George Mason aims to rename law school for controversial Justice Antonin Scalia
In exchange for $30 million, the NoVA college George Mason University will rename its law school after the recently Deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
According to the Washington Post, the college was approached by a donor who offered the money and asked for the college’s law school be renamed. $20 million will come from an anonymous donor, and $10 million came from the Charles Koch Foundation. The Koch family is well known for their conservative advocacy.
After GMU’s Board of Visitors approved the name change, Ángel Cabrera, the university’s president, called the event a “milestone moment for the university.”
“These gifts will create opportunities to attract and retain the best and brightest students, deliver on our mission of inclusive excellence, and continue our goal to make Mason one of the preeminent law schools in the country,” he said.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who considered herself a friend to the late Scalia, also released a statement commending the former justice as a “law teacher, public servant, legal commentator, and jurist nonpareil.”
“As a colleague who held him in highest esteem and great affection, I miss his bright company and the stimulus he provided, his opinions ever challenging me to meet his best efforts with my own,” she said. “It is a tribute altogether fitting that George Mason University’s law school will bear his name. May the funds for scholarships, faculty growth, and curricular development aid the Antonin Scalia School of Law to achieve the excellence characteristic of Justice Scalia, grand master in life and law.”
Scalia’s tenure on the Supreme Court was marked with some of the most conservative and vitriolic comments in the high court’s modern history.
In the 2003 case Lawrence V. Texas that legalized sodomy across the US, Scalia compared it to the turn of the century fad of flagpole sitting.
“[S]uppose all the States had laws against flagpole sitting at one time, you know, there was a time when it was a popular thing and probably annoyed a lot of communities, and then almost all of them repealed those laws… Does that make flagpole sitting a fundamental right?”
Doubling down on his distain for LGBTQ rights, his dissenting opinion on Lawrence V. Texas included this tasteful nugget:
“Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home… They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
You can read more about Scalia’s anti-LGBTQ opinions here.
Pushback against GMU’s decision to change names has started to trickle through with LGBTQ-Ally and Northern VA Delegate Marcus Simon starting a petition to hear input from the community before making the switch.
“While it is the University’s prerogative to make the name change, I am deeply concerned about the message this sends,” Simon wrote in a statement sent out yesterday. “Removing George Mason, a Founding Father, from the school’s name and replacing it with the name of a former justice known for his controversial and extremely conservative opinions is a bold move. But not a good one.”
Simon said the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) still has to approve the change, and he called on Governor McAuliffe to step in with his own feelings on the situation.
“Justice Scalia,” Trump says in video from the second presidential debate. “Great Judge”October 20, 2016
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