Controversial, bold and incomparably intelligent are some of the words used to describe United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who passed away from natural causes on February 13, 2016 while vacationing in Texas. Scalia had been appointed to the nation’s highest court in 1986 by President Reagan.
Justice Scalia earned his degree from Harvard Law School and became a professor of law at the University of Virginia after working in a law firm for several years. He served as an Assistant Attorney General for two Republican presidents, Ford and Nixon, and was an outspoken proponent of a textual interpretation of the Constitution, was a critic of Affirmative Action and was one of the first advisers to the Federalist Society. His intellectual impact on the conservative movement and his direct impact on criminal law in the United States are unmistakable. He supported the death penalty—even for the mentally retarded and minors—and he was well-known for his opposition to Miranda rights. However, he also was an outspoken critic of vague laws that left criminal suspects in the dark about exactly what they were being accused of and how much authority the police had to investigate them. His powerful writing on these and other subjects will surely be consulted in perpetuity. The nation will miss his unique personality, loquacious writing and thoughtful insight. The nation will certainly miss him, but his nine children, dozens of grandchildren and closest friends will miss him the most.