Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia 1936-2016
By Alexander Santana
On February 14, 2016, America lost a brilliant legal scholar and dedicated man of law, Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia passed away of natural causes during a trip to Texas at the age of 79.
Justice Scalia was the first Italian and longest serving associate justice in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was appointed in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate unanimously. Throughout his years on the highest court of the land, Justice Scalia advocated in favor of originalism, the idea that the the constitution should be interpreted as it was understood at the time of its writing by the Founding Fathers. He was seen by many as the leader of the conservative side of the court and helped combat modern liberalism.
Before being appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia taught for five years at the University of Virginia School of Law. He later worked in the administrations of President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford. After Jimmy Carter’s successful election to the presidency in 1976, Justice Scalia worked at University of Chicago Law School. When Ronald Reagan was successfully elected to the presidency in 1980, Justice Scalia was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The only son of Italian immigrants, Justice Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 11, 1936, and grew up in New York City. He attended the Jesuit-run Xavier High School in Manhattan where he was first in his class. He would later graduate as valedictorian from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in history and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. Justice Scalia was a devout Roman Catholic and family man. His marriage of 56 years to his wife Maureen produced nine children and 36 grandchildren.
Justice Scalia will forever be remembered for his devotion and dedication to the rule of law and the constitution that he worked so hard to protect.