Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia

Overview
Antonin Gregory Scalia (skəˈlijə; born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

 who serves as an Associate Justice
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States...

 of the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

. As the longest-serving justice on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice. Appointed to the Court by President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 in 1986, Scalia has been described as the intellectual anchor of the Court's conservative wing.

Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913...

, and attended public grade school and Catholic high school in New York City, where his family had moved.
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Encyclopedia
Antonin Gregory Scalia (skəˈlijə; born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

 who serves as an Associate Justice
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States...

 of the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

. As the longest-serving justice on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice. Appointed to the Court by President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 in 1986, Scalia has been described as the intellectual anchor of the Court's conservative wing.

Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913...

, and attended public grade school and Catholic high school in New York City, where his family had moved. He attended Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

 as an undergraduate and obtained his Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 degree from Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is the oldest continually-operating law school in the United States and is home to the largest academic law library in the world. The school is routinely ranked by the U.S...

. After spending six years in a Cleveland law firm, he became a law school professor. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 and Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 administrations, first at minor administrative agencies, and then as an assistant attorney general
United States Assistant Attorney General
Many of the divisions and offices of the United States Department of Justice are headed by an Assistant Attorney General.The President of the United States appoints individuals to the position of Assistant Attorney General with the advice and consent of the Senate...

. He spent most of the Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 years teaching at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society
Federalist Society
The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, most frequently called simply the Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist and/or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution...

. In 1982, he was appointed as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Appeals from the D.C. Circuit, as with all the U.S. Courts of Appeals, are heard on a...

 by President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

.

In 1986, Scalia was appointed by Reagan to the Supreme Court to fill the associate justice seat vacated when Justice William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist
William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States...

 was elevated to Chief Justice. Whereas Rehnquist's confirmation was contentious, Scalia was asked few difficult questions by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and faced no opposition. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, and took his seat on September 26, 1986.

In his quarter-century on the Court, Scalia has staked out a conservative ideology in his opinions, advocating textualism
Textualism
Textualism is a formalist theory of statutory interpretation, holding that a statute's ordinary meaning should govern its interpretation, as opposed to inquiries into non-textual sources such as the intention of the legislature in passing the law, the problem it was intended to remedy, or...

 in statutory interpretation
Statutory interpretation
Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is always necessary when a case involves a statute. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. But in many cases, there is some ambiguity or...

 and originalism
Originalism
In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a principle of interpretation that tries to discover the original meaning or intent of the constitution. It is based on the principle that the judiciary is not supposed to create, amend or repeal laws but only to uphold...

 in constitutional interpretation. He is a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposes affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 and other policies that treat minorities as groups. He files separate opinions in large numbers of cases, and, in his minority opinions, often castigates the Court's majority in scathing language.

Early life


An only child, Antonin Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913...

, on March 11, 1936. His father, Salvatore Eugene Scalia, was an immigrant from Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 who was a graduate student and clerk at the time of his son's birth, but who later became a professor of Romance languages at Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College is a senior college of the City University of New York, located in Brooklyn, New York, United States.Established in 1930 by the New York City Board of Higher Education, the College had its beginnings as the Downtown Brooklyn branches of Hunter College and the City College of New...

. His mother, Catherine Scalia (née Panaro), was born in the United States to Italian immigrant parents, and worked as an elementary school teacher.

When Antonin was six years old, the Scalia family moved to Elmhurst, Queens
Elmhurst, Queens
Elmhurst is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It is bounded by Roosevelt Avenue on the north; Corona to the northeast; Junction Boulevard on the east; Rego Park to the southeast; the Long Island Expressway on the south; Middle Village to the south and southwest; and Maspeth...

, in New York City. Antonin's parents drove the boy to excel in his schoolwork. After completing eighth grade
Eighth grade
Eighth grade is a year of education in the United States, Canada, Australia and other nations. Students are usually 13 - 14 years old. The eighth grade is typically the final grade before high school, and the ninth grade of public and private education, following kindergarten and subsequent grades...

 in public school, he obtained a scholarship to Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

-run Xavier High School in Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, where he graduated first in his class. Scalia later stated that he spent much of his time on schoolwork, and admitted, "I was never cool."

Classmate and future New York State official William Stern remembered Scalia in his high school days:


This kid was a conservative when he was 17 years old. An archconservative Catholic. He could have been a member of the Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

. He was the top student in the class. He was brilliant, way above everybody else.

Rejected from his first-choice school, Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, Scalia enrolled at Georgetown University
Georgetown College (Georgetown University)
Georgetown College, infrequently Georgetown College of Arts and Sciences, is the oldest school within Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The College is the largest undergraduate school at Georgetown, and until the founding of the Medical School in 1850, was the only higher education division...

 in 1953. He graduated valedictorian and summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in history from Georgetown in 1957. While at Georgetown, he also studied at the University of Fribourg
University of Fribourg
The University of Fribourg is a university in the city of Fribourg, Switzerland.The roots of the University can be traced back to 1582, when the notable Jesuit Peter Canisius founded the Collège Saint-Michel in the City of Fribourg. In 1763, an Academy of law was founded by the state of Frobourg...

, Switzerland and went on to study law at Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is the oldest continually-operating law school in the United States and is home to the largest academic law library in the world. The school is routinely ranked by the U.S...

, where he was a Notes Editor for the Harvard Law Review
Harvard Law Review
The Harvard Law Review is a journal of legal scholarship published by an independent student group at Harvard Law School.-Overview:According to the 2008 Journal Citation Reports, the Review is the most cited law review and has the second-highest impact factor in the category "law" after the...

. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law in 1960, becoming a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. The fellowship allowed him to travel throughout Europe during 1960–1961.

On September 10, 1960, Scalia married Maureen McCarthy, whom he met on a blind date while he was at Harvard Law School. Maureen Scalia had been an undergraduate at Radcliffe College
Radcliffe College
Radcliffe College was a women's liberal arts college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was the coordinate college for Harvard University. It was also one of the Seven Sisters colleges. Radcliffe College conferred joint Harvard-Radcliffe diplomas beginning in 1963 and a formal merger agreement with...

 when the two met, and subsequently obtained a degree in English from the school. The couple raised nine children, five boys and four girls.

Legal career


Scalia began his legal career at Jones, Day, Cockley and Reavis in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

, where he worked from 1961 to 1967. He was highly regarded at Jones Day and would most likely have made partner, but later stated he had long intended to teach. He became a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 in 1967, moving his family to Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville is an independent city geographically surrounded by but separate from Albemarle County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States, and named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the queen consort of King George III of the United Kingdom.The official population estimate for...

.

After four years in Charlottesville, in 1971, Scalia entered public service. President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 appointed him as the general counsel for the Office of Telecommunications Policy
Office of Telecommunications Policy
After President Nixon took office in 1969, Clay T. Whitehead, Special Assistant to the President, pushed to establish an executive office dedicated to telecommunications policy. The White House Office of Telecommunications Policy was established in 1970...

