Justice Antonin Scalia Has Died

The news is all over the place. Justice Antonin Scalia passed away today. The New York Times has an article on it: Justice Antonin Scalia, Who Led a Conservative Renaissance on the Supreme Court, Is Dead at 79.

Scalia was a Justice with whom we usually agreed — except for his well-known dislike of the Lemon test, which Judge Jones relied upon in reaching his decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District . We discussed that in detail in our last post about him. However, as is our custom, we don’t speak disparagingly of people at times like this.

Overall, we think Scalia was a great Justice, and he’ll be missed.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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35 responses to “Justice Antonin Scalia Has Died

  1. I won’t miss him nor should the country. Just another theocrat.

  2. Scalia was the best justice the fourteenth century ever produced. Unfortunately for folks who loathe the influence of religion in governmental proceedings, he was an arrogant, self-righteous danger to democracy. He will NOT be missed by anyone interested in the separation of church and state.

    It is astonishing that the creator of this page agreed with anything Scalia had to say.

  3. Obama can nominate a replacement, but republicans are already saying he shouldn’t even have the opportunity to nominate someone, let the new president elect do so, hoping of course that it’s a republican. But should Obama nominate someone, republicans will likely not confirm that person, or do their best to obstruct his nomination.

  4. I think distinctly otherwise – a crazy religious nutter.

  5. I feel a tremendous sense of relief. The impact of his death on important pending business is a huge positive for America.

    Best Tweet:

    Justice Wainwright (@JusticeBlaine)
    54 mins ago – View on Twitter

    Antonin #Scalia requested cremation in his will, but millions of women will meet tomorrow to discuss if that’s really best for his body.

  6. “I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, y’know? He used to be all over the place. Used to be all over the New Testament.” –Justice Scalia on what ever happened to the Devil.
    We can all see why he is regarded as one of the most brilliant jurists America has ever produced.

  7. You say Scalia, but all I hear is Citizens United and the final nail in my country’s coffin.

  8. The whole truth

    Good riddance.

  9. One should not say anything but good about the dead. He’s dead. Good.

  10. Sure enough, our friends at Answers in Genesis are trying to claim him as one of their own:

  11. SC: :Scalia was a Justice with whom we usually agreed — except for his well-known dislike of the Lemon test…”

    Once again you and I are probably in the minority on that one. I too am saddened for his family, and also saddened that an opportunity will be missed to give him a chance to elaborate on what may be the most liberal – yes, you all read that right – words ever written by a Supreme Court Justice. I read his 1987 dissent from Edwards v. Aguillard a year or 2 ago, and was mind-boggled, as probably no one else was. I could picture thousands or more people over the decades, either applauding the feel-good language or dismissing him as a religious nut, but never noticing the intense irony of the dissent. Aside from the religious issue that everyone obsesses over, what about subject matter earning the right to be taught? Where was the conservative respect for the intense competition in science, where conclusions and explanations must survive constant scrutiny before being taught as established science? Why did his heart bleed for any crackpot who wanted to second-guess mainstream science, and give them a handout at taxpater expense?

    I’m probably in an even smaller miniority on this one, but I’m almost 100% certain that he read enough of the background material, including of earlier cases like McLean v. Arkansas, to know that there’s zero evidence for the young-earth “theories” and that they grossly mislead students about science and the scientific method. If he personally believed anything remotely like one of the mutually-contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis it was “on faith,” not on any credible evidence. So why then, apparently knowing that students would be misled based on their prior misconceptions, did he leave the door open for the most hideous scams ever in education, namely ID, strengths and “weaknesses” and academic “freedom”? The most charitable thing I could say was helpless paranoia about the state of our culture. But you all knew that. At least since that train wreck called “Expelled” where anti-science activists practically spelled out their real motivation.

  12. I always thought that S didn’t care a rap about science or creationism. What he hated was the Lemon test, and would use whatever case that would give him the opportunity to destroy that. He was not going to let reality intrude into the lofty realm of jurisprudence.

  13. “Scalia was a Justice with whom we usually agreed”
    Both very peculiar and clarifying when coming from a conservative who claims to defend Enlightenment.


    “It is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”
    Not exactly what David Hume and the Founding Fathers had in mind, so it seems to me.

  14. Each Republican candidate last night was so insistent that Obama must leave the nomination of Scalia’s replacement to the next president.

    What irony if that turns out to be Sanders (or Clinton, for that matter).

  15. US Constitution:
    “[The President] shall nominate, and, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court…”

    I’m certainly no legal expert, but doesn’t the word “shall” in “shall nominate” mean that it his duty to nominate, and not an option? The Supreme Court has work to do, and an eight-member Supreme Court could very easily be deadlocked.

    The Republican candidates referred to Obama as being a “lame duck” president. He’s not a lame duck until after the Nov. elections, and even then he is still president until the next is inaugurated.

  16. retiredsciguy, of course Obama can nominate someone. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when he does.

  17. Scalia’s dissent in EDWARDS v. AGUILLARD is troublesome, but it was only a dissent. The opinion is long. You can read the it here. Just search on his name to find his dissent.

  18. I’m glad Curmudgeon generally sticks to issues regarding idiotic creationist stuff instead of other political issues. Wouldn’t come here otherwise. Great justice? Had to laugh at that one.

  19. I like the headline in the Onion: Justice Scalia dead after a 30 year battle with social progress”

  20. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R, Ky.:
    “The American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

    So, he wants to make this a campaign issue, huh? Seems he’s taking a helluva chance — a May, 2015 Gallup poll shows 50% of Americans identify as pro-choice, while only 44% say they are pro-life.

    I’ll bet Hillary and Bernie like those odds.

