Saturday, February 13, 2016

Obituary: Antonin Scalia

Yes, it is true. Right-wing USSC justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead, apparently of natural causes, at a Texas luxury resort.

Scalia had been on the high court since Reagan appointed him to the seat back in 1986.

He was on a hunting trip in Marfa when he died:

An El Paso source close to Justice Antonin Scalia tells ABC-7 that the 79-year-old died in his sleep last night after a day of quail hunting at Cibolo Creek Ranch outside of Marfa, Texas.

The Justice did not report feeling ill and retired to his room after dinner. The source, who was traveling with Scalia, told ABC-7 an El Paso priest has been called to Marfa.

Sounds like he had a heart attack.

And no, I will not make cracks about him not having any kind of heart or compassion.

He was a reliable right-wing justice throughout his time on the high court.

I don't think anybody expected he would be gone anytime soon. It was kind of a shock.

Now the USSC is going to be a major issue in the campaign. Obama can nominate a replacement, but my guess is the GOP will try and stall any appointment until after the election.

New York Times obituary:

He was, Judge Richard A. Posner wrote in The New Republic in 2011, “the most influential justice of the last quarter century.” Justice Scalia was a champion of originalism, the theory of constitutional interpretation that seeks to apply the understanding of those who drafted and ratified the Constitution. In Justice Scalia’s hands, originalism generally led to outcomes that pleased political conservatives, but not always. His approach was helpful to criminal defendants in cases involving sentencing and the cross-examination of witnesses.

Justice Scalia also disdained the use of legislative history — statements from members of Congress about the meaning and purposes of laws — in the judicial interpretation of statutes. He railed against vague laws that did not give potential defendants fair warning of what conduct was criminal. He preferred bright-line rules to legal balancing tests, and he was sharply critical of Supreme Court opinions that did not provide lower courts and litigants with clear guidance.

He was known for his dissents. The Times reporter mentions his dissents were written more for general audiences rather than for the legal community.

Scalia may have been an ideologue, but he apparently had good relationships with liberal members on the court including Ginsburg and Kagan.

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