, where one of his principal assignments was to formulate federal policy for the growth of cable television. From 1972 to 1974, he was the chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States
Administrative Conference of the United States
The Administrative Conference of the United States is an independent agency of the United States government established by the Administrative Conference Act of 1964. It is also considered to be a federal advisory committee...

, a small independent agency that sought to improve the functioning of the federal bureaucracy. In mid-1974, Nixon nominated him as Assistant Attorney General
United States Assistant Attorney General
Many of the divisions and offices of the United States Department of Justice are headed by an Assistant Attorney General.The President of the United States appoints individuals to the position of Assistant Attorney General with the advice and consent of the Senate...

 for the Office of Legal Counsel
Office of Legal Counsel
The Office of Legal Counsel is an office in the United States Department of Justice that assists the Attorney General in his function as legal adviser to the President and all executive branch agencies.-History:...

. After Nixon's resignation, the nomination was continued by President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

, and Scalia was confirmed by the Senate on August 22, 1974.

In the aftermath of Watergate, the Ford administration was engaged in a number of conflicts with Congress. Scalia repeatedly testified before congressional committees, defending Ford administration assertions of executive privilege
Executive privilege
In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government...

 in refusing to turn over documents. Within the administration, Scalia advocated a presidential veto for a bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act, greatly increasing its scope. Scalia's position prevailed and Ford vetoed the bill, but Congress overrode it. In early 1976, Scalia argued his only case before the Supreme Court, Alfred Dunhill of London, Inc. v. Republic of Cuba. Scalia, on behalf of the U.S. government, argued in support of Dunhill, and that position prevailed.

Following Ford's defeat by President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, Scalia worked for several months at the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

. He then returned to academia, taking up residence at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 Law School
University of Chicago Law School
The University of Chicago Law School was founded in 1902 as the graduate school of law at the University of Chicago and is among the most prestigious and selective law schools in the world. The U.S. News & World Report currently ranks it fifth among U.S...

 from 1977 to 1982, though he spent one year as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is a graduate school at Stanford University located in the area known as the Silicon Valley, near Palo Alto, California in the United States. The Law School was established in 1893 when former President Benjamin Harrison joined the faculty as the first professor of law...

. In 1981, he became the first faculty adviser for the University of Chicago's chapter of the newly founded Federalist Society
Federalist Society
The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, most frequently called simply the Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist and/or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution...

.

Judge and nominee



When Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 was elected President in November 1980, Scalia hoped for a major position in the new administration. He was interviewed for the position of Solicitor General of the United States, but the position went to Rex E. Lee
Rex E. Lee
Rex Edwin Lee from St. Johns, Arizona was a Constitutional lawyer, a law clerk for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White, and the United States Solicitor General under the Reagan administration. He argued 59 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court...

, to Scalia's great disappointment. Scalia was offered a seat on the Chicago-based United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the courts in the following districts:* Central District of Illinois* Northern District of Illinois...

 in early 1982, but declined it, hoping to be appointed to the highly influential United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Appeals from the D.C. Circuit, as with all the U.S. Courts of Appeals, are heard on a...

 (D.C. Circuit). Later that year, Reagan offered Scalia a seat on the D.C. Circuit, which Scalia accepted. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 5, 1982, and was sworn in on August 17, 1982.

On the D.C. Circuit, Scalia built a conservative record, while winning applause in legal circles for powerful, witty legal writing, which was often critical of the Supreme Court precedents he was bound as a lower-court judge to follow. Scalia's opinions drew the attention of Reagan administration officials, who, according to The New York Times, "liked virtually everything they saw and ... listed him as a leading Supreme Court prospect." In 1985, though there was then no vacancy on the Court, Reagan administration officials put Scalia on a short list with fellow D.C. Circuit Judge Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

, to be considered if a justice left the Court. In 1986, Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 Warren Burger informed the White House of his intent to retire. Reagan first decided to nominate Associate Justice William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist
William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States...

 to become Chief Justice. This choice meant that Reagan would also have to choose a nominee to fill Rehnquist's seat as associate justice. Attorney General Edwin Meese
Edwin Meese
Edwin "Ed" Meese, III is an attorney, law professor, and author who served in official capacities within the Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Administration , the Reagan Presidential Transition Team , and the Reagan White House , eventually rising to hold the position of the 75th Attorney General of...

, who advised Reagan on the choice, only seriously considered Bork and Scalia. Feeling that this might well be Reagan's last opportunity to pick a Supreme Court justice, the President and his advisers chose Scalia over Bork as Scalia was ten years younger, and would likely serve longer on the Court. Scalia also had the advantage of not having Bork's "paper trail"; the elder judge had written controversial articles about individual rights. Scalia was called to the White House, and accepted Reagan's nomination.

When Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Scalia's nomination opened in August 1986, he faced a committee that had just wrangled over the Rehnquist nomination. Witnesses and Democratic senators contended that, before becoming a judge, Rehnquist had engaged in activities designed to discourage minorities from voting. Committee members had little taste for a second battle over Scalia and were in any event reluctant to oppose the first Italian-American Supreme Court nominee. The judge was not pressed heavily on controversial issues such as abortion or civil rights. Scalia, who attended the hearing with his wife and nine children seated behind him, found time for a humorous exchange with Democratic Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum
Howard Metzenbaum
Howard Morton Metzenbaum was an American politician who served for almost 20 years as a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from Ohio . He also served in the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate from 1943 to 1951.-Early life:Metzenbaum was born in Cleveland, to a poor Jewish family, the son...

, whom Scalia had defeated in a tennis match in, as the nominee put it, "a case of my integrity overcoming my judgment".

Scalia met no opposition from the committee. The full Senate debated Scalia's nomination only briefly, and he was confirmed 98–0 on September 17, 1986. This vote followed Rehnquist's confirmation as Chief Justice by a vote of 65–33 on the same day. One committee member, Democratic Delaware Senator (and future Vice President) Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

, later stated that he regretted not having opposed Scalia "because he was so effective".

Judicial performance


During oral argument before the Court, Scalia asks more questions and makes more comments than any other justice—and a 2005 study found that he provokes laughter more often than any of his colleagues. His goal during oral arguments is to get across his position to the other justices.
Kansas University social psychologist Lawrence Wrightsman wrote of Scalia's style, "he communicates a sense of urgency on the bench, and his style is forever forceful". Since Chief Justice John Roberts
John Roberts
John Glover Roberts, Jr. is the 17th and current Chief Justice of the United States. He has served since 2005, having been nominated by President George W. Bush after the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist...

 joined the Court in 2005, he has taken to questioning counsel in a manner similar to Scalia's and sometimes the two question counsel in seeming coordination. Dahlia Lithwick
Dahlia Lithwick
-External links:*...

 of Slate
Slate (magazine)
Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...

described Scalia's technique:

Scalia doesn't come into oral argument all secretive and sphinxlike, feigning indecision on the nuances of the case before him. He comes in like a medieval knight, girded for battle. He knows what the law is. He knows what the opinion should say. And he uses the hour allocated for argument to bludgeon his brethren into agreement.


Scalia has, from the start of his career on the Supreme Court, written large numbers of opinions. During his tenure, he has written more concurring opinion
Concurring opinion
In law, a concurring opinion is a written opinion by one or more judges of a court which agrees with the decision made by the majority of the court, but states different reasons as the basis for his or her decision...

s than any other justice, and only two justices have written more dissents
Dissenting opinion
A dissenting opinion is an opinion in a legal case written by one or more judges expressing disagreement with the majority opinion of the court which gives rise to its judgment....

. According to Kevin Ring, who compiled a book of Scalia's dissenting and concurring opinions, "His opinions are ... highly readable. His entertaining writing style can make even the most mundane areas of the law interesting." Conor Clarke of Slate comments on Scalia's written opinions, especially his dissents:


His writing style is best described as equal parts anger, confidence, and pageantry. Scalia has a taste for garish analogies and offbeat allusions—often very funny ones—and he speaks in no uncertain terms. He is highly accessible and tries not to get bogged down in abstruse legal jargon. But most of all, Scalia's opinions read like they're about to catch fire for pure outrage. He does not, in short, write like a happy man.


At the Supreme Court, justices meet after the case is briefed and argued, and vote on the result. The task of writing the opinion is assigned by the Chief Justice, or if he is in the minority or not participating, by the senior justice in the majority. After the assignment, the justices generally communicate about a case by sending notes and draft opinions to each others' chambers. In the give and take of opinion writing, Scalia does not compromise his views in order to attract five votes for a majority (unlike the late Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.
William J. Brennan, Jr.
William Joseph Brennan, Jr. was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1956 to 1990...

 who would accept less than he wanted in order to gain a partial victory). Scalia attempts to influence his colleagues by sending them "Ninograms"—short memoranda aimed at trying to get them to include his views in their opinions.

Scalia enjoys a warm relationship with fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice and the first Jewish female justice.She is generally viewed as belonging to...

, a liberal, with the two attending the opera together, and even appearing together onstage as extras in Washington National Opera
Washington National Opera
The Washington National Opera is an opera company in Washington, D.C., USA. Formerly the Opera Society of Washington and the Washington Opera, the company received Congressional designation as the National Opera Company in 2000. Performances are now given in the Opera House of the John F...

's 1994 production of Ariadne auf Naxos
Ariadne auf Naxos
Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Bringing together slapstick comedy and consuming beautiful music, the opera's theme is the competition between high and low art for the public's attention.- First version :The opera was originally...

. Ginsburg was a colleague of Scalia's on the D.C. Circuit, and the Scalias and Ginsburgs have dinner together every New Year's Eve.

Statutory and constitutional interpretation



Scalia describes himself as an originalist
Originalism
In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a principle of interpretation that tries to discover the original meaning or intent of the constitution. It is based on the principle that the judiciary is not supposed to create, amend or repeal laws but only to uphold...

, meaning that he interprets the Constitution of the United States as it would have been understood when it was adopted. According to Scalia, "It's what did the words mean to the people who ratified the Bill of Rights or who ratified the Constitution."

Constitutional amendments, such as the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

, according to Scalia, are to be interpreted based on their meaning at the time of ratification. Scalia is often asked how this approach justifies the result in the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 , was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which...

, which held that segregated schools were unconstitutional, and which relied on the Fourteenth Amendment for the result.
In a 2009 public "conversation" with Justice Stephen Breyer
Stephen Breyer
Stephen Gerald Breyer is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, Breyer is generally associated with the more liberal side of the Court....

, Breyer questioned Scalia regarding this approach, indicating that those who ratified the Fourteenth Amendment did not intend to end school segregation. Scalia has called this argument "waving the bloody shirt
Waving the bloody shirt
In the history of the United States, "waving the bloody shirt" refers to the practice of politicians referencing the blood of martyrs or heroes to criticize opponents. In American history, the phrase gained popularity with a fictitious incident in which Benjamin Franklin Butler of Massachusetts,...

 of Brown", and indicated that he would have joined the first Justice Harlan's
John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan was a Kentucky lawyer and politician who served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. He is most notable as the lone dissenter in the Civil Rights Cases , and Plessy v...

 solitary dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in private businesses , under the doctrine of "separate but equal".The decision was handed...

, the 1896 case that Brown overruled.

Scalia vociferously opposes the idea of a living constitution
Living Constitution
The Living Constitution is a concept in America, also referred to as loose constructionism, constitutional interpretation which claims that the Constitution has a dynamic meaning or that it has the properties of a human in the sense that it changes...

, or the power of the judiciary to modify the meaning of constitutional provisions to adapt them to changing times. Scalia has warned that if one accepts that constitutional standards should evolve with a maturing society, "the risk of assessing evolving standards is that it is all too easy to believe that evolution has culminated in one's own views." He compares the Constitution with statutes, which he contends are not understood to change their meaning through time.

Scalia is a textualist
Textualism
Textualism is a formalist theory of statutory interpretation, holding that a statute's ordinary meaning should govern its interpretation, as opposed to inquiries into non-textual sources such as the intention of the legislature in passing the law, the problem it was intended to remedy, or...

 in statutory interpretation
Statutory interpretation
Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is always necessary when a case involves a statute. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. But in many cases, there is some ambiguity or...

, believing that the ordinary meaning of the statute should govern. In interpreting statutes, he does not look to legislative history
Legislative history
Legislative history includes any of various materials generated in the course of creating legislation, such as committee reports, analysis by legislative counsel, committee hearings, floor debates, and histories of actions taken...

. In the 2006 case of Zedner v. United States
Zedner v. United States
Zedner v. United States, 547 U.S. 489 , was a United States Supreme Court case involving the right to a speedy trial. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for a unanimous Court, ruled that a defendant cannot prospectively waive the protections of the Speedy Trial Act...

, Scalia joined the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito
Samuel Alito
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the court since January 31, 2006....

—all except one paragraph of the opinion, in which Justice Alito cited legislative history. In a concurring opinion in that case, Scalia noted, "The use of legislative history is illegitimate and ill advised in the interpretation of any statute."

Scalia's originalist approach has come under attack from critics, who say that he only sees in the Constitution that which supports his personal beliefs. Those critics have stated that Scalia's true agenda is to reverse the decisions of the Warren
Warren Court
The Warren Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States between 1953 and 1969, when Earl Warren served as Chief Justice. Warren led a liberal majority that used judicial power in dramatic fashion, to the consternation of conservative opponents...

 and Burger Courts, which shaped the law in the 1960s and 1970s. Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government....

 has stated that Scalia's claim to an originalist philosophy is inconsistent with the justice's acceptance of the extension of certain constitutional rights to corporations when at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment's ratification, corporations were not commonly understood to possess constitutional rights. Nader's view, however, preceded the Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, , was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that the First Amendment prohibits government from censoring political broadcasts in candidate elections when those broadcasts are funded by corporations or unions...

. Scalia, in his concurrence in that case, traced his understanding of the rights of corporations at the time of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. His argument is based on the lack of an exception for corporations in the free speech guarantee in the Bill of Rights, and on several examples of corporate political speech from the time of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Professor Thomas Colby of The George Washington University National Law Center stated that Scalia's votes in Establishment Clause cases (the provision of the First Amendment that governs the relationship between church and state) do not stem from originalist views, but from conservative political convictions.

Separation of powers



It is Scalia's view that clear lines of separation among the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches follow directly from the Constitution, with no branch allowed to exercise powers granted to another branch. In his early days on the Court, he authored a powerful—and solitary—dissent in 1988's Morrison v. Olson
Morrison v. Olson
Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 , was a case that went before the Supreme Court of the United States. By a 7 to 1 margin, the Court ruled that the Independent Counsel Act was constitutional...

, in which the Court's majority upheld the Independent Counsel law
United States Office of the Independent Counsel
United States Office of the Independent Counsel was an independent prosecutor — distinct from the Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice — that provided reports to the Congress under . The office was terminated in 1999 and replaced by the U.S...

. Scalia's thirty-page draft dissent surprised Justice Harry Blackmun for its emotional content; Blackmun felt it could be cut down to ten pages if Scalia omitted "the screaming". Scalia indicated that the law was an unwarranted encroachment on the Executive Branch by the Legislative. He warned, "Frequently an issue of this sort will come before the Court clad, so to speak, in sheep's clothing ... But this wolf comes as a wolf."

The 1989 case of Mistretta v. United States
Mistretta v. United States
Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361 , is a case decided by the United States Supreme Court.-Background:John Mistretta, who sold cocaine, argued that the sentencing guidelines he was facing were unconstitutional due to a gross distribution of authority by Congress resulting in a violation of...

challenged the United States Sentencing Commission
United States Sentencing Commission
The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent agency of the judicial branch of the federal government of the United States. It is responsible for articulating the sentencing guidelines for the United States federal courts...

, an independent body within the Judicial Branch whose members (some of whom were federal judges) were removable only for good cause. The petitioner argued that the arrangement violated separation of powers, and that the United States Sentencing Guidelines promulgated by the Commission were invalid. Eight justices joined in the majority opinion written by Blackmun, upholding the Guidelines as constitutional. Scalia dissented, stating that the issuance of the Guidelines was a lawmaking function that Congress could not delegate, and dubbed the Commission "a sort of junior-varsity Congress".

In 1996, Congress passed the Line Item Veto Act which allowed the President to cancel items from an appropriations bill (a bill authorizing spending) once passed into law. The statute was challenged the following year. The matter rapidly reached the Supreme Court, which struck down the law as violating the Presentment Clause
Presentment Clause
The Presentment Clause of the United States Constitution outlines federal legislative procedure by which bills originating in Congress become federal law in the United States.-Text:...

 of the Constitution, which governs what the President may do with a bill once it has passed both Houses of Congress. Scalia dissented, seeing no Presentment Clause difficulties and feeling that the act did not violate separation of powers. Scalia indicated that he felt that authorizing the President to cancel an appropriation was no different from allowing him to spend an appropriation at his discretion, which had long been accepted as constitutional.

Detainee cases


In 2004, in Rasul v. Bush
Rasul v. Bush
Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision establishing that the U.S. court system has the authority to decide whether foreign nationals held in Guantanamo Bay were wrongfully imprisoned...

, the Court held that federal courts had jurisdiction
Subject-matter jurisdiction
Subject-matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court only has the authority to hear bankruptcy cases....

 to hear habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

petitions brought by detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq...

. Scalia accused the majority of "spring[ing] a trap on the Executive" by ruling that it could hear cases involving persons at Guantanamo when no federal court had ever ruled that it had the authority to hear cases involving people there.

Scalia (joined by Justice John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from December 19, 1975 until his retirement on June 29, 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest member of the Court and the third-longest serving justice in the Court's history...

) also dissented in the 2004 case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 was a U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing the dismissal of a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U.S. citizen being detained indefinitely as an "illegal enemy combatant." The Court recognized the power of the government to detain enemy...

, involving Yaser Hamdi, an American citizen detained in the United States on the allegation he was an enemy combatant
Enemy combatant
Enemy combatant is a term historically referring to members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war. Prior to 2008, the definition was: "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." In the case of a civil war or an...

. The Court held that the post-9/11 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) amounted to authorization for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the Government could continue to detain Hamdi. Scalia wrote that the AUMF could not be read to suspend habeas corpus and that the Court, faced with legislation by Congress which did not grant the President power to detain Hamdi, was trying to "Make Everything Come Out Right".

In March 2006, Scalia gave a talk at the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland, where he was asked about detainee rights. He responded, "Give me a break ... I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son, and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy." Though Scalia was not referring to any particular individual, the Supreme Court was about to consider the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan
Salim Ahmed Hamdan
Salim Ahmed Hamdan is a Yemeni man, captured during the invasion of Afghanistan, and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. He admits to being Osama bin Laden's personal driver claiming he needed the $200 monthly salary that came with the job....

, supposed driver to Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

, who was challenging the military commissions
Guantanamo military commission
The Guantanamo military commissions are military tribunals created by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for prosecuting detainees held in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps.- History :...

 at Guantanamo Bay. A group of retired military officers asked Scalia to recuse
Recusal
Judicial disqualification, also referred to as recusal, refers to the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer. Applicable statutes or canons of ethics may provide...

 himself, or step aside from hearing the case, which he declined to do. The Court held, 5–3, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 , is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that military commissions set up by the Bush administration to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay lack "the power to proceed because its structures and procedures violate both the Uniform Code of Military...

, that the federal courts had jurisdiction to consider Hamdan's claims; Scalia, in dissent, contended that any ability by the Court to consider Hamdan's petition had been eliminated by the jurisdiction stripping
Jurisdiction stripping
Jurisdiction stripping, also called curtailment of jurisdiction or court stripping, refers to the congressional practice of defining the jurisdiction of the United States federal judiciary as to eliminate its ability to hear certain classes of claims, thereby making certain legislative or executive...

 Detainee Treatment Act
Detainee Treatment Act
The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 is an Act of the United States Congress that prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay; requires military interrogations to be performed according to the U.S...

 of 2005.

Federalism


In federalism
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

 cases, pitting the powers of the federal government against those of the states, Scalia has often taken the states' positions. In 1997, the Supreme Court considered the case of Printz v. United States
Printz v. United States
Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 , was a United States Supreme Court ruling that established the unconstitutionality of certain interim provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.-The Gun Control Act of 1968:...

, a challenge to certain provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act is an Act of the United States Congress that, for the first time, instituted federal background checks on firearm purchasers in the United States....

 which required chief law enforcement officers of localities in states to perform certain duties. In Printz, Scalia wrote the Court's majority decision. The Supreme Court ruled the provision which imposed those duties unconstitutional as violating the Tenth Amendment
Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, was ratified on December 15, 1791...

