LSU Professor remembers his time with late Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia remembered by Baton Rouge area legal authorities

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On the fourth floor of the LSU Law Center, just visible from the door of an office dubbed the museum is a seat with a sign reading "Reserved for Justice Scalia."

"He considered me his provocateur," said constitutional law Professor Paul Baier.

Baier picked up the sign during a speech Scalia gave many years ago.  He says he keeps a seat in his office waiting for the late Justice for two reasons.  One, is to catch the "attention of colleagues and students who pass by." The second, it to serve as a reminder of a summer in Siena, Italy, where Baier taught alongside Scalia, challenging him on his notably stubborn originalist views on the constitution.

"Everyone has heard of the big bang, said Baier.  "For Scalia, the Big Bang was in Philadelphia when the constitution was created, hammered out, 1787."

Scalia believed the constitution should be interpreted in the same way those who framed it did more than 200 years ago.  Baier disagrees, saying many liberties enjoyed today came out of an evolving constitution.

The two often debated the point.  Scalia even signed an autograph saying "To my Siena provocateur."

However, it was that same fiery stubbornness that Baier says he admired and respected.  So, Baier says Scalia's seat will remain among the many photos and books and memories of legal giants honored in his office, along with this memorable advice:
"He said to teachers of the law, you do more by teaching your students virtue and responsibility to promote our freedoms than to bury them in a case book and teach them the law," said Baier.

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