Scalia’s Name

Markus Hardy Remembers What Scalia Stood For

The Late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia

The Late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia

Markus Hardy, Guest Columnist

Wouldn’t it have been ridiculous if the followers of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, went out into the streets after Dr. King’s death, and under his banner, in his name, these people began to campaign for racial segregation? A man who fought, marched, preached, and was jailed for standing against both racial segregation and oppression, was being used by folks who wanted the exact opposite?

Such a thing would be beyond hypocritical, positively unthinkable, and certainly immoral. Almost nothing could be more insulting to that person’s name and life than advocating for the exact opposite of what that person wanted. So why is it that we are seeing a lot of this among those who herald Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a great man?

Antonin Scalia embodied and reintroduced a strict constitutionalist mission, and with statements like, “A Constitution is not meant to facilitate change. It is meant to impede change, to make it difficult to change,” his position is clear. Scalia was famous for emphasizing we always must read the constitution in a conservative way. As a self described Originalist, he constantly pushed for a literal and periodical reading of the Constitution. None of this “adapting the constitution to our time,” and none of that “is a living, changing document.” He always read the Constitution exactly as it was written by to the creators.

He was also a fairly public figure, something that most Supreme Court Justices would not be described as. He opened a new door for one of America’s most important institutions. Scalia brought the talk of the court directly to the public, by appearing on several television talk shows and speaking on a number of very hot button topics, ranging from abortion and capital punishment, to entitlements and Obamacare. His form of comedy was also cherished by many conservatives in this nation. While explaining his dissenting opinion on Obamacare, one of his most popular quotes was, “We should start calling this law [Obamacare] SCOTUS-scare.”

When I was learning about the Supreme Court years ago, I remember hearing about how much of a God-fearing, chest-thumping, constitutional originalist Justice Scalia was. But not only did he profess these things, the rest of the republican party did, and they were extremely proud to have someone like him on the highest court in the land.

This is why it upsets me so. The constitution was his backbone, what he lived for. Yet immediately after his passing, within hours of the breaking news of his death, the Republican party then began advocating for President Obama not follow through with appointing a new justice. No one seemed to be thinking of the man who had just passed. No one seemed to be thinking about the nation, knowing that an unbalanced even numbered court would do more harm than good. I’d wager that if the roles had been reversed, being such a strong Originalist, Justice Scalia would be doing his duty in appointing a new justice. Nothing is more insulting to the memory of this man. Such a short time after his death, politics had consumed everything, and his life and contributions were temporarily ignored for the sake of political gain.

I just wished that people would have given this man and his life a bit more consideration. He had barely passed before people tried to politically capitalize off of his death. Not only that, but they were using his name for something that he would have never stood for – impeding a president’s constitutional duty.