Antonin Scalia, an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court

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Introduction

Established in 1789, The Supreme Court is the highest in the United States. It is composed of Chief Justice and associate justices. The President of the United States nominates the judges and subsequently appoints them after vetting by the Senate. Article II of the American Constitution created the U.S. Supreme Court. On many occasions, Congress has altered the number of Supreme Court justices after the Judiciary Act of 1789. The current judges of the Supreme Court of the United States are 11.

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Marbury v. Madison

Marbury v. Madison case redefined the history of the U.S. Supreme Court in adjudicating judicial. It was the first case to attract judicial review. The judicial review is the authority granted to the Federal courts to annul Constitutional collisions acts of Congress. Developed by Marshall in 1803, the verdict separated the Congress, Judiciary, and executive.

Marbury v. Madison’s facts was complicated. According to Brisbin and Richard, the newly formed Democratic-Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson had defeated John Adam’s Federal Party. Political panic among the Federalist enthusiasts followed. During his last days as the President, Adams nominated several justices to the District of Columbia to sway decisions in his favor. When President Jefferson ascended to power in 1801, the commissions he had appointed were not yet delivered. Jefferson then instructed his Secretary of State, James Madison not to deliver. The petition was meant to persuade Madison to give reasons for not dispatching the commission.

Justice Antonin Scalia

Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1936, Scalia was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1986 to 2016 when he died.

Scalia’s career life began at Jones, Day, Cockley, and Reavis, an international law firm located in Cleveland. His work ethic made him be regarded highly by fellow workers. He left the law firm and joined the University of Virginia as a professor of law. After four years, he left the teaching job and joined the public service. He was appointed by the administration of President Nixon to the Office of Telecommunications.

The election of Ronald Reagan raised hopes for Scalia. He had expected, through Reagan’s election as the president of the United States, he would one day be appointed to an influential position in the new administration. President Reagan named him as a judge in the D.C. Circuit. During his reign in the D.C. Circuit, Scalia excelled in his work, winning recognition in the legal fraternity. His exemplary performance endeared him to President Reagan’s administration.

Warren Burger’s pronouncement for his retirement in 1986 was an opportunity for Scalia to join the Supreme Court as a justice. Since there were two prospective nominees, Scalia, and Robert Bork, the Reagan administration had to make tough choices. Eventually, President chose Scalia. Factors such as age, race, and paper trails prompted President Reagan to nominate Scalia as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was the first American of Italian descent to ever have been appointed to the Supreme Court of America.

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Kinds of interpretations that justices do about the constitution

The Supreme Court Justices interpret the Constitution as a living and enduring document. This perspective has been widely used by the Justices of the Supreme Court in recent times. On the other hand, justices interpret the Constitution as an enduring document. Judges use this interpretation as it is spelled in the Constitution.

Textualist/originalist thinking and how it was before Justice Scalia and after

Textualism was interpreted as an ordinary legal text and as such, its connotation should be used to govern its interpretation. This meant that no inferences were to be made into non-textual aspects such as the issue it was aimed at solving, the nature of the questions about justice as well as the correctness of the law (Whittington 87). Scalia was not in tandem with this form of interpretation by arguing that this type of analysis was degraded and brought the entire philosophy into disrepute. He stated that divergent views should be applied reasonably and justly.

On the other hand, originalist thinking was used by judges to interpret the Constitution as a fixed enactment. Scalia agreed with this opinion. He explained that it supersedes other available methods although it is not perfect, it provides alternatives for addressing novel phenomena that arise from time to time.

Justice Scalia was the gold standard for conservatives and textualists

Many conservatives described Scalia as a thinker with a formidable dissenting view. His dissenting views that he had honed for several years were used by the majority of judges to adjudicate cases. His take on textualism and originalism later came to be embraced by a cohort of conservatives recoiling what was viewed as the devious foundation of rights by jurists and Supreme Court justices advocating for their policy outcomes about their interests.

Differences in perceptions between originalism, purposive approach, and strict constructionism

Originalism has frequently been used by judges to preserve the sovereignty of the court. Originalism gives a leeway for judges to use subjective values when dispensing justice. However, they ought to be neutral and objective to deliver a legitimate decision. On the other hand, the purposive approach allows the courts to interpret a statute, Constitution clause, or part of the law in connection with the purpose for which that element was enacted (Biskupic 37). The court embracing strict constructionists uses a narrow or a constricted reading of the constitution. The judge interprets the law as presented or written

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Scalia’s Interaction inside the Courtroom and He Argued Cases

Scalia was one of the most active justices on the courtroom bench when it came to oral arguments. He had a reputation for being the most pugnacious and talkative. Besides, he embraced debate and enjoyed dismissing a case with an advocate’s argument. His interactions with lawyers were cordial (Malphurs 91). He assisted advocates to frame their arguments consistent with the court’s requirement and often rescued advocates who favored his argumentative views from the wrath of his colleagues. Scalia’s interactions were most active and in the courtroom, it was easy to infer which side he could vote to either win or lose a case (Malphurs 93). He used to argue his defense with witty and sometimes joked gently. His humor displaced tension while the consistent sarcasm that he was accustomed to could render a courtroom uncomfortable for many.

Scalia’s relationships with the other branches of the federal government

Scalia’s relationship with other arms of the government was embedded in his legal rulings and opinions. For example, according to (Biskupic 89) Scalia provided elaborate and reasoned arguments for efficient governance of the state by the Executive arm of the government. In his opinion, he stated that the president’s role should be felt across the country. In this regard, the president has to identify, classify and state policies that are in tandem with the interest of the community. This process should involve public participation through the electoral process (Brisbin and Richard 97). In this sense, the executive officials can find the best alternative in implementing any given presidential policy. Scalia offered this opinion to ensure citizens play a role in the executive decision-making process rather than being mere spectators and a participant.

Scalia’s relationship with other branches of the government is also evident in the boundaries of the executive power. He offered a guiding principle on how this can be achieved. He asserted that the law should delineate the limits of the federal government to favor exclusive management of the government. As it is today, the executive power is not governed by rule and the law (Brisbin and Richard 97).

Scalia’s political views and how they potentially influenced his rulings in cases.

Though he was a staunch Catholic, Scalia delivered his judgment as a justice. He was a defender of Catholic morality and defended religious roles in the public domain. Scalia’s stand on marriage and abortion aligned with his doctrines of the Catholic Church. There are some circumstances where his views differed from Catholicism. One of these issues was capital punishment. Scalia explained that capital punishment was important to promote sanity in society. He saw nothing immoral with it. However, his opinion contradicted the Catholic Church which discourages capital punishment. Scalia publicly distinguished his faith and profession.

Scalia was a defender of all regional groups in America. He said that the State should not interfere with freedom of worship in the pretext of using the Constitution. He stressed that the state should respect the First Amendment, which declared that Congress should not make any law that disrespects the creation of religion.

Recusals and how Scalia’s personal biases potentially influenced them

Scalia had a tradition of avoiding to recuse himself in judicial matters he perceived to have conflict. For example, before he made some remarks in 2006 on Guantanamo Bay prisoners, he heard the case a few weeks later. This prompted other retired generals and admirals to urge him not to be part of the justices hearing the case. Also, in 2004, he participated with Dick Cheney in duck hunting and when Dick Cheney, the litigant’s case was brought to the Supreme Court, he did not disqualify himself. This trend shows that Scalia never recused in any case in which he was in conflict. The reason he gave was that the Supreme Court justice is not bound to explain his/her grounds for recusal.

Scalia’s interviews

Scalia’s interviews were likened with an intellectual and philosophical underpinning of the law. His interpretation of the Constitution as a living document and ability to adapt to the changing times and values was the center of his major interviews with leading media houses. Also, as a devout Catholic, Scalia defended religious freedom at all costs. He stated that the state should not have obligations in interfering with religious matters because, since history, America has been a God-fearing nation. Most of his writings have been centered on his originalism philosophy.

Justice Scalia’s legacy, published works, and interpersonal relationships

Many agree that Scalia’s thought was fixed on defending the presidency at all times, particularly in the areas of foreign affairs. For example, while being a member of the D.C Court of Appeals, he was involved in two major decisions that considered the presidential authority in the sphere of foreign policy. In these cases, Scalia wrote an opinion urging judicial deference for the executive arm.

Similarly, the D.C Circuit Court had vehemently challenged the construction of a Regional Training Center on a private ranch in Honduras for the Salvadoran soldiers. The owner of the farm was Ramirez de Arellano, an American citizen. The U.S. Department of Defense in 1983 chose the same to train El Salvador soldiers. Arellano filed a suit in D.C Circuit Court seeking an injunction. The majority of the judges were for the Arellano suit. However, a carefully crafted dissenting opinion, Scalia noted that the case should be dismissed as the D.C Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction to hear this case.

How some cases molded Scalia’s opinion

During his legal career spanning several years, Scalia grew in knowledge and wisdom. Novel court cases provided new ground for him to deliver precise judgment anchored on fairness and justice. District of Columbia v. Heller defined Scalia’s legal legacy. This was a second amendment case. In his majority opinion, Scalia thought that people have the right to bear arms and that the weapons are not only for “militia”. He again added that the Constitution elevates the right of law-obeying and accountable citizens to bear arms for self-defense.

On Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Scalia asserted that the Constitutional right to an abortion was inexistent. He further argued that the state may permit an abortion if it deems but the constitution does not provide for an abortion.

