I read with slight amusement the article in the Huffington Post about young freshman Duncan Hosie and his question to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as to "why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder."
Scalia's response:"It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the `reduction to the absurd,'" Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?"
Only in America can you have an 18 year old college freshman ask a question of a member of the highest court in the land... and have the younger member of the Q&A treated, in some quarters, as though his query was wise and the older respondent's answer as foolish.
Especially on the issue of gay marriage.
Yet, attempting to trump a Supreme Court Justice may look sexy to the press, but it just doesn't work.
In many casess, as older professional people we probably would listen to a college freshman's question but we'd screen both his/her question through the grid of youth as we answered it with a sigh of experience.
Scalia's "reduction to the absurd" is a debate/speech technique that has stood the test of time - long before we had a nation or it's Supreme Court. The Justice was not being dismissive of the the freshman, just straight forward.
As the Supreme Court deals with the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 there will be many, many people across the land who will engage in this debate - much like young Hosie - but in the end, it will be a handful of Justices who will decide.
And that decision will be final.
Even for a freshman in college.