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Scalia at UNH: Law Schools Have Failed Today’s Students

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of New Hampshire School of Law annual dinner celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Wentworth by the Sea hotel in New Castle, N.H., Friday, March 22, 2013. (AP Photo/The Herald, Ioanna Raptis)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of New Hampshire School of Law annual dinner celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Wentworth by the Sea hotel in New Castle, N.H., Friday, March 22, 2013. (AP Photo/The Herald, Ioanna Raptis)

New Castle, N.H. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Friday that modern legal education has “failed” students because it includes too many elective classes unrelated to law.

Scalia, the court’s longest service justice, was the keynote speaker Friday night at the 40th anniversary dinner for the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

The conservative justice said that law classes aren’t as rigorous as they used to be and that the curriculum with so many electives allows students to be lazy and avoid “the austere pleasures of doctrinal courses,” the Portsmouth Herald reported.

“The teaching of law has failed,” he said.

Scalia also targeted law professors, saying that they often become “prominent not because of how they teach but how they publish.” He said he was much the same way when he taught law at the University of Virginia, preferring to spend his time researching and writing instead of teaching.

The audience of about 300 guests and alumni laughed when Scalia said he hopes “most of what I said has no application to this wonderful law school.”

President Ronald Reagan named the 77-year-old Scalia to the high court in 1986.

The state’s only law school got its start in 1973 as the Franklin Pierce Law Center and recently completed a merger with the University of New Hampshire.