1. He was a great writer. One of the things I figured out 35 years ago is that Leftist justices are horrible writers. At first, I thought this was a coincidence. I eventually realized, though, that if you have to cite three different cases in order to support four disparate points in a single sentence, you’re not relying on precedent. Instead, you’re just making it up as you go along, and dressing it up in a slimy filament of ostensible case authority. Scalia’s decisions never fell prey to that pernicious habit. He wrote in a clear, declarative fashion, looking first to the Constitution and then at legitimate case precedent flowing from it. When I read his decisions, I didn’t feel as if I was suffering from brain death; I felt stimulated.
2. He was a true constitutionalist. Aside from the vigor and intelligence that shaped his opinions, Scalia’s true genius was that he trusted the Constitution. He believed that America’s greatness and her citizens’ freedom were rooted in that contract and gave it his complete loyalty. He never allowed faddishness to deflect his focus on the rights the Constitution grants to Americans and the limitations it places on government. He was, in other words, the antithesis of a big government judicial activist.
3. He was a good friend. Every lawyer knows about the fact that Scalia was able to separate the personal from the political. He forged strong friendships with his fellow justices, no matter their ideological outlook.
4. I met his son once. A nice young man. We sat at the same table at a legal seminar.
5. McConnell, thank goodness, says that he will not be scheduling any hearings to replace Scalia during the last few months of Obama’s term. Sure, the next president might be Hillary or Bernie, but the next president could also be Cruz, or Rubio, or even Trump. My sense is that, given the chance, Trump would appoint Judge Judy and, I have to say, Judge Judy would be a huge improvement over anyone a Leftist president would appoint.
6. I have to share with you the things that are cropping up on the Lefter side of my Facebook feed. Some originated with my Leftist friends; some are things they “liked” (such as the Gov. Jerry Brown thing), and that therefore showed up on their feeds:
“Would the Republicans block it if President Obama nominated Hillary Clinton?” (No, of course not, because there’s nothing like putting on the Supreme Court a soon-to-be indicted woman who devastated American national security.)
From Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown: “Couldn’t Mitch McConnell have the decency to at least wait until the funeral before playing cynical politics with this vacancy. Such obstruction and sheer arrogance is unconscionable and deserves the condemnation of all Americans.”
Speaking of swift political action, could Obama have had the decency not to include in his bland, colorless statement his intention to nominate someone? (“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor in due time.”) And could Obama have found a moment to put on a tie out of respect? In light of the fact that Scalia was a Supreme Court justice who had served for thirty years, I think this image is disgraceful:
Bernie Sanders very graciously said, “While I differed with Justice Scalia’s views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme Court.” If you dislikes a person’s politics, that’s a classy way to remember them. Bernie may love his murderous communist dictators, but he can still present as a decent human being.
“I wonder how quickly President Obama can get a Supreme Court Justice approved?” (Not very quickly at all, God willing.)
A young man marked the occasion by putting this quote from Clarence Darrow on his Facebook page: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” (Too bad I don’t know that young man’s name, or I’d start scanning the obituary pages myself.)
“And Obama is still in office to appoint a more healthy Justice to the Supreme Court.”
“Now that Scalia is gone, who will help Clarence Thomas?” (And don’t you just love that oozing, suppurating racism?)