Justice Scalia Remembered

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By Stephen Masker – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11201159

Justice Antonin Scalia was the most influential Supreme Court justice of the past 30 years because he had a clear, consistent, persuasive idea of how to interpret the Constitution. For almost three decades on the Court he defended the original meaning of the Constitution against the legal fads and inventions of more political Justices, leaving a judicial legacy that will carry long into the future.  He forged a reputation as the Court’s most influential conservative and was an icon in the larger conservative intellectual movement. Scalia galvanized a community of legal scholars, judges and practitioners to follow then twin approaches of textualism and originalism, disputing the notion of a “living Constitution.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks during a ceremony naming a courtroom at The John Marshall Law School after former Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Justice Scalia will be remembered for his writing style and his profound impact on oral argument through rapid-fire and pointed questions. He had a sharp pen and quick wit, but was often modest and charming. Friends and colleagues said he was a gifted storyteller and a delightful dinner companion, admired for his intellect and the model he set for how to maintain relationships with colleagues across the ideological spectrum, even as he vigorously disagreed with them on the bench and in his writing. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his ideological opposite on the Court, noted that Scalia was a jurist of “captivating brilliance and wit,” who could “make even the “most sober judge laugh.”

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Learn More

Justice Scalia is cited in a number of briefs prepared by Atlantic Legal Foundation. His influence on the justice system will long be remembered. Review the citations here.

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Antonin Scalia was confirmed by the US Senate on August 5, 1982, and was sworn in on August 17, 1982 (screen capture, C-SPAN)
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia addresses a Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) breakfast December 13, 2006 in McLean, Virginia. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
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