One Year Later: Antonin Scalia’s Legacy

Nearly one year ago, I wrote my tribute to former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and collected a wealth of remembrances to him.  Today, on the anniversary of his death, there is unsurprisingly more that can and should be said.  It is no stretch to say he was the most consequential Catholic in the history of American government.  And we will continue to learn more about and understand better the legacy he left us for years to come.  As societal and institutional norms continue to deteriorate in society, we can find solace in his love for the rule of law as a law of rules.

I encourage you to go back and read the original tribute, which, in addition to Scalia’s own writing, speeches, and opinions, contains more than fifty tributes from friends, colleagues, and media.  After you have done that, here are some additions exploring Justice Scalia’s legacy that are worth reading and watching:

Ryan Walsh, a former Scalia law clerk writes about lessons he learned from Scalia about living well: “When a conflicting argument came his way, he would neither dodge nor dismiss it. He would look it in the eye. His job was to get things right, which meant he had to be open to seeing where he went wrong. But even when he was convinced to a certainty that he was correct (which was not infrequently), he thought he owed it to the parties and his colleagues to engage their counterarguments fairly and fully, and to document that engagement in his opinion for all to see. And so, in extra paragraphs or footnotes (neither of which he liked to add — he aimed for short, crisp opinions), he would pay the dignity of a response….

“Saint Irenaeus wrote, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” That was Justice Scalia — a man fully alive, and thoroughly happy. His many virtues were the key to his flourishing. And they are just as much a part of his legacy as are his judgeship and jurisprudence.”

The Supreme Court had a special session and bar memorial for Scalia, which featured a moving tribute from Chief Justice Roberts: “Those of us on the Court will miss Nino, but we will continue to feel his presence throughout this building. Our ears will hear his voice in this courtroom when advocates invoke his words searching for powerful authority. Our minds will move to the measure of his reason in our chambers when we study his opinions. And our hearts will smile, even as our eyes glisten, when we walk the halls and recall how happy we were whenever we saw him rounding the corner.” The Court adopted a resolution memorializing his life, which can be read in full here.

The Harvard Law Review dedicated an entire issue to Scalia memorials, including from Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Kagan, and more.

Paul Clement, former Scalia law clerk: Why We Read the Scalia Opinion First.

One way of looking at Scalia’s approach: “the text, the whole text, and nothing but the text, so help me God.”

Mary Anne Case: Scalia as Procrustes for the Majority, Cassandra in Dissent.

Video: Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner discuss their book Reading Law.

The untold story of how Scalia helped Canada reform its spy agencies.

The Federalist Society has had a number of Scalia tribute lectures and discussions, including the Florida Chapters Conference.  Justice Thomas gave a moving remembrance speech of Scalia at the Federalist Society’s 2016 National Lawyers Convention.  In fact, the entire convention was dedicated to Justice Scalia, and you can view all the video tributes and panel discussions on Scalia’s legacy here.

Short video on Scalia’s faith: “Be sure that your ideals are the right ones…Being a good person begins with being a wise person. Then, when you follow your conscience you will be heading in the right direction.”