After thirty years serving his country on the highest court in the land, Justice Antonin Scalia died on Saturday, February 13, at the age of 79. He was a towering figure in jurisprudence. He was hated and loved in equal passion. He was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. And he was, in all things, a lover of America.
Scalia was known for his opinions, majority or not, because of their wit, their forcefulness, and above all, their reason. He was chief among those who adhere to the principle of constitutional Originalism. Before him, as Dan McLaughlin wrote for National Review, it was merely a "dusty corner" of the law. After him, because of him, it is now a facet of our legal system that everyone who argues a case before the Supreme Court, and indeed any political cause attached to the court's rulings, must be prepared to understand and deal with.
At RedState too, Leon Wolf writes of how Justice Scalia brought to the fore the ideas of restraint and strict interpretation. He can "be credited with the fact that judicial restraint is even a topic of discussion in America," writes Wolf, "much less a growing force within the judicial branch itself."
He is responsible, by way of this philosophy, for decisions and dissents that enunciate truths many Americans not only hold dear, but recognize as vital to our nation. It was Antonin Scalia who wrote the majority opinion in 2008 finding that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees an individual right to bear arms. This decision, while recent, is one of the greatest landmarks of a greatly distinguished career, and one for which every American can be grateful - not because he acted in a political interest, but because he acted in accordance with the Constitution. That adherence to our original principles is the most that a seeker and lover of liberty can ask.
Justice Scalia worked to protect the rights of people accused of crimes, too. He was influential in how the court views legislation. He changed how decisions were made, and what to expect from a court and, most of all, his mind and his pen brought out the best others had to offer as well. As McLaughlin wrote, he made everyone raise their game.
Antonin Scalia was married to Maureen, and they had nine children together. He had thirty grandchildren. He was a devout Catholic, a devoted family man, and a giant. He will be missed.