Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Justice Scalia Passed Away 2016

I don't usually talk about news items on the blog. I certainly didn't know Justice Antonin Scalia personally, so I debated writing about his passing. However, it's been very much on my mind for the last few days. Justice Scalia was the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court and as such, I've never agreed with him on much. Nonetheless, I was saddened to hear he passed away for a number of reasons. Of course, I was sad because he was a person, not just a Court opinion, and of course I'm very sorry for his family.

Also, although he went to Harvard Law, he was formerly a UVA Law professor and he remained loyal and helpful to UVA. I saw him speak at UVA Law in 2008 and while I vehemently disagreed with the content of his talk, I was still grateful that a Justice of the highest court had come to talk with us and that I was able to go. I also saw him in Supreme Court Oral Arguments, twice. Once while I was a college student at GW and once while I was in law school. He was intense! Better to live out your convictions than to sit silently.

Justice Scalia and Dean Jeffries
Justice Scalia  giving a talk at UVA Law in 2008 (with Dean Jeffries)

In 2006, someone got him to briefly participate in a skit via video recording for the Libel Show. It was really funny. And how awesome that he did that for us?

  Justice Scalia Taped a Segment for the Show!
Justice Scalia in the Libel Show 2006

Justice Scalia has also had a number clerks that were UVA Law students. One of these students was my friend Donald who had the huge honor of clerking for Scalia in 2012. But more than that, Donald and his wife Sarah got to know him personally and he was always kind to them. Scalia also had yearly events for his clerks so everyone stayed in touch through the years. I'm truly sad for them to lose him in both a professional and personal capacity.

US Supreme Court 2012
Donald and Sarah at the Supreme Court on a weekend in 2012
when Donald was still clerking. Sarah was pregnant with William.

Last weekend, Donald also participated in the ceremonies where Scalia is in repose in the Supreme Court while the public is invited to pay their respects. President Obama and the First Lady also came to pay their respects right before Donald was slated to stand at the casket. The First Lady looked noticeably teary-eyed, and it was really moving to see real affection between public servants despite opposite politics in such a politically divisive time. Both Donald and Sarah, and a number of UVA Law professors attended the wake and funeral.

February 2016
Scalia's former clerks on the steps of the Court as casket is brought in on Friday (on CNN/CSPAN)

Which is all to say that I am very sorry for the Scalia family, so many people in my law school community, and Donald and Sarah in particular.

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