, which reserves to the states and to the people those powers not granted to the Federal Government. In 2005, Scalia concurred in Gonzales v. Raich
Gonzales v. Raich
Gonzales v. Raich , 545 U.S. 1 , was a decision by the United States Supreme Court ruling that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, the United States Congress may criminalize the production and use of home-grown cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal...

, which read the Commerce Clause
Commerce Clause
The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution . The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Courts and commentators have tended to...

 to hold that Congress could ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes. Scalia opined that the Commerce Clause, together with the Necessary and Proper Clause, permitted the regulation. In addition, Scalia felt that Congress may regulate intrastate activities if doing so is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce.

Scalia has taken a broad view of the Eleventh Amendment
Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was passed by the Congress on March 4, 1794, and was ratified on February 7, 1795, deals with each state's sovereign immunity. This amendment was adopted in order to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Chisholm v...

, which bars certain lawsuits against states in the federal courts. In his 1989 dissent in Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co., Scalia stated that there was no intent on the part of the Framers to have the states surrender any sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution....

, and that the case that provoked the Eleventh Amendment, Chisholm v. Georgia
Chisholm v. Georgia
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 419 , is considered the first United States Supreme Court case of significance and impact. Given its date, there is little available legal precedent...

, came as a surprise to them. Professor Ralph Rossum, who wrote a survey of Scalia's constitutional views, suggests that the justice's view of the Eleventh Amendment is actually contradictory to the language of the Amendment.

Abortion


Scalia has argued that there is no constitutional right to abortion, and that if the people desire legalized abortion, a law should be passed to accomplish it. Scalia wrote in his dissenting opinion in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in which the constitutionality of several Pennsylvania state regulations regarding abortion were challenged...

,

The States may, if they wish, permit abortion on demand, but the Constitution does not require them to do so. The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.


Scalia has repeatedly called upon his colleagues to strike down Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

. Scalia hoped to find five votes to strike down Roe in the 1989 case of Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 , was a United States Supreme Court decision on July 3, 1989 upholding a Missouri law that imposed restrictions on the use of state funds, facilities, and employees in performing, assisting with, or counseling on abortions...

, but was not successful in doing so. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

 authored the decision of the Court, allowing the abortion regulations at issue in the case to stand, but not overriding Roe. Scalia concurred only in part. Scalia wrote that, "Justice O'Connor's assertion, that a 'fundamental rule of judicial restraint' requires us to avoid reconsidering Roe, cannot be taken seriously." He noted, "We can now look forward to at least another Term of carts full of mail from the public, and the streets full of demonstrators."

The Court returned to the issue of abortion in the 2000 case of Stenberg v. Carhart
Stenberg v. Carhart
Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 , is a case heard by the Supreme Court of the United States dealing with a Nebraska law which made performing partial-birth abortion illegal, except where necessary to save the life of the mother. Nebraska physicians who performed the procedure contrary to the law...

, in which it invalidated a Nebraska statute outlawing partial-birth abortion. Justice Stephen Breyer
Stephen Breyer
Stephen Gerald Breyer is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, Breyer is generally associated with the more liberal side of the Court....

 wrote for the Court that the law was unconstitutional as it did not allow an exception for the health of the mother. Scalia dissented, comparing the Stenberg case with two of the most reviled cases in Supreme Court history: "I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court's jurisprudence beside Korematsu
Korematsu v. United States
Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 , was a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II....

and Dred Scott
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford, , also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S...

. The method of killing a human child ... proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion."

In 2007, the Court upheld a federal statute banning partial-birth abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart
Gonzales v. Carhart
Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 , is a United States Supreme Court case that upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The case reached the high court after U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appealed a ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in favor of...

. University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey R. Stone
Geoffrey R. Stone
Geoffrey R. Stone is an American law professor. He is currently the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.-Dean of the Chicago Law School:...

, a former colleague of Scalia's, criticized Gonzales, stating that religion had influenced the outcome as all five justices in the majority were Catholic, whereas the dissenters were Protestant or Jewish. This angered Scalia to such an extent that he stated he would not speak at the University of Chicago as long as Stone is there.

Race, gender, and sexual orientation


Scalia has generally voted to strike down laws which make distinctions by race, gender, or sexual orientation. In 1989, he concurred with the Court's judgment in City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co.
City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co.
City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469 was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that the city of Richmond's minority set-aside program, which gave preference to minority business enterprises in the awarding of municipal contracts, was unconstitutional under the Equal...

, in which the Court applied strict scrutiny
Strict scrutiny
Strict scrutiny is the most stringent standard of judicial review used by United States courts. It is part of the hierarchy of standards that courts use to weigh the government's interest against a constitutional right or principle. The lesser standards are rational basis review and exacting or...

 to a city program requiring a certain percentage of contracts to go to minorities, and struck down the program. Scalia did not join the majority opinion, however. He disagreed with O'Connor's opinion, for the Court, that states and localities could institute race-based programs, if they identified past discrimination, and if the program was designed to remedy the past racism. Five years later, in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña
Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña
Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, , is a United States Supreme Court case which held that racial classifications, imposed by the federal government, must be analyzed under a standard of "strict scrutiny," the most stringent level of review which requires that racial classifications be narrowly...

he concurred in the Court's judgment and in part with the opinion which extended strict scrutiny to Federal programs. Scalia noted in that matter his view that government can never have a compelling interest in making up for past discrimination by racial preferences,

To pursue the concept of racial entitlement – even for the most admirable and benign of purposes – is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.

In the 2003 case of Grutter v. Bollinger
Grutter v. Bollinger
Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 , was a case in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School...

, involving racial preferences in the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

's law school, Scalia mocked the Court majority's finding that the school was entitled to continue using race as a factor in admissions so as to promote diversity, and to increase "cross-racial understanding". Scalia noted,
This is not, of course, an "educational benefit" on which students will be graded on their Law School transcript (Works and Plays Well with Others: B+) or tested by the bar examiners (Q: Describe in 500 words or less your cross-racial understanding). For it is a lesson of life rather than law—essentially the same lesson taught to (or rather learned by, for it cannot be "taught" in the usual sense) people three feet shorter and twenty years younger than the full-grown adults at the University of Michigan Law School, in institutions ranging from Boy Scout troops to public-school kindergartens.


Scalia has argued that laws that make distinctions between genders should be subjected to intermediate scrutiny
Intermediate scrutiny
Intermediate scrutiny, in U.S. constitutional law, is the second level of deciding issues using judicial review. The other levels are typically referred to as rational basis review and strict scrutiny ....

, requiring that the gender classification be substantially related to important government objectives. When, in 1996, the Court upheld a suit brought by a woman who wished to enter the Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute
The Virginia Military Institute , located in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state-supported military college and one of six senior military colleges in the United States. Unlike any other military college in the United States—and in keeping with its founding principles—all VMI students are...

 in the case of United States v. Virginia
United States v. Virginia
United States v. Virginia, , is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Virginia Military Institute's long-standing male-only admission policy in a 7-1 decision...

