In the early 1980s I had the honor to work for Antonin Scalia at the magazine Regulation, of which he was then editor. By the time Justice Scalia died yesterday at age 79, he had become the premier jurist of our time, the most influential legal writer, and, in my view, the most important American conservative since Ronald Reagan. Initial reactions, which include some very fine appreciations: Cass Sunstein, Mark Stern, John McGinnis, Ross Douthat, Jacob Sullum, Ilya Shapiro, and, at Cato’s blog, Roger Pilon, Trevor Burrus, Ilya Shapiro again, and Tim Lynch.
I’m at work on a couple of pieces remembering and appreciating his life and work. In the mean time, here are a few tidbits from this website’s coverage over the years:
- His dissent in Maryland v. King, the “genetic panopticon” DNA-swab case (and related Newsweek);
- American Express v. Italian Colors: vindicating freedom of contract in the form of freedom to agree to predispute arbitration. And his majority opinion in Wal-Mart v. Dukes;
- On racial preferences and the case against the Court’s flawed Hunter/Seattle line of cases on when democratic processes are supposedly unfair to minorities;
- On his opposition to cameras in the courtroom;
- From his dissent in Brown v. Plata (court-ordered mass prisoner release): “It is important to recognize that the dressing-up of policy judgments as factual findings is not an error peculiar to this case. It is an unavoidable concomitant of institutional-reform litigation.”
- From his Aereo dissent: “It is not the role of this Court to identify and plug loopholes. It is the role of good lawyers to identify and exploit them, and the role of Congress to eliminate them if it wishes.”
- The Obergefell marriage case, and a remarkable anecdote from Roger Pilon about how consistent Scalia could be in opposing what he viewed as invented constitutional rights (more on Scalia and parental rights).
- On the Rule of Lenity and ambiguity in criminal law;
- James Maxeiner on Scalia’s thoughts on statutory interpretation and views on law school. Relatedly, modern restatements are of questionable value, judges must use with caution;
- ObamaCare becomes SCOTUSCare in King v. Burwell: the “Court keeps on hand a supply of what one observer called Get Out Of Bad Drafting Free cards.”