Justice Scalia’s Passing
Justice Scalia’s passing leaves our republican system of government without one of its most forceful champions on the bench at an uncertain time. Justice Scalia’s effect on jurisprudence cannot be overstated. His brilliance is unquestioned.
Even so, this wit was enlisted in the forgotten cause of common sense: the simple principle that a contract’s meaning is not malleable, but retains the meaning as understood at its drafting, would seem utterly uncontroversial in any other context. The fact that it was something he had to fight a lifetime for in the interpretation of the most fundamental contract, the Constitution, speaks to the stranglehold that liberal legal realists had on jurisprudence during the first two-thirds of the last century.
Scalia’s focus was not just on the text of the Constitution, though, but its structure: its recognition of human failings that led it to allot power to three separate and distinct branches. Scalia was fond of saying that many dictatorships have a constitution that affords more rights and protections than ours: a recognition that it was the American people, not a piece of parchment, that secured our liberties, that America is free because America is good.
How tragic to lose one good American who defended our freedoms.