Unlike many “conservatives” I am not a doctrinaire advocate of Antonin Scalia. Unlike constitutional deconstructionists, I don’t chose on whim to disagree with him.
More on that in a bit.
But we must first recognize the weight of the loss this country faces today. The literary loss easily matches that of Hitchens or Buckley. Scalia had the ability to cut through a legal quagmire to deliver the nut of an argument, eschewing the ornate for the direct, and to do so eloquently.
The personal and professional loss is only measurable in as much as it can be measured. Who loved him best? By the sheer weight of his personal dynamic, he unassumingly gained and held the respect of most thinking people. I mix the personal and the professional because it is here he demonstrated his humanity on a scale that some of us can only envy. Nino vacationed with Ginsberg and took Kagan shooting and hunting. One is known for the company he keeps, but most admired by the company that seeks his, despite strongly held disagreement.
On the yearly dispensation of rulings from the high court, I have held opinions apart from Antonin Scalia. But I am honest enough to know that unless I read both court opinions ( I don’t) I disagreed from a purely personal standpoint, armed only with my own world view. I don’t discount that view, but I don’t hold it sacrosanct. I have listened with more than a little disdain to my own friends who excoriated him personally for opinions he held based on a studied understanding of our Constitution. An understanding better informed than mine or theirs. It is acceptable in this day and age to do so.
If you’d like a better grasp of the value of the American Experiment, I would suggest reading Scalia Dissents (Scalia/ Ring, Regenry, 2012) or Reading Law: Interpretations of Legal Texts (Scalia/Garner, West, 2012). These books will surely rankle those who don’t understand the difference between politically conservative and constitutionally conservative. Even armed with such understanding, you may find yourself wishing he had or hadn’t said one thing or another.
Anyway, you’ll come away better educated than you are right now.
Predictably, the long knives have come out. The body has hardly cooled. Disgusting. I’ll let it do so before joining the fray.
Matt Jordan is a travel writer, political commentator and author of 16 20 24. Get your SIGNED copy here!
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