U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose latest controversial remarks from the bench have landed him in the center of debate over affirmative action, will speak at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie on Saturday.
His topic will be another hot-button issue — religious freedom — and the talk will be free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by Rummel and Catholic Community Radio, based in Baton Rouge.
He is scheduled to speak in Rummel’s gymnasium at 11 a.m.
Scalia, a Catholic appointed to the high court by President Ronald Reagan, made headlines recently for his take on whether top universities should continue to consider race in the admissions process.
During oral arguments before the court Dec. 9 in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, he asked whether it might be better for African-American students to attend “a less advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well.”
“One of the briefs pointed out that most of … the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas,” Scalia continued. “They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”
His comments have provoked a considerable backlash. There’s now a Twitter hashtag called #StayMadAbby, where users have posted photos of black college graduates donning caps and gowns and holding college diplomas. Abigail Fisher, a woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, is the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case.
Catholic Community Radio President and General Manager David Dawson said Rummel was chosen as the venue for Scalia’s talk mainly for its proximity to the airport and for having enough seating to accommodate a large crowd.
Scalia also spoke at a 2013 Baton Rouge event sponsored by the radio station, Dawson said.
Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.