We have lost not only a great mind, but also a great man. One who stood tall in the defense of the Constitution against the attacks of those who view it as a mere instrument of judicial activism. The view of a living and breathing constitution subjugates the principle articulated by the framers of the Constitution to the predilections of whoever is adjudicating its interpretation.
His brilliant and witty opinions, whether writing the majority opinion or the dissenting opinion, will be studied for many generations of constitutional scholars. Perhaps the most striking fact about Justice Scalia is his ability to balance a staunch defense of the Constitution and reach across the ideological spectrum.
The United State has lost not only a great man, but also a great patriot.
May the Lord shine his face upon him!
Some of my favorite quotes from Justice Antonin Scalia:
On interpreting the Constitution:
What is a moderate interpretation of the text? Halfway between what it really means and what you’d like it to mean?
Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?
“Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society”.
“If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.”
On faith in Christ:
God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed….If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.
On being Catholic:
“Well, we didn’t set out to have nine children. We’re just old-fashioned Catholics, you know.”
On following and forming your conscience:
“More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly.”
On abortion and the Constitution:
“You think there ought to be a right to abortion? No problem. The Constitution says nothing about it. Create it the way most rights are created in a democratic society. Pass a law. And that law, unlike a Constitutional right to abortion created by a court can compromise.”
On same-sex marriage:
“As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms. … It is enough to say that the Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol.”
“I attack ideas. I don’t attack people. And some very good people have some very bad ideas. And if you can’t separate the two, you gotta get another day job.”
“I love to argue. I’ve always loved to argue. And I love to point out the weaknesses of the opposing arguments. It may well be that I’m something of a shin kicker. It may well be that I’m something of a contrarian.”
“A man who has made no enemies is probably not a very good man.”
On breaking the law:
“I have exceeded the speed limit on — on occasion.”