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One Year Ago, Antonin Scalia Passed Away; Here Are Some Of His Best Quotes

On February 13, 2016, the United States shocking learned that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away at the age of 79.

Many on the right lamented the passing of Scalia, while many on the left cheered his death.

That was one year ago, and since then Scalia’s seat stayed vacant. President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the seat, but the Senate did not hold hearings on his nomination because it was an election year.

Now, Neil Gorsuch of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has been nominated by President Trump for the vacant seat.

Since we have passed a one year mark of Scalia’s passing, let us remember him for his wit and skills with a pen. Here are just a few of Justice Scalia’s written words.

  • “Frequently an issue of this sort will come before the Court clad, so to speak, in sheep’s clothing: the potential of the asserted principle to effect important change in the equilibrium of power is not immediately evident, and must be discerned by a careful and perceptive analysis. But this wolf comes as a wolf.” –Morrison v. Olsen, 487 U.S. 654, 699 (1988) (dissenting).
  • The Constitution contains no right to abortion. It is not to be found in the longstanding traditions of our society, nor can it be logically deduced from the text of the Constitution – not, that is, without volunteering a judicial answer to the nonjusticiable question of when human life begins. Leaving this matter to the political process is not only legally correct, it is pragmatically so. That alone – and not lawyerly dissection of federal judicial precedents – can produce compromises satisfying a sufficient mass of the electorate that this deeply felt issue will cease distorting the remainder of our democratic process. The Court should end its disruptive intrusion into this field as soon as possible. –Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, (1990, concurring), 497 U.S. 502 ; decided June 25,1990)
  • As to the Court’s invocation of the Lemon test: Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys of Center Moriches Union Free School District. –Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, 508 U.S. 384, 398-99 (1993) (concurring)
  • Words do have a limited range of meaning, and no interpretation that goes beyond that range is permissible. -Speech at Princeton University (1995)
  • Campaign promises are, by long democratic tradition, the least binding form of human commitment. –Republican Party v. White, 536 U.S. 765 (2002)
  • “This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare. Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years.” –King vs Burwell, (2015)
  • “The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational popphilosophy; it demands them in the law. The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.” Obergefell vs. Hodges, (2015)
  • “I find it a sufficient embarrassment that our Establishment Clause jurisprudence regarding holiday displays has come to require scrutiny more commonly associated with interior decorators than with the judiciary.” (1992) Lee v. Weisman.

Justice Scalia was a very memorable jurists. He will be remembered with those that came before him. Whether or not you agree with Scalia’s opinions, you cannot deny his impact on the Supreme Court that will last for centuries.