U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addressed School of Law students on Nov. 19, on the topic of separation of powers. It’s a subject “closest to my heart,” and one he teaches in summer law programs abroad every year, said Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Professor Kevin Walsh, who clerked for Scalia in the high court’s 2003-2004 term, helped arrange the presentation, held in conjunction with Scalia’s visit to the University campus as 2010 Orator in Residence.
Scalia had asked those planning to attend the presentation to read Federalist No. 48, Federalist No. 78, and Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Vol. 1, Ch. 6. He told the audience that the framers of the Constitution realized that the principal threat to liberty would be legislation. “The presidency is a very feeble institution compared to the legislature,” he said.
Following the talk, the Richmond Law Federalist Society held a private reception in Scalia’s honor for members of the student and lawyers chapters of the Federalist Society. The chapter presented the justice with the Joseph Story Award for contributions to constitutional scholarship.
In the evening, Scalia was the speaker at a Red Mass dinner program organized by Eric Gregory, L’02, assistant attorney general of Virginia and president of the St. Thomas More Society in Richmond. Walsh also was instrumental in Scalia’s presence at that event, held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.