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.