Antonin Scalia, 1936-2016

It was with the profoundest shock and sorrow that I learned, early this evening, of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

This is devastating news. I was an enormous admirer of this great jurist — not only as an irreplaceable defender of the Constitution, but as writer, a philosopher, a scholar, a humorist, a raconteur, and a patriot. His opinions stood out, always, for their clarity, scholarship, wit, and rigor — but also, without fail, for their unshakable fidelity to the Constitution, to the wisdom of the Framers, and to the principles upon which this extraordinary nation was founded. His opinions — perhaps, most of all, his withering dissents — will be an immortal contribution to the literature of jurisprudence.

This is also a political shock of the first magnitude. With the nation deeply, perhaps fatally, riven along widening and perhaps unbridgeable fissures, and a presidential election underway, what will happen now? The Republicans, such as they are, control the Senate; there are major cases on the SCOTUS docket; the Court (and the Constitution) has now lost its most reliable and articulate conservative champion. How will this all play out in the coming months? Already the battle lines are forming; would that there were a stouter heart than Mitch McConnell leading the Senate majority.

An old saying: “The cemeteries are full of indispensable men.” Cold comfort to the living; this is a shattering blow. There is rough water ahead, and perilous times.

Thank you, Justice Scalia. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

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4 Comments

  1. JK says

    http://observer.com/2016/02/a-tribute-to-justice-scalia-from-his-former-clerk/

    Posted February 14, 2016 at 12:32 am | Permalink
  2. Troy says

    I am glad to see this man dead. He has done more than most to destroy the concept of a republic of limited enumerated powers. The idea that he limited congress to the small list of enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8 is a joke. He has help expand police power, expand the power of the executive and descreased its accountability. IMHO he wrote the opinion that destroyed the republic,

    Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales is a case where he, and 6 other, ruled that the pigs have no duty to protect citizens. The Constitution is a social contract. I give up my power to due whatever I want when ever I want. Of course, my fellow citizen has that power too and, to use Hobbe;s analogy, that would lead to a state of nature violent, brutish, and short. So I give up some of my powers, mainly to do violence. And in exchange for my power to do violence at my whim, the state’s duty is to protect me from those who do not subsume to the contract.

    1999 years from now when they write about when the once wonderful experiment called the United States and they seek a point when it lost its way, this is a good point.

    The idea that he was an originalist is a joke. He was an originalist when it suited him.

    Posted February 14, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  3. Whitewall says

    Troy, I’m sorry, but you lost me at “ruled that the pigs have no duty to protect citizens.”

    Posted February 14, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  4. Always looking on the bright side, Malcolm.

    Posted February 16, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink