Antonin Scalia

Much has been written about the sudden death of Justice Scalia, February 13, 2016. This blog post doesn’t intend to analyze his tenure on the court, but to pass along my view of him, as a lawyer.

Above all other Justices who served with Justice Scalia, he was the only steadfast and uncompromising upholder of the “Rule of Law.” He had a rapier wit, and his arguments, particularly in dissent, sliced majority opinions to ribbons. Scalia was not partisan – though he was known as a conservative Justice. Rather, he interpreted law within its legislative context, overlaid, however by the United States Constitution.

His dissents in two cases are classic Scalia: the Kelo and the Obamacare decisions. I will not dissect the decisions – there is just too much meat, that to cut out any of it, would be to ruin the meal. Read them for yourselves and you’ll get a heavy dose of logic and reason cutting against the tortured logic of the majority in both cases.

What I mean about Scalia is that he did not decide what outcome he wanted, then reverse engineer the legal analysis to reach that conclusion. That kind of intellectual dishonesty was anathema to the law. And Scalia, both in open court, and in writing regularly called his peers out on such shenanigans.

Justice Scalia was the brightest mind on the court. He was scrupulous about his academic integrity. He is irreplaceable. He will be sorely missed – and our country is diminished by his death.

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