, Scalia filed a lone, lengthy dissent. Scalia felt that the Court, in requiring Virginia to show an "extremely persuasive justification" for the single-sex admissions policy, had redefined intermediate scrutiny in such a way "that makes it indistinguishable from strict scrutiny".

In one of the final decisions of the Burger Court, the Court ruled in 1986 in Bowers v. Hardwick
Bowers v. Hardwick
Bowers v. Hardwick, , is a United States Supreme Court decision that upheld, in a 5-4 ruling, the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex in private between consenting adults when applied to homosexuals. Seventeen years after Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court...

that homosexual sodomy was not protected by the right of privacy and could be criminally prosecuted by the States. In 1995, however, that ruling was effectively gutted by Romer v. Evans
Romer v. Evans
Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court case dealing with civil rights and state laws. It was the first Supreme Court case to deal with LGBT rights since Bowers v...

, which struck down a Colorado state constitutional amendment, passed by popular vote, which forbade anti-discrimination laws being extended to sexual orientation. Scalia dissented from the opinion by Justice Kennedy, believing that Bowers had protected the right of the states to pass such measures, and that the Colorado amendment was not discriminatory, but merely prevented homosexuals from gaining favored status under Colorado law. Scalia later said of Romer, "And the Supreme Court said, 'Yes, it is unconstitutional.' On the basis of—I don't know, the Sexual Preference Clause of the Bill of Rights, presumably. And the liberals loved it, and the conservatives gnashed their teeth."

In 2003, Bowers was formally reversed by Lawrence v. Texas
Lawrence v. Texas
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court case. In the 6-3 ruling, the Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by proxy, invalidated sodomy laws in the thirteen other states where they remained in existence, thereby making same-sex sexual activity legal in...

, from which Scalia dissented. According to Mark V. Tushnet in his survey of the Rehnquist Court, during the oral argument in the case, Scalia seemed so intent on making the state's argument for it that the Chief Justice intervened: "Maybe we should go through counsel." According to his biographer, Joan Biskupic
Joan Biskupic
Joan Biskupic is an American journalist, author, and lawyer who has covered the United States Supreme Court since 1989. She has been the Legal Affairs Correspondent for USA Today since June 2000. From 1992 to 2000, she was the Supreme Court reporter for The Washington Post, and from 1989 to 1992...

, Scalia "ridiculed" the majority in his dissent for being so ready to cast aside Bowers when many of the same justices had refused to overturn Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Criminal law



Scalia believes the death penalty is constitutional and opposes attempts to declare it unconstitutional. He dissents in decisions that hold the death penalty unconstitutional as applied to certain groups, such as those who were under the age of 18 at the time of offense. In Thompson v. Oklahoma
Thompson v. Oklahoma
Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815 , was the first case since the moratorium on capital punishment was lifted in the United States in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of a minor on grounds of "cruel and unusual punishment."...

(1988), he dissented from the Court's ruling that the death penalty could not be applied to those aged 15 at the time of the offense, and the following year authored the Court's opinion in Stanford v. Kentucky
Stanford v. Kentucky
Stanford v. Kentucky, , was a United States Supreme Court case that sanctioned the imposition of the death penalty on offenders who were at least 16 years of age at the time of the crime. This decision came one year after Thompson v...

sustaining the death penalty for those who killed at age 16. However, in 2005, the Court overturned Stanford in Roper v. Simmons
Roper v. Simmons
Roper v. Simmons, was a decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under the age of 18. The 5-4 decision overruled the Court's prior ruling upholding such sentences on offenders above or at the...

and Scalia again dissented, mocking the majority's claims that a national consensus had emerged against the execution of those who killed while under age, and noted that less than half of the states that permitted the death penalty prohibited it for underage killers. He castigated the majority for including in their count states that had abolished the death penalty entirely, stating that doing so was "rather like including old-order Amishmen in a consumer-preference poll on the electric car. Of course they don't like it, but that sheds no light whatever on the point at issue." In 2002, in Atkins v. Virginia
Atkins v. Virginia
Atkins v. Virginia, , is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 6-3 that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishments.-The case:...

, the Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional as applied to the mentally retarded. Scalia dissented, stating that it would not have been considered cruel or unusual to execute the mildly mentally retarded at the time of the 1791 adoption of the Bill of Rights, and that the Court had failed to show that a national consensus had formed against the practice.

Scalia strongly disfavors the Court's ruling in Miranda v. Arizona
Miranda v. Arizona
Miranda v. Arizona, , was a landmark 5–4 decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Court held that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant...

, which held that a confession by an arrested suspect who had not been advised of his rights was inadmissible in court, and voted to overrule Miranda in the 2000 case of Dickerson v. United States
Dickerson v. United States
Dickerson v. United States, , upheld the requirement that the Miranda warning be read to criminal suspects, and struck down a federal statute that purported to overrule Miranda v. Arizona....

, but was in a minority of two with Justice Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

. Calling the Miranda decision a "milestone of judicial overreaching", Scalia stated that the Court should not fear to correct its mistakes.

Although, in many areas, Scalia's approach is unfavorable to criminal defendants, he has taken the side of defendants in matters involving the Confrontation Clause
Confrontation Clause
The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him." Generally, the right is to have a face-to-face confrontation with witnesses who are...

 of the Sixth Amendment
Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights which sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions...

, which guarantees defendants the right to confront their accusers. In multiple cases, Scalia has written against laws that allowed alleged victims of child abuse to testify behind screens or by closed-circuit television. In a 2009 case, Scalia wrote the majority opinion in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts
Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts
Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 129 S.Ct. 2527 , is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that it was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation for a prosecutor to submit a chemical drug test report without the testimony of the person who performed the test...

, holding that defendants must have the opportunity to confront lab technicians in drug cases; a certificate of analysis is not enough to prove a substance was drugs.

Scalia maintains that every element of an offense that helps determine the sentence must be either admitted by the defendant or found by a jury under the Sixth Amendment's jury guarantee. In the 2000 case of Apprendi v. New Jersey
Apprendi v. New Jersey
Apprendi v. New Jersey , , was a United States Supreme Court decision. The Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibited judges from enhancing criminal sentences beyond statutory maximums based on facts...

, Scalia wrote the Court's majority opinion that struck down a state statute that allowed the trial judge to increase the sentence if he found the offense was a hate crime
Hate crime
In crime and law, hate crimes occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or...

. Scalia found the procedure impermissible because whether it was a hate crime had not been decided by the jury. In 2004, he wrote for the Court in Blakely v. Washington
Blakely v. Washington
Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 , held that, in the context of mandatory sentencing guidelines under state law, the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial prohibited judges from enhancing criminal sentences based on facts other than those decided by the jury or admitted by the defendant...

