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Antonin Scalia

Birthdate: 11. March 1936
Date of death: 13. February 2016

Antonin Gregory Scalia was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. Appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia was described as the intellectual anchor for the originalist and textualist position in the Court's conservative wing.

Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He attended Xavier High School in Manhattan and then college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School and spent six years in a Cleveland law firm before becoming a law school professor at the University of Virginia. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, eventually as an Assistant Attorney General. He spent most of the Carter years teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society. In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed him as judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1986, Reagan appointed him to the Supreme Court. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, becoming the first Italian-American justice.

Scalia served on the Court for nearly thirty years, during which time he espoused a conservative jurisprudence and ideology, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. He was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposed affirmative action, same-sex marriage, and most policies that afforded special status to minority groups, earning a reputation as one of the most conservative justices on the Court. He filed separate opinions in many cases, often castigating the Court's majority using scathing language.

„What today's decision will stand for, whether the Justices can bring themselves to say it or not, is the power of the Supreme Court to write a prophylactic, extraconstitutional Constitution, binding on Congress and the States.“

—  Antonin Scalia

Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 461 http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-5525.ZD.html (2000) (dissenting).
2000s

„For the nonbeliever, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence.“

—  Antonin Scalia

God’s Justice and Ours http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/gods-justice-and-ours-32, 123 First Things 17. (May 2002).
2000s
Context: It seems to me that the more Christian a country is the less likely it is to regard the death penalty as immoral. Abolition has taken its firmest hold in post-Christian Europe, and has least support in the church-going United States. I attribute that to the fact that, for the believing Christian, death is no big deal. Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal: it is a grave sin, which causes one to lose his soul. But losing this life, in exchange for the next? The Christian attitude is reflected in the words Robert Bolt’s play has Thomas More saying to the headsman: 'Friend, be not afraid of your office. You send me to God'. For the nonbeliever, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence.

„I define speech as any communicative activity. [Can it be nonverbal? ] Yes. [Can it be nonverbal and also not written? ] Yes. [Can it encompass physical actions? ] Yes. Watt [Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Watt, 703 F.2d 586 (1983)] was a case in which what was at issue was sleeping as communicative activity. What I said was that for purposes of the heightened protections that are accorded, sleeping could not be speech. That is to say, I did not say that one could prohibit sleeping merely for the purpose of eliminating the communicative aspect of sleeping, if there is any... [and] I did not say that the Government could seek to prohibit that communication without running afoul of the heightened standards of the first amendment. If they passed a law that allows all other sleeping but only prohibits sleeping where it is intended to communicate, then it would be invalidated. But what I did say was, where you have a general law that just applies to an activity which in itself is normally not communicative, such as sleeping, spitting, whatever you like; clenching your fist, for example; such a law would not be subject to the heightened standards of the first amendment. That is to say, if there is ordinary justification for it, it is fine. It does not have to meet the high need, the no other available alternative requirements of the first amendment. Whereas, when you are dealing with communicative activity, naturally communicative activity—writing, speech, and so forth— any law, even if it is general, across the board, has to meet those higher standards.“

—  Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, (8/5/1986), transcript https://web.archive.org/web/20060213232846/http://a255.g.akamaitech.net/7/255/2422/22sep20051120/www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/senate/judiciary/sh99-1064/31-110.pdf at pp. 51-52).
1980s

„If one assumes, however, that the PGA TOUR has some legal obligation to play classic, Platonic golf—and if one assumes the correctness of all the other wrong turns the Court has made to get to this point—then we Justices must confront what is indeed an awesome responsibility. It has been rendered the solemn duty of the Supreme Court of the United States, laid upon it by Congress in pursuance of the Federal Government's power [t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, U. S. Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 3, to decide What Is Golf. I am sure that the Framers of the Constitution, aware of the 1457 edict of King James II of Scotland prohibiting golf because it interfered with the practice of archery, fully expected that sooner or later the paths of golf and government, the law and the links, would once again cross, and that the judges of this august Court would some day have to wrestle with that age-old jurisprudential question, for which their years of study in the law have so well prepared them: Is someone riding around a golf course from shot to shot really a golfer? The answer, we learn, is yes. The Court ultimately concludes, and it will henceforth be the Law of the Land, that walking is not a fundamental aspect of golf.“

—  Antonin Scalia

PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=00-24 (2001) (dissenting).
2000s

„Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with jury trial because a defendant is obviously guilty.“

—  Antonin Scalia

On the Confrontation Clause: Writing for the majority in Crawford v. Washington 541 U.S. 36 http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-9410.ZO.html (2004).
2000s

„Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. He saved hundreds of thousands of lives, are you going to convict Jack Bauer? Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.“

—  Antonin Scalia

Citing the television program 24 to support torture. Last Week Tonight http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/15/john-oliver-and-helen-mirren-take-the-u-s-and-24-s-jack-bauer-to-task-over-torture.html
2000s

„In law school, I never understood [antitrust law]. I later found out, in reading the writings of those who now do understand it, that I should not have understood it because it did not make any sense then.“

—  Antonin Scalia

On Antitrust law: Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, 8/5/1986, transcript http://a255.g.akamaitech.net/7/255/2422/22sep20051120/www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/senate/judiciary/sh99-1064/31-110.pdf at p. 36).
1980s

„Today's extension of the Edwards prohibition is the latest stage of prophylaxis built upon prophylaxis, producing a veritable fairyland castle of imagined constitutional restriction upon law enforcement.“

—  Antonin Scalia

Minnick v. Mississippi, 498 US 146 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=498&invol=146#156 (1990) (dissenting).
1990s

„I think too many promising young minds are wasted on it.“

—  Antonin Scalia

On college graduates considering law as a career: Address to the Claremont McKenna College Res Publica Society Luncheon http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/mmca/temp_fn.asp?volumeFN=22&issueFN=05&articleFN=10&typeFN=s (31 January 2007).
2000s

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