Understanding Scalia

With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, it’s worth revisiting this piece from 2013, in which I attempted to explain his (often misunderstood) legal philosophy, as well as his brilliance.

As I said at the time, however: “When he’s gone, his critics will rejoice at the opportunity to shovel rhetorical dirt (or worse) on his coffin. But those who truly understand his philosophy, even if they disagree with it, will be able to see the purity and consistency of same.”

The Axis of Ego

ScaliaLibraryJustice Antonin Scalia authored a Supreme Court opinion published today that curtailed certain kinds of police searches using drug-sniffing dogs.  The holding in Florida v. Jardines was that such searches are unconstitutional and a violation of the rights secured by the Fourth Amendment.  Scalia notably lead a 5-4 majority that included “liberal” justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in opposition to the “conservative” minority that included Chief Justice Roberts and justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy (along with Stephen Breyer).

Don’t expect to hear all that much about this decision in the days to come.

No, the primary thrust of the Scalia-related coverage over the next week will be what an intolerant, ignorant monster he is.  He’ll be roundly criticized for his judicial philosophy by people who have never so much as read the entirety of the Constitution.  A few choice quotes will be bandied about…

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