Sadly, it seems that news of Scalia's death has sent a thrill up the leg of "big D" politicos with a rabid appetite to tip the scales of justice quickly, while Obama is still in office. Haste must not make waste of the Supreme Court. Does this matter locally? You bet. The duty of the justices and this court is to stand for one and all.
Katelyn Polantz, The National Law Journal
February 13, 2016
“Saddened beyond words." "A shock to the system." These were some of the reactions from lawyers on Saturday following the news of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death. Some remembered his interactions with clerks and law students, others recalled his argument style and the impact he left from his originalist approach to the Constitution. The National Law Journal asked dozens of top appellate advocates and scholars to share their thoughts.
Viet Dinh, Bancroft PLLC founder: “It is a shock to the system, literally, to lose his mind and voice. Folks may agree or disagree with particular decisions, but I think everyone recognizes his contribution in putting constitutional and statutory text first in judicial interpretation.”
Martha Minow, Harvard Law School dean: “He was a man of great learning. He was also one of the most effective writers in the history of the court, and he had an exceptional gift for the memorable phrase. He had a terrific sense of humor, which was accompanied by great personal warmth.”
Carter Phillips, Sidley Austin chairman and Supreme Court attorney "It will be very strange after 73 arguments in front of him to go to the podium with him not there. I will miss him very much. Obviously, his impact on statutory interpretation and on how to construe the Constitution will live on for the ages."
Greg Garre, Latham & Watkins, Supreme Court and appellate practice chair and former U.S. solicitor general: "My first reaction is sadness at his passing and, my second, is that it is almost impossible to imagine the court without him."
Neal Katyal, Hogan Lovells partner and former acting U.S. solicitor general: "Justice Scalia was the game changer of the court. In our lifetimes, no one has had a more profound impact on the court--from its methodology to its opinions to the rigor of oral argument--than he did.
Lisa McElroy, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law professor: “On two different occasions, Justice Scalia spoke to my Supreme Court seminar students when we visited the Supreme Court. What stands out most to me about those meetings was that in both cases, I had very liberal students in the class who substantially disagreed with Justice Scalia's views on constitutional interpretation. However, after hearing him explain his originalist approach, they walked away nodding their heads and saying they actually thought he made sense.”
Paul Smith, Jenner & Block, appellate and Supreme Court practice chair: “There are few justices in our entire history who have equaled his overall level of influence on the court and the law—originalism and the Constitution, interpreting statutes based primarily on their plain language, vastly increasing the level of interaction between lawyers and justices at oral argument.”
Pratik Shah, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Supreme Court and appellate practice co-head: “Although ‘originalism’ and ‘textualism’ may be charged terms, his judicial philosophy informs how all of us brief and argue cases before the Court. Justice Scalia’s sharp wit and deep intellect evoked both laughter and chills in anyone standing behind the lectern.”
Joseph Kearney, Marquette University Law School dean and former clerk to Scalia: “He was a rare combination of intelligence and personality ... He was also a great boss.”
Miguel Estrada, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher appellate partner and colleague to Scalia’s son Eugene Scalia: “I am saddened beyond words by his passing. He was a brilliant lawyer and judge, a great family man, a warm and thoughtful mentor and friend, and a true patriot. This is an incalculable loss for the country he so lovingly served.”
Ed Whelan, president, Ethics and Public Policy Center: “It’s been more than 80 years since a Supreme Court justice was confirmed in an election year to a vacancy that arose that year, and there has never been an election-year confirmation that would so dramatically alter the ideological composition of the Court.
Brian Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School and former clerk to Justice Scalia: “It will be hard to get an accurate picture of him right now, but even after this moment passes, I think all fair minded people will agree that he has had more of an impact on how we think about the law than perhaps any other Justice in this history of this nation.”