalist".

    Sure, there's a significant chance of Obama's pick being another out of touch, pendantic academic, who will spout off lofty idealistic terms, while not really "getting it" as far as what it's like to be a normal person. But in this day and age, you take the lesser of the evils, and that kind of candidate is still better than what the above poster would prefer: someone who will continue to try to dismantle what miniscule safeguards exist against the mounting corruption in our system, while trying to appease the increasingly more paranoid and intolerant far-right base.

    Then again, Anonymous is probably just another victim of political Stockholm Syndrome, railing about whether some Liffy Lads are allowed to marry each other, while the powers that be chuckle at how easily he's distracted from how they are working against his real interests. At the end of the day, there are very few out there who really have our interests at heart, and have the ability to really affect any change. Who are they? Damned if I know. certainly ain't the law schools, to get back on topic. And LSTC hit the nail right on the head about it being simply "pedigree re-affirmation" with law school.

    1. @12:51,

      Short version: Scalia disagrees with your crackpot views, so you want to dance on his grave.

      LEAVE THE COUNTRY. NOW. There are more "deserving" places for you to live. Places that - like you - don't brook all this fucking bullshit about "protecting" "political speech."

    2. ....How hard is it to be as stupid as you? Does it take a lot of work? This is an honest question, Mr. Stockholm Syndrome. Do you think that somehow, by defending legalized bribery, you'll get a little more porridge, Oliver Twist? As far as "leaving the country...NOW", I see another bigmouth fake tough guy, telling someone to do something he will never have the cajones to enforce.

      Have fun scrawling another "Love It Or Leave It" t-shirt in crayon, bub.

  3. I don't have many good words for Scalia and his reactionary "originalist" approach, nor do I share his repugnant élitism. But let's face it: his comment above is correct.

    Maybe there's a diamond in the rough at Cooley or Brooklyn or Nova Southeastern. That wouldn't surprise me: someone might well turn Harvard down in favor of the local toilet on account of money, familial obligations, or other factors. But that person will never get an interview for a high-level clerkship, even though she may outstrip every other applicant. The name of a Cooleyite toilet on her résumé will damn her to obscurity.

    Is everyone at Harvard a silk purse? Far from it! Harvard has plenty of sows' ears, most of whom got in because of Daddy's bank balance. But all will benefit from Harvard's prestige.

    When I advise people to stay away from law schools that don't offer an acceptable chance of adequate employment (all but 13–16 law schools, by my count), it is not because those law schools do not teach law well enough; on the contrary, I believe that Valpo teaches law about as well as Yale (which, as Scalia indicated, doesn't say much). It is because the name of the law school confers a big advantage or disadvantage—undeserved, yes, but nonetheless real and important.

  4. In the interest of speaking a kind word about the recently deceased, Scalia was not a total hypocrite in the domain of criminal law. He used original intent analysis to sweep away judicially-created exceptions to a defendant's Confrontation Clause rights. Scalia may not have cared about the execution of innocents, but he was genuinely riled up about the nonappearance of a key prosecution witness in the treason trial of Sir Walter Raleigh in 1603.

    1. He was also a fair defender of 1st and 4th amendment rights.

  5. The man was a pig, plain and simple. He could always be counted on to defend the ultrawealthy and powerful and to always defecate on the powerless. Furthermore, he was an unrepentant twat who actively worked to stop the Florida recount in 2000, even though election laws are through the states. Apparently, he couldn't risk allowing the recount to go any further. Go to hell, you piece of garbage.

  6. "For Scalia, making law was like making love: you do it the same way they did it 200 years ago, except for the occasional whim when you want to fist it in the ass and piss all over it."

    I don't think I have ever read a more succinct or accurate summary of Scalia's judicial philosophy.

  7. While I would not want to join in the sarcastic insults of the recently dead, Justice Scalia's death actually is in some sense an opportunity.

    Think about it, Scamdeans and law school shills have been arguing for at least a decade that there will be jobs for law grads because older lawyers will eventually retire and die. In this instance they are right, an older lawyer died and now there is a position open. If you think you would want it you can mail a resume and cover letter to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20006.

    Granted this particular position will probably go to a graduate of Harvard or Yale, or maybe from a school as low on the rankings as Columbia if the stars align just so. I'll also help to be connected and have had prestigious positions in the judiciary or the government.

    But even so, this thing is not just a scam, it's a pyramid. Some highly connected grandee will be elevated to the Supreme Court, then a slightly less connected person will become a Federal appellate judge, then a partnership will open up at a big law firm, which will get filled by a Federal Prosecutor, who will then need to and will be replaced by a big law associate, after that big law will have to hire a lawyer from a mid sized firm to backfill their promoted associate, leaving an opening at the mid sized firm to be filled by someone in shit law meaning the shitlaw boss will then have to hire a doc reviewer to replace the lawyer they yelled at daily therefore there will be a brand new opening in the doc review circuit for a third tier grad to get into the legal profession!

  8. 180, LSTC. Regardless of whatever side of the political fence one may end up being butthurt over, one can't argue with the ultimate conclusion.