Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Former law clerks of Justice Antonin Scalia line up as he is brought into the Supreme Court.

Credit:Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom/Zuma Press/TNS

Former law clerks of Justice Antonin Scalia line up as he is brought into the Supreme Court.

Jeanine Ramirez, Senior Staff Writer

United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986, by President Ronald Raegan, after he served as a member of President Richard Nixon’s general council and was the U. S. Assistant Attorney General. Justice Scalia, who was called by the New York Times a “leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance,” was a Justice of the Supreme Court for 30 years and the longest-serving Justice as well.

On February 13, 2016, Justice Scalia passed away while staying at a resort with a friend of his on a hunting trip in West Texas. Due to the distant location of the resort, local judge Cinderela Guevara declared his time of death over cell phone. His cause of death was not quickly released but it was determined that it was of natural causes.

AHN Senior Giorgia Flanagan stated, “I know who Justice Scalia was because of my dad and I saw about his death on the news but I didn’t know who he was until then. It seems like a classic murder mystery.”

Justice Scalia’s body was brought back the Supreme Court building on Feb. 19 and then later was brought tho the U. S. Capitol building where he was “placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, which first supported President Abraham Lincoln’s casket across the street in the U.S. Capitol after his assassination in 1865.”

Justice Scalia’s widow, Maureen, was accompanied by their nine children, including their son Rev. Paul Scalia who said a prayer, and their 36 grandchildren were there. The eight remaining Supreme Court Justices attended the service for their friend. President Barack Obama and the Fist Lady Michelle Obama payed their respects but were criticized because they “payed less than two minuets of respect to the late Antonin Scalia.”

His funeral was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., which is the largest cathedral in the United States. Rev. Paul Scalia led the mass in which thousands of men and women attended to honor the Justice.

President Obama set the media into a whirl when he did not attend the Justice’s funeral and sent Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, in his place. He became the first president in America’s history to miss the funeral of a Supreme Court Justice while in office.  

AHN Senior Jade Meurer believes that, “It’s disappointing that President Obama would let political tensions dictate whether or not he attended the funeral.” 

Since his death, there has been a battle between the President and the Senate Congressional Committee because the committee is set on rejecting any of President Obama’s nominees to fill Justice Scalia’s seat. This is a widely debated issue because the President’s nominee (if approved by the Senate) can influence the outcomes of the Supreme Court decisions.

Flannagan shared how she felt his death would effect the Supreme Court. “I think it will have a negative effect because, before, the Supreme Court was balanced between liberals and conservatives” says Flannagan. “With his death, it’s become unbalanced and needs to be rebalanced again.”


With this debate, there has been a lot of criticism and admiration of Justice Scalia’s time on the bench. Here is what people are saying about the Justice:

Meurer shared, “I know that Antonin Scalia was criticized for his extremely conservative views but I admire his humor and his commitment to his beliefs.”