U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia urged U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets Tuesday to have affection for the U.S. Constitution they will swear to defend upon entering military service.

Scalia said in address at the academy in New London that the Constitution’s role in shaping the structure of government and its endurance set the United States apart from other countries, and it deserves the same level of attachment that people once showed for it in American life.

“It deserves your affection and your oath,” Scalia told the auditorium packed with cadets in dress blue uniforms.

Scalia, 78, also spoke of his own experience attending a military high school in New York City and said in his experience U.S. service academies, like the Coast Guard Academy, do more to foster moral formation and fidelity to duty than other colleges. One of his nine children attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

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