RIP Antonin Scalia

I have to admit, when I saw this news, I simply couldn't believe that Justice Scalia had left us:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been found dead at a luxury resort in west Texas, news outlets are reporting. The Justice apparently died of natural causes in his sleep after a day of quail hunting at Cibolo Creek Ranch near Marfa, Texas. 
Scalia, 79, arrived at the ranch for a hunting trip on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people, the San Antonio Express News reported. Scalia did not show up for a scheduled breakfast. Staff members of the resort went to find the justice and instead found his body. 
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery told the San Antonio newspaper he was among those notified about Scalia’s death. “I was told it was this morning,” Biery said of Scalia’s death. “It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it’s pretty vague right now as to how,” he told the Express-News. “My reaction is it’s really unfortunate with any death. And now, politically, in the presidential cycle we’re in my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected.” 
Justice Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in September 1986. He was considered to be one of the most conservative constitutionalists on the court by many.
If I know anything about American conservatives, I have no doubt that a huge collective groan echoed around the country when people heard this news. One of the strongest voices for true conservatism, and the foremost proponent of the "originalist" doctrine of Constitutional interpretation, is gone. And we are far poorer now for it.

Justice Scalia was a truly remarkable man. I have seen and read far less of his works than I should, but what little I have seen has always made a tremendous impression upon me. I remember watching a Hoover Institute interview done by Peter Robinson of Justice Scalia some years back, and I came away from it with tremendous respect for his erudition, his wisdom, and his impassioned defence of the rule of law:

The few of his judicial opinions that I have read revealed a remarkably powerful mind. His ruling in the DC vs Heller case was superbly written- as, I gather, were most of his writings as a Supreme Court Justice. The ruling itself was 40-something pages of extremely close textual analysis designed to get right to the heart of what the Authors of the Constitution actually meant by "the right to keep and bear arms"- and maybe two lines that went something like, "we recognise that this issue is an emotionally and politically charged one; nonetheless, we also recognise that the law is what it is".

Now, for me at least, the meaning of the Second Amendment is perfectly clear. (And I'm not even American.) But for those who are unable to put two and two together, his analysis made it very plain exactly why the Second Amendment exists, and why it is a fundamental freedom that no government should ever have the power to remove.

In his absolutely scathing dissent to the Court's abominable decision in the Obergefell vs Hodges case, what struck me the most was the extreme contrast between the majority opinion's fluffy-unicorns-and-rainbows view of the Constitution and the world in general, and Justice Scalia's far more sober, hard-nosed view of the need for strict and harsh limits upon absolute power.

It seemed as though Justice Scalia, joined perhaps only by Justice Thomas, understood exactly why the Supreme Court did not have any authority whatsoever to make laws up- which, of course, it doesn't, but nobody pays attention anymore to that little detail. And only he had the courage to say what needed to be said- that the pink fascists of the Left had absolutely no right whatsoever to tell the rest of us who can and cannot get married, and neither did the Court.

As far as I can tell, Justice Scalia was one of the very few voices still left in the legal profession that understood the Constitution for the remarkable document that it really is, in its entirety. Far too many legal scholars simply pick and choose things about that document that they agree with; far too many of them believe that the Constitution is a "living document", that it means pretty much whatever the prevailing wisdom of the day says, and that its text can be altered at will by the words of air-headed judicial scholars with no appreciation for the terrible corruptions that power can create.

By contrast, Justice Scalia was a proponent of the view that the Constitution is a set of laws, and that if you don't like the laws, then it is up to the sovereign people to change them through the due process that the document itself guarantees.

Time has shown that his view- the "originalist" one- is correct, and the liberal or "living Constitution" doctrine is a path toward tyranny. And now, we have lost perhaps the last great defender of that magnificent document and all of the blessings that it has given us.

This does not bode well for the future. My opinion of the current Republican establishment sits somewhere between what I think of toilet paper, and what I think of the stuff that toilet paper is used to clean up. I do not expect the current Republican-controlled Congress to actually stop President Odumbass's next Supreme Court nominee from decisively, and permanently, swinging the Court farther to the hard left.

I fully expect that all of the good that Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and to some extent Roberts have done in holding the line against the progressive Left's desire to control and destroy will be undone. All of their posturing aside, we know what will happen: the Republican Congress will pretend to be outraged at the next Obarmy Supreme Court nominee- and will then vote for him (more likely her) anyway.

The Supreme Court, of course, has precisely zero power under the Constitution to enforce its judgments- this is a fact, go look it up under Article III. (I remember well asking a former boss of mine, back in my somewhat more naive days, about this when "Justice" Sotomayor was put up as a nominee for the Court; he set me straight on the subject and told me what the Constitution actually has to say about the Court's powers.) It merely has the power to provide an opinion on existing laws- but both the State and Federal governments have respected the Court's judgments since at least 1803 and the Marbury vs. Madison case.

And that means that a poorly chosen, badly qualified, or just plain incompetent Justice can wreak absolutely havoc upon a nation that was supposedly one of laws, but has long since devolved into rule by executive fiat and incompetent, power-hungry bureaucrats.

If I may make a prediction, a truly great legal scholar in the mould of Robert Bork- remember him?- will not be considered for Justice Scalia's now very sadly vacant seat. If we are very very lucky, the next nominee might turn out to be a largely useless non-entity like "Justices" Kagan and Sotomayor. That is the best that we can hope for.

Things are almost certain, of course, to be far worse than this. We are likely to get another Justice Breyer or Souter.

God help us all. God help the United States of America.

Speaking of which- Lord, one of Your own returns to You this day. A man who lived life well, who did much good on this Earth, and who lived by Your Law. We are now bereft of his presence; we have only his example to guide us. Thank You for letting us have such a great scholar and mind among us, while we could. His soul is with You now, to claim the rest and the reward that Justice Scalia so greatly deserved.

14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.


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