  21. I take a little satisfaction in knowing that Scalia believed in the physical embodiment of the Devil and hopefully is getting to spend some quality time with Lucifer.

  22. As H.K. pointed out, AIG is praising Scalia for a supposed quote in his dissent in Edwards v. Aguillard. It’s more creationist quote mining. The following is the quote they are parading around if Scalia endorsed it directly.

    “The body of scientific evidence supporting creation science is as strong as that supporting evolution. In fact, it may be stronger. The evidence for evolution is far less compelling than we have been led to believe. Evolution is not a scientific ‘fact,’ since it cannot actually be observed in a laboratory.”

    But if you actually read the case, the above quote is found in a summary section where Scalia was retelling the testimonial evidence considered by the court.

    Scalia had prefaced the section with this: “Before summarizing the testimony of Senator Keith and his supporters, I wish to make clear that I by no means intend to endorse its accuracy. But my views (and the views of this Court) about creation science and evolution are (or should be) beside the point. Our task is not to judge the debate about teaching the origins of life, but to ascertain what the members of the Louisiana Legislature believed.”

    Ham and his allies misrepresent even those nominally “on their side.”

  23. I won’t be missing Scalia. He was a man of very great evil whose decisions have devastated and will continue to devastate this country and in some instances the world at large.

    I’m reminded of the famous Irish Times obituary of Hendrik Verwoerd.

  24. It’s eluding my meager Google skills to find it on line. Can you remind me with a link?

  25. SC: “Scalia’s dissent in EDWARDS v. AGUILLARD is troublesome, but it was only a dissent.”

    Sure, but that doesn’t stop the DI from acting like it give them carte blanche to teach any nonsense they can get away with. They still touted the Santorum amendment (which they wrote for the then-Senator) to “No Child Left Behind” long after it was removed from the enforceable part.

    Reflectory: “But if you actually read the case, the above quote is found in a summary section where Scalia was retelling the testimonial evidence considered by the court.”

    That kind of outrageous quote mine is something I would expect from the DI, but I’m actually surprised that AiG would stoop that low. Unless in haste they didn’t realize that it misrepresented Scalia’s position, in which case, being Christians (if they really are) they’d have no choice but to humbly retract it.

  26. I pointed out the error on Ken Ham’s facebook posting of the same article. Let’s see if anything is done about it. I doubt it. I wouldn’t be surprised if my comment just gets deleted.

  27. @GreenPoisonFrog

    Neither can I, now. It used to be on the Private Eye site, but as a jpg and thus opaque to googling. However, I found where someone plagiarized it to commemorate Brezhnev’s glorious contribution to human misery.

  28. I like this quote from Cynic!

    Onion: Justice Scalia dead after a 30 year battle with social progress”

  29. Obama will likely nominate someone who is relatively moderate and has some appeal to both sides, making it difficult for McConnell to hold his obstructionist position. After all, the GOP may not hold the senate in the next term, given that more liberal voters come out in presidential election years and more GOP seats are at stake. Furthermore, if they do not hold the senate and a Democrat is elected president, then the Scalia replacement is likely to be more liberal than whomever Obama might nominate.

    McConnell is rolling the dice on this one.

  30. Doctor Stochastic

    However, I do not think that Chuck Schumer will call for a delay in appointment as he did in 2007. The left didn’t complain then so any complaints are merely about choosing sides, not about policy. Choose your chariot team, Green or Blue (or Pink in a pinch.)

  31. Scalia was a regular speaker on the law school circuit, including Colorado and Pepperdine. He was brilliant, a gifted speaker, quick witted, humorous and charming. But as one listened to his message, it became clear that he had a very egotistical, fundamentalist, Catholic, theocratic perspective. Over at WEIT Jerry Coyne spoke of not speaking ill of those who have recently passed away, but I tend to agree with what as written by
    Tim Langille:

    “With the outpouring of responses to Scalia’s death, read Glenn Greenwald’s piece from April 2013 on death etiquette in response to Thatcher’s death, which I think is applicable here. If Scalia’s supporters aren’t silent in shaping his hagiography and memory (which is essentially whitewashing his inhumanity), why should those whom he oppressed sit silently? A racist, homophobic, misogynistic man who denied rights and devalued lives has died. His authority and power silenced those he oppressed during his life. These same people should not be expected to sit silently in his death in order to meet the standards and etiquette of the privileged. One-sided requiems are dangerous, not helpful.”

  32. michaelfugate

    Here’s what I think we should do with conservatives like Scalia. If he wants to live in 1800 America, then by all means send him there. How long would he last as an Italian Catholic? Would his wife and 9 kids be alive without antibiotics and with bloodletting to treat disease? The man believed that women weren’t human in his interpretation of the Constitution – property and no more. Cut off his electricity and running water. Make him ride a horse.

    While we are at it let’s send Ham back to the Bronze Age.

  33. After I wrote them an email, AIG finally amended their article, taking out their egregious attribution error.

    They added a footnote: “Editor’s note: in a previous version of this article, we quoted from another portion of Judge Scalia’s dissent. However, in that excerpt Scalia had summarized the beliefs of a creationist and did not necessarily subscribe to all that the creationist believed. We apologize for the error.”

    I’m glad a small glimmer of honesty survives at that place. Now, if they’d be so amenable to corrections in matters of science, philosophy, and history, we’d be getting somewhere!

  34. Well done, Reflectory!

  35. Thanks Curmy.

    It’s obvious though that AIG doesn’t have a permanent legal staffer (or at least one worth their rent). They still called Justice Scalia “Judge.” I wonder why they don’t hire a graduate from Liberty U.’s “law” program to be a permanent member? Curious.