Remembering Antonin Scalia

On February 13, 2016 Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in Shafter, Texas of natural causes after a hunting trip. Scalia was appointed to the D.C. court of appeals by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 and in 1986 was appointed to the
Supreme Court where he served for 30 years. Justice Scalia was considered to be the most conservative justice on the court often opposing topics such as same-sex marriage, abortion and other controversial issues. Justice Scalia was known as an originalist which means that he strictly interpreted the Constitution and looked at it through the eyes of the men who wrote it over 200 years ago.

Antonin Scalia was the only child born to Salvadore and Catherine Scalia on March 11, 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey. Being an only child was rare among Italian Catholic families at the time. Scalia grew up in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Queens, a borough of New York. He attended St. Xavier high school and in 1953 he enrolled at Georgetown University. In 1957 he graduated from Georgetown as Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in History. He went on to Harvard Law School and in his final year met his wife of almost 50 years, Maureen McCarthey. The couple went on to have 9 kids and over 30 grandchildren. He started his Law career at a Law office in Cleveland, Ohio in 1961. In 1967 he took a teaching job at the Virginia University Law School. In 1982 he was appointed by Reagan to the D.C. district court of appeals and in 1986 he accepted his placement on the Supreme Court as an associate justice. While on the court he came to be very highly regarded and had a very conservative record. In 2011 Judge Richard A. Posner wrote about Scalia, “He is the most influential justice of the last quarter century. On February 13, 2016 at the age of 79 Justice Scalia died at a resort in Texas after a hunting trip of natural causes, he also had heart issues and high blood pressure.

In order to become a Supreme Court Justice a person must be nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. The steps of how this occurs are in our Constitution, “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The current Republican majority Senate has voiced its plans to block any appointment President Obama has for Scalia’s vacancy and let the next President pick who they would like to fill Scalia’s spot.