Virginia Democrats are attempting to prevent George Mason University from renaming its law school after the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.
The school received a $20 million donation from an anonymous donor with the proviso that the law school be named after Scalia, which prompted eleven Democrats to write to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, (SCHEV) demanding that the school refuse to use the late justice’s name.
On Tuesday, after briefly naming the law school the Antonin Scalia School of Law, which would have had the acronym ASSLAW, the school changed the prospective name to the Antonin Scalia Law school.
The letter from the partisan legislators stated that Scalia "was also one of the most controversial justices in modern history. Indeed, we have received pleas from alumni who are deeply concerned that this decision will undermine their ability to find future employment or undermine their professional reputation."
One of the legislators, Del. Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church, bragged that the petition he created to protest the name change had elicited over 1,000 signatures. He intoned that he was concerned for students at the law school, saying, "This is a big, in-your-face kind of a move," adding that the $20 million donation and a $10 million donation from the conservative Koch Foundation would attempt “to shape their young minds and train them in the Scalia way of thinking. That's troubling to me."
Simon has viciously attacked the prospective name change, writing, “When word of the name change spread on social media on the last day of March, many of us assumed it was an April Fool’s Day joke that someone’s intern had mistakenly released a day early.” Showing his vehement disregard for the Constitution and Scalia’s championing of an originalist perspective, Simon, whose vaunted law degree came from American University (Scalia graduated from Harvard Law School and was regarded as one of the most brilliant minds to serve on the Supreme Court) wrote, “Supporters of the name change will argue that regardless of what you think of Scalia’s political views and legal opinions, you have to admire his intellect. I would argue that originalism and textualism are anti-intellectual.”
Simon was echoed by Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, who complained,"To simply steamroll people's collective input over $20 million from an anonymous donor is outrageous.”
“When word of the name change spread on social media on the last day of March, many of us assumed it was an April Fool’s Day joke that someone’s intern had mistakenly released a day early.”
Intellectual giant Marcus Simon, Democrat from Virginia, slamming Antonin Scalia
Law school senior associate dean David Rehr responded, "We just want to be sure we're being respectful to Justice Scalia, to the school and our students" by using Scalia’s name. SCHEV spokesman Greg Weatherford said the council would consider George Mason University’s proposal for the name change.
Law school dean Henry Butler Butler stated that donations are treated as confidential while the terms are being negotiated; thus views from others are temporarily limited.