Justice Scalia’s Legacy
This weekend we lost an Honorable man, a great Jurist, and a true Champion of the Constitution, with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. To a large extent, Scalia’s insistence that the Constitution must be understood as it was understood at the time of its adoption, should have been unremarkable. Yet, when he reached the Court 30 years ago, what should have been unremarkable was radical. Over the past 30 years, case by case, often dissent by dissent, he brought the discussion of how the Constitution was to be understood so far, that in the Heller decision, even his liberal colleagues felt compelled to use this framework to discuss the case.
Never let it be said that one person can’t make a difference. Scalia’s life is a testament to the power of one committed individual with wisdom and integrity. Even the discussion about his successor (he can never be replaced) on the Court, and the rancor surrounding the process, bears witness to his legacy in the law.
May those of us in the law saddened by his passing honor his memory by seeking to do our utmost to ensure that his legacy of the rule of law being grounded in a written Constitution is paramount, and not subject to the passing whims and vagaries of popular opinion. A Constitutional right should not exist merely because of the protection of one vote, and I pray that in my lifetime we will see the Supreme Court strengthened in this regard even more than during Scalia’s tenure, although I fear this may not be the case.