Mourning Scalia

We haven’t always been kind to Justice Scalia in these pages.  But not exactly unkind, either.

Ultimately, the mighty fall.  Just like the less mighty.  He was 79 and not the least bit addled, plying his trade at the highest levels right up to the end.  That’s a good way for a man of substance to go, and say what you will Antonin Scalia was without a doubt a man of substance.

He died in Texas.  That seems significant somehow, though we don’t know why at the moment.

Whether he will be known posthumously for his constitutional originalism or for something else we can’t say.  He was certainly a prolific contributor to his country, prompting a national conversation that has changed it considerably, often in good ways.

No, we didn’t always – or even often – agree with him.  But standing over everything, and all our differences, is the common mortality he, and we, and everyone else shares.  And we may have shared more than that:  after all, he was one of Georgetown’s finest sons, a prominent defender of the faith, and with nine children and apparently numerous grandchildren, his professional attainments are not his only, and perhaps not even his most important, contribution.

REQUIEM aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.  Requiescat in pace. Amen.



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2 responses to “Mourning Scalia

  1. Well said. It’s refreshing to hear a sometime critic of Scalia’s not celebrate his death. Some of the reactions I’ve heard from the left today have been pretty ugly and unfortunate. I was always displeased with his jurisprudence on balance, but expressing earnest, heartfelt joy at someone’s death is a line I hope never to cross.

    The polarization in this country gets pretty scary sometimes. On the right there was all that talk a few months ago about going back in time and assassinating the infant Hitler. That sort of thinking is disordered and destructive. Its endgame is something along the lines of what that mob did to Muammar al-Qaddafi in extremis. Yes, he had been a murderous tyrant, but that mob turned into a collective of monsters in its own right.

    As a practical matter, this polarized anger is one of the reasons why I keep an eye on the possibility of expatriating at some point and have looked into the Canadian immigration process. The anger in the US today can get alarmingly similar to what I’ve read about Nazi Germany, among other polities gone to hell on short order. Circumstances can get entirely beyond any individual’s control.

    This is a better time than most to reflect on the process-oriented stability of the US government and SCOTUS’s role in it. It’s imperfect, but most of the alternatives are hellish. It’s something we should all cherish and do our best to maintain as citizens.


    • The immediate resort to political calculation by, let’s face it, Republicans and conservatives reminds me of how low class they can be. Some regard for basic human decency is called for. A man’s death is not just another occasion for political position jockeying. At least Obama had a sense of that.


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