By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Discussion with Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia, moderated by Tim Russert, at the National Archives
April 21, 2005
Other pages in the O'Connor Institute Online Archive mentioned in this article:
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Justice O'Connor, what should the American people know about our Constitution?
It's unfortunate today, Tim, as you learned the other night, that young people in our country are growing up without any classes in civics, most of them without any knowledge or understanding of the Constitution or what's in it and what it protects for our citizens.
And this is a major problem for our country, because you don't inherit the knowledge through the gene pool. You have to learn it. Each generation has to learn it. And I think our goal ought to be, with young people, to give them the basics of what's in that.
When I travel around the world, I guess the thing that I have come to respect the most is our Constitution and our legal system in this country, which gives you a certain feeling of confidence in this country that I don't see elsewhere in the world.
Justice Scalia, what should the American people know about our Constitution?
JUSTICE SCALIA I have a talk that I give to young people now and then about the Constitution. And it begins by trying to make them realize that it is something -- a Constitution is of unique importance to Americans, for a number of reasons.
JUSTICE SCALIA For one thing, Americans are an odd society. I'm not sure one like this ever existed before. Martin Diamond, the political scientist at Georgetown, since deceased, once observed that there is no word in a foreign language equivalent