The Republic lost a great ally when the Associate Supreme Court Justice died of natural causes in west Texas on Feb. 13. His ability to issue judicial opinion with an eloquence that elevated constitutional discussion back to the prominence it deserves is an asset that served all Americans well, regardless of their political affiliation, race or age.
Antonin Scalia was born in Trenton, N.J., on March 11, 1936. He graduated first in his class and valedictorian at Xavier High School in Manhattan, N.Y., and went on to earn a degree in history from Georgetown University and receive his law degree from Harvard. He worked at a legal firm in Ohio, but left to become a professor of law at the University of Virginia in 1967. Scalia’s public service began in 1971, when he was appointed to the Office of Telecommunications Policy as general counsel at a time when the federal government was wrestling with a complicated new entity—cable television. He was confirmed as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in 1974 and in 1982 President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In 1986 President Reagan went to Scalia again, this time for Associate Supreme Court Justice—the first Italian-American nominated for the position. The Senate confirmation vote was 98-0. His defense of the Second Amendment since then is legendary.
He met his future wife on a blind date while attending Harvard, married her in 1960 and the couple raised nine children. Our thoughts are with them at this tragic time, as well as our sincere thanks for loaning the nation one of the greatest legal minds ever, even if his time was too short.