United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was recently laid to rest after passing away from natural causes in February. Having served the Court for over 30 years, Scalia was the longest serving current Justice. He was perhaps the most famous as well. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia was outspoken, charismatic and unafraid of controversy.
His views on the Constitution were once considered quite idiosyncratic. He argued that—except when there is unmistakable consensus and a formal amendment process—the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founder’s intended it at the time of its creation. Contemporary social standards, he argued, should have little impact on the law. Same sex marriage, affirmative action, abortion and other “hot button” social and legal issues were mercilessly attacked with the force of Scalia’s wit and intellect. His “originalist” view of the Constitution has now become nearly the definitive stance for conservative social and political activists. Through his rulings and his unforgettable dissenting opinions, Scalia has left his mark on the Court, the nation and the world. Even for interlocutors who vehemently disagree with Justice Scalia, his insights and arguments require attention because they emerge from a true intellectual giant and committed patriot.