Gay Marriage

Scalia was vehemently critical of the diversity of the Supreme Court. Many concur with him that he was factual and right. Hence, his dissenting opinion on same-sex marriage provides credence for the president to diversify the composition of the Supreme Court. As presently constituted, the Supreme Court lacks diversity. Scalia, in his dissenting view, lamented on this issue. He stated that an evangelical Christian making about a quarter of the American population or Protestant or any other denomination had no representative in the Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia’s demise and its Implications for the Supreme Court

Scalia’s strict conservative rulings and staunch support in constitution interpretation based on original understanding have endeared him to the masses. Moreover, Scalia was revered for his argumentative style, angry but factual dissents that mocked majority opinions of his colleagues’ majority. Scalia once said that dissents are a pure representation of the strong beliefs held by a judge. It is where a judge reveals what he/she stands for and presents it firmly. In the 1980s, Scalia wrote a record of 24 dissents, in a year, he wrote six dissents per year in a similar appellate court with influence over federal agencies. Therefore, Scalia’s nominee should be able to follow in his footsteps. The person should exercise independent thinking with the ability to handle diverse issues as it pertains to the Constitution. Scalia’s modus operandi demonstrated these skills. He used to go against his colleagues’ majority rulings with impartiality. He made his dissenting opinions with respect and dedication to impartial justice. The nominee will need to think outside the courtroom walls and not view the law as a logical exercise.

Senate wants someone more conservative or liberal

Most Senators from the Republican Party agree that appointing a liberal justice will be a disaster in the Court’s jurisprudence. They concur that a liberal justice will constitute a liberal majority in the Supreme Court leading to consequential shifts in the Court. This will ultimately reshape American life as well as the law. Sen. Chuck Grassley from Iowa argues that the Supreme Court will be composed of the liberal majority. The liberals will easily take away or change pertinent laws such as freedom of religion and speech, right to bear and keep arms, abortion, and capital punishment (Grassley).

Senators have considered a few other Supreme Court precedents likely to be overturned with the appointment of liberal justice. They perceive that liberals will mutilate the Second Amendment. Senators base their argument on Scalia’s dissenting view on the “Heller decision” which according to Scalia, the drafters of the Supreme law recognized the citizens and their rights to own guns (Grassley). Senators believe that Heller and the constitutional rights of individuals will be a relic with no practical benefits to a person.

They also cite that liberal justice would allow the administration to compel Americans to conform to laws that infringe on their religious beliefs. Senators postulate that a court with a majority of liberal judges will gang up and defeat the Hobby Lobby decision. The decision was bestowed to corporation owners to insulate them against state interference on religious grounds (Grassley). It is, therefore, open that Senators from the Republican Party are against liberal justice as the next appointee to the Supreme Court.

The changing political landscape and the selection process for judges

The evolution of the political landscape has significantly altered the selection process of judges. The judges were selected by assessing several factors. These factors included experience, political ideology, personal and party loyalty, gender, and ethnicity. However, political dynamics have weighed in more on political ideology and personal loyalty (Maltzam and Sarah 56). In recent times, presidents have increasingly selected judges who share similar political beliefs. For example, a president with a conservative ideology will usually select a conservative judge while a liberal president will choose a liberal-leaning judge.

The role of the Senate has been vocal (Maltzam and Sarah 65). Senators have exploited the rules of the game to delay the selection, nomination to an appointment. A fitting example is a selection and subsequent designation of the replacer to Scalia.

Maltzam and Sarah (68) cite that the president political decisions also have played a role in choosing a judge. When a president makes a political appointment contrary to the expectation of other political players, the selection is likely to backfire. Political actors think that the president’s choice would sway the judge’s rule once appointed to the bench. Thus, the president’s use of his power for furthering his partisan and ideological ends has emboldened senators to advance their policy or party interests.

Previous selections (such as Scalia’s selection) and their expectations during those times to modern times

Previous selections for Supreme Court justices followed established stages as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Over time, these steps have been refined through best practices and traditions. The president nominates the candidate (Dorsen 658). The Committee votes whether to send the candidate to the Senate or not. A positive verdict by the Senate provides the president authority to formally confirm the candidate. This was to ensure they attract the right candidate as a justice of the Supreme Court. However, over the years, the selection process has become complicated. Several criteria at different points have been affected (Dorsen 662). For instance, a present selection is based on sound ideology, professional merit, and political backing among other criteria.

Works Cited

Biskupic, Joan. American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. Print.

Brisbin, Richard A and Richard A. Brisbin, Jr. Justice Antonin Scalia and the Conservative. Baltimore: JHU Press, 1999. Print.

Dorsen, Norman. The selection of U.S. Supreme Court justices. International Jnl of Constitutional ,2006 (4),4, 652-663. Print.

Grassley, Chuck. How a New Liberal Supreme Court Justice Would Change America, 2016. Web.

Malphurs, Ryan A. Rhetoric and Discourse in Supreme Court Oral Arguments: Sensemaking in Judicial Decisions. London: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Maltzam, Forrest and Sarah A. Binder. Advice and Dissent: The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary. Washington D.C: Brookings Institution Press, 2009. Print.

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Premium Papers. 2022. "Antonin Scalia, an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court." April 20, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/antonin-scalia-an-associate-justice-of-the-us-supreme-court/.

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