, striking down Washington state's sentencing guidelines on similar grounds. The dissenters in Blakely foresaw that Scalia would use the case to attack the federal sentencing guidelines (which he had failed to strike down in Mistretta), and they proved correct, as Scalia led a five-member majority in United States v. Booker
United States v. Booker
United States v. Booker, , was a United States Supreme Court decision concerning criminal sentencing. The Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment right to jury trial requires that, other than a prior conviction, only facts admitted by a defendant or proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury may be...

, which made those guidelines no longer mandatory for federal judges to follow (they remained advisory).

In the 2001 case of Kyllo v. United States
Kyllo v. United States
Kyllo v. United States, , held that the use of a thermal imaging device from a public vantage point to monitor the radiation of heat from a person's home was a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and thus required a warrant...

, Scalia wrote the Court's opinion in a 5–4 decision that cut across ideological lines. That decision found thermal imaging of a home to be an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause...

. The Court struck down a conviction for marijuana manufacture based on a search warrant issued after such scans were conducted, which showed that the garage was considerably hotter than the rest of the house because of indoor growing lights. Applying that Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure to arrest, Scalia dissented from the Court's 1991 decision in County of Riverside v. McLaughlin
County of Riverside v. McLaughlin
The U.S. Supreme Court Case County of Riverside v. McLaughin involved the question of whether suspects arrested without a warrant must be brought into court within a reasonable amount of time to determine if there is probable cause for holding the suspect in custody.-Overview:The County of...

, allowing a 48-hour delay before a person arrested without a warrant is taken before a magistrate, on the ground that at the time of the adoption of the Fourth Amendment, an arrested person was to be taken before a magistrate as quickly as practicable. In a 1990 First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 case, R.A.V. v. St. Paul, Scalia wrote the Court's opinion striking down a St. Paul, Minnesota hate speech
Hate speech
Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication that disparages a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic....

 ordinance in a prosecution for burning a cross. Scalia noted, "Let there be no mistake about our belief that burning a cross in someone's front yard is reprehensible. But St. Paul has sufficient means at its disposal to prevent such behavior without adding the First Amendment to the fire."

Other cases


Scalia joined the majority per curiam opinion in the 2000 case of Bush v. Gore
Bush v. Gore
Bush v. Gore, , is the landmark United States Supreme Court decision on December 12, 2000, that effectively resolved the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. Only eight days earlier, the United States Supreme Court had unanimously decided the closely related case of Bush v...

, which effectively ended recounts of ballots in Florida following the 2000 US Presidential election
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

, and also both concurred separately and joined Rehnquist's concurrence. In 2007, he said of the case, "I and my court owe no apology whatever for Bush v. Gore. We did the right thing. So there!  ... get over it. It's so old by now."
During an interview on the Charlie Rose show
Charlie Rose (talk show)
Charlie Rose is an American television interview show, with Charlie Rose as executive producer, executive editor, and host. The show is syndicated...

, he defended the Court's action:

The decision was not close, it was 7–2 on the principal issue of whether there had been a constitutional violation....But what if it was unconstitutional to have that recount? You're going to let it continue and come to a conclusion? And then overturn it? The reason to stop it sooner was not, "Ooh, we're worried that it's going to come out the wrong way." ... you forget what was going on at the time. We were the laughingstock of the world. The world's greatest democracy that couldn't conduct an election. We didn't know who our next president was going to be. The lengthy transition that has become standard when you change from one president to another could not begin because you didn't know who the new president was going to be. It was becoming a very serious problem. The issue before the United States Supreme Court is: having decided the case, having decided this is unconstitutional, should we nonetheless let the election go on? Or is it time cut it off and let's move on?


Scalia concurred in the 1990 case of Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261 , was a United States Supreme Court case argued on December 6, 1989 and decided on June 25, 1990...

in which the family of a woman
Nancy Cruzan
Nancy Beth Cruzan was a figure in the right-to-die movement. After an automobile accident left her in a persistent vegetative state, her family petitioned in courts for three years, as far as the U.S. Supreme Court , to have her feeding tube removed...

 in a vegetative state sought to have her feeding tube removed so she would die, believing that to have been her wish. The Court found for the State of Missouri, requiring clear and convincing evidence of such a desire. Scalia stated that the Court should have remained away from the dispute, and that the issues "are [not] better known to the nine Justices of this Court any better than they are known to nine people picked at random from the Kansas City telephone directory".

In 2008, the Court considered a challenge to the gun laws in the District of Columbia. Scalia wrote the majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller
District of Columbia v. Heller
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 , was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes in federal enclaves, such as...

, which found an individual right to own a firearm under the Second Amendment
Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two Second...

. Scalia traced the word "militia", found in the Second Amendment, as it would have been understood at the time of its ratification, and stated that it then meant "the body of all citizens". The Court upheld Heller's claim to own a firearm in the District.

Scalia's opinion for the Heller Court was widely criticized by liberals, and applauded by conservatives. However, Seventh Circuit judge Richard Posner
Richard Posner
Richard Allen Posner is an American jurist, legal theorist, and economist who is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School...

, a conservative, disagreed with Scalia's opinion, stating that the Second Amendment "creates no right to the private possession of guns". Posner called Scalia's opinion "faux originalism" and a "historicizing glaze on personal values and policy preferences". Scalia, on the other hand, has stated that the court's originalists only needed to show that at the time the Second Amendment was ratified, the right to bear arms did not have an exclusively military context, and that they were successful in so showing.

Requests for recusals



Scalia recused
Recusal
Judicial disqualification, also referred to as recusal, refers to the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer. Applicable statutes or canons of ethics may provide...

 himself in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow
Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow
Newdow v. United States Congress, Elk Grove Unified School District, et al., 542 U.S. 1 , was a lawsuit originally filed in 2000 which led to a 2002 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are an endorsement of...

,
a claim brought by atheist Michael Newdow
Michael Newdow
Michael Arthur Newdow is an American attorney and emergency medicine physician. He is best known for his efforts to have recitations of the current version of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools in the United States declared unconstitutional because of its inclusion of the phrase "under God"...

 alleging the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance
Pledge of Allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of loyalty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Christian Socialist Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942...

 (including the words "under God") in school classrooms, violated the rights of his daughter, who he said was also an atheist. Shortly after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is a U.S. federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* District of Alaska* District of Arizona...

 ruled in Newdow's favor, Scalia, speaking at a Knights of Columbus
Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in the United States in 1882, it is named in honor of Christopher Columbus....

 event in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia located south of Washington, D.C., and north of Richmond. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 24,286...

, stated that the Ninth Circuit decision was an example of how the courts were trying to excise God from public life. The school district requested that the Supreme Court review the case, and Newdow asked that Scalia recuse himself, which he did without comment.

