Antonin Scalia Says Judicial Activism Could Be Worse

Outspoken jurist says Germans live under a more activist court.

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In honor of Constitution Day, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivered a lecture open to the George Washington University community Monday, Sept. 16, 2013.

Justice Antonin Scalia is classically a Debbie Downer about a Supreme Court he feels is too activist. But after traveling abroad recently, the justice feels a bit more chipper. "Things could be worse," Scalia said, explaining he had just come back from a conference in Berlin. The German supreme court, in Scalia's view, bosses around the country's legislature.

"It's good for me to go over there when I complain about the activism on my court," he said. "I feel so much better when I get back."

[READ: Scalia's Son Speaks at Conference Promoting Chastity for Gays]

The conservative justice also said that the Supreme Court isn't as supreme as everyone thinks. When it comes to day to day stuff, Scalia argued, it's the state supreme courts that count. "As big as the federal government has become it is still the case that most of the laws we live under are state laws," Scalia said Monday during a "Constitution Day Eve" talk at George Washington University.

Looking at standard crimes in the United States, Scalia pointed out that murder, rape and burglary are defined differently in each state and come with different punishments. Knowing those definitions can mean the difference between imprisonment and walking free. "You can kill somebody anywhere in the United States and if you do it right you have not violated the law," Scalia said. "You can't kill me, by the way," he joked.

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