U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Thursday gave a history lesson on the Magna Carta before an annual gathering of conservative lawyers in Washington, keeping any opinions on contemporary high court matters to himself.

Scalia, who delivered the opening remarks at The Federalist Society’s 2014 National Lawyers Convention, traced the evolution of the charter sealed by King John of England in 1215 and discussed its influence on the U.S. Constitution. His talk comes as one of the four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta is on exhibit at the Library of Congress. The Federalist Society is a cosponsor of the exhibition.

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