Following News of Scalia’s Death, University Officials Issue Statement on Boe Forum

Justice Antonin Scalia

Photo credit: The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

In the wake of today’s news that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died, Augustana University officials have announced that the Boe Forum on Public Affairs, originally planned for Wednesday, March 9, has been canceled.

Justice Scalia was to have been the featured speaker at the 20th Boe Forum for a discussion on "Whether the U.S. Constitution is a Living Document.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Scalia family, the members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and our nation at this difficult time."
— President Rob Oliver

More than 3,000 free tickets had been reserved for the Boe Forum, sponsored by the Center for Western Studies.

“Since its inception in 1995, the Boe Forum on Public Affairs has sought to provide access to individuals who can address events, issues, or problems of worldwide or national concern and of broad public interest,” said Dr. Harry Thompson, executive director of the Center for Western Studies, in November when the University announced Scalia as the Boe speaker.

“Justice Scalia was, without question, such an individual," Thompson said.

Following last Fall's announcement of Scalia as the Boe speaker, members of the Boe Forum Committee said, “Justice Scalia’s presence on campus and his discussion before students and the public will no doubt challenge all of us to examine the ever-important role the Constitution holds in our society today.”

Dr. Peter Schotten, professor of government and international affairs/political science, teaches courses in constitutional law and political philosophy at Augustana and also serves as the University’s pre-law advisor. He shared his thoughts on Scalia's legacy:

"Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia led at least three legal lives: as a rigorous law professor, as a careful scholar of the law, and as an eminent jurist. He was equally at home on the bench and behind a college or university lectern. Taken as a whole, his legal writings and opinions attempted to reconcile two ideas that do not always travel well together: democratic self-government and the rule of law," Schotten said. "In a hyper-political age where legal issues often become merely partisan shouting matches, Scalia was too frequently described only in political terms. Lost in the heat of that description was Scalia's larger legal project for which he will be best remembered: to anchor judging within the text and context of the Constitution and to help delineate the proper boundaries in which unelected and unrepresentative judges may legitimately decide our most pressing and divisive issues of public policy." 

"Justice Scalia was to present his constitutional understanding at Augustana University's Boe Forum March 9. He was also scheduled to teach a class in constitutional law. Each would have provided an uncommon educational opportunity for Augustana's students. Sadly, it will not be," Schotten said.