Scalia refused to recuse himself in Cheney v. United States District Court for the District of Columbia (2005), a case concerning whether Vice President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

 could keep secret the membership of an advisory task force on energy policy. Scalia was asked to recuse himself because he had gone on a hunting trip with various persons including Cheney, during which he traveled one way on Air Force Two
Air Force Two
Air Force Two is the air traffic control call sign used by any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the Vice President, but not the President. The term is often associated with the Boeing C-32, a modified 757 which is most commonly used as the Vice President's transport. The C-40 Clipper, a...

. Scalia refused to recuse himself, stating that though Cheney was a longtime friend, he was merely being sued in his official capacity, and that were justices to step aside in the cases of officials who are parties because of official capacity, the Supreme Court would cease to function. Scalia indicated that it was far from unusual for justices to socialize with other government officials, recalling that the late Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson
Fred M. Vinson
Frederick Moore Vinson served the United States in all three branches of government and was the most prominent member of the Vinson political family. In the legislative branch, he was an elected member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisa, Kentucky, for twelve years...

 played poker with President Harry Truman and that Justice Byron White
Byron White
Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White won fame both as a football halfback and as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed to the court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, he served until his retirement in 1993...

 went skiing with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

. Scalia stated that he was never alone with Cheney during the trip, the two had not discussed the case, and the justice had saved no money since he had bought round-trip tickets, the cheapest available. Scalia was part of the 7–2 majority once the case was heard which generally upheld Cheney's position.

Religion


Scalia resides in McLean, Virginia
McLean, Virginia
McLean is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. The community had a total population of 48,115 as of the 2010 census....

, and is a devout Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. His son, Paul, is a Catholic priest. Uncomfortable with the changes brought about following Vatican II, Scalia regularly attends the Tridentine Latin Mass in both Chicago and Washington, and has driven long distances to parishes that he felt were more in accord with his beliefs.

In 2006, Scalia, approached by a reporter upon leaving church, was asked if being a traditional Catholic had caused problems for him. He responded by asking, "You know what I say to those people?", and with a gesture, cupping his hand under his chin and flicking his fingers out. The gesture, which was captured by a photographer, was initially reported by the Boston Herald
Boston Herald
The Boston Herald is a daily newspaper that serves Boston, Massachusetts, United States, and its surrounding area. It was started in 1846 and is one of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States...

as obscene. Scalia responded to the reports with a letter to the editor accusing the news staff of watching too many episodes of The Sopranos
The Sopranos
The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads...

and stating that the gesture was a strong brush-off. Roger Axtell, an expert on body language, described the gesture as possibly meaning "I've had enough, go away" and noted, "It's a fairly strong gesture."

Assessment



After nearly a quarter century on the Court, and now past the age of seventy, Scalia characterizes his victories as "[d]amn few". His biographer, Joan Biskupic
Joan Biskupic
Joan Biskupic is an American journalist, author, and lawyer who has covered the United States Supreme Court since 1989. She has been the Legal Affairs Correspondent for USA Today since June 2000. From 1992 to 2000, she was the Supreme Court reporter for The Washington Post, and from 1989 to 1992...

, speculates that Scalia, given good health, may remain on the Court for another decade.

Writing in The Forward
The Forward
The Forward , commonly known as The Jewish Daily Forward, is a Jewish-American newspaper published in New York City. The publication began in 1897 as a Yiddish-language daily issued by dissidents from the Socialist Labor Party of Daniel DeLeon...

, J.J. Goldberg described Scalia as "the intellectual anchor of the court's conservative majority". Scalia travels to the nation's law schools, giving talks on law and democracy. His appearances on college campuses are often standing room only. Ginsburg indicates that Scalia "is very much in tune with the current generation of law students ... Students now put 'Federalist Society
Federalist Society
The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, most frequently called simply the Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist and/or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution...

' on their resumes." John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from December 19, 1975 until his retirement on June 29, 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest member of the Court and the third-longest serving justice in the Court's history...

, who served throughout Scalia's tenure until his 2010 retirement; says of Scalia's influence, "He's made a huge difference. Some of it constructive, some of it unfortunate." Of the nine sitting justices, Scalia is most often the subject of law review
Law review
A law review is a scholarly journal focusing on legal issues, normally published by an organization of students at a law school or through a bar association...

 articles.

Whereas Scalia is widely admired among conservatives, many liberals dislike his views. In March 2009, openly gay Congressman Barney Frank
Barney Frank
Barney Frank is the U.S. Representative for . A member of the Democratic Party, he is the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.Born and raised in New Jersey, Frank graduated from Harvard College and...

 described Scalia as a "homophobe". Maureen Dowd
Maureen Dowd
Maureen Bridgid Dowd is a Washington D.C.-based columnist for The New York Times and best-selling author. During the 1970s and the early 1980s, she worked for Time magazine and the Washington Star, where she covered news as well as sports and wrote feature articles...

 described Scalia in a 2003 column as "Archie Bunker
Archie Bunker
Archibald "Archie" Bunker is a fictional New Yorker in the 1970s top-rated American television sitcom All in the Family and its spin-off Archie Bunker's Place, played to acclaim by Carroll O'Connor. Bunker is a veteran of World War II, reactionary, bigoted, conservative, blue-collar worker, and...

 in a high-backed chair".

Rossum, writing in 2006, before George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 appointees Roberts
John Roberts
John Glover Roberts, Jr. is the 17th and current Chief Justice of the United States. He has served since 2005, having been nominated by President George W. Bush after the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist...

 and Alito
Samuel Alito
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the court since January 31, 2006....

 had time to make an impact, said that Scalia had failed to win converts among his conservative colleagues for his use of originalism
Originalism
In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a principle of interpretation that tries to discover the original meaning or intent of the constitution. It is based on the principle that the judiciary is not supposed to create, amend or repeal laws but only to uphold...

. Roberts and Alito, however, are younger men who take an originalist approach and who greatly admire Scalia and how he battles for what he believes in.

Scalia's dislike of legislative history may be a reason why other justices have become more cautious in its use. Gregory Maggs wrote in the Public Interest Law Review in 1995 that by the early 1990s, legislative history was being cited in only about forty percent of Supreme Court cases involving the interpretation of statutes, and no case of that era used legislative history as an essential reason for the outcome. Maggs suggested,

With Justice Scalia breathing down the necks of anyone who peeks into the Congressional Record or Senate reports, the other members of the Court may have concluded that the benefit of citing legislative history does not outweigh its costs. It is likely for this reason that the percentage of cases citing it has decreased dramatically. No one likes an unnecessary fight, especially not one with as formidable an opponent as Justice Scalia.

Works

  • Scalia, Antonin, and Gutmann, Amy, ed., (1997) A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law (Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    ) ISBN 0-691-00400-5.
  • Scalia, Antonin; Garner, Bryan A.
    Bryan A. Garner
    Bryan A. Garner is a U.S. lawyer, lexicographer, and teacher who has written several books about English usage and style, including Garner's Modern American Usage. He is the editor in chief of all current editions of Black's Law Dictionary...

     (2008) Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (St. Paul: Thomson West) ISBN 978-0-314-18471-9.

External links


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