Clerkerati, Justices Celebrate Scalia

Scalia's Seat at Bench

Justice Antonin Scalia’s “clerkerati” took some time Nov. 4 to remember the “towering figure,” as Acting Solicitor General Ian H. Gershengorn called him.

Justices, former clerks and family members gathered at a Supreme Court Bar meeting to memorialize Scalia’s “infectious laugh,” “pithy scalia-isms” and influence on the law. 

Chief Justice John Roberts credited Scalia with changing the practice of law through textualism, the idea that statutes should be interpreted in accordance with their ordinary meaning. 

Although many noted his principled and consistent approach to the law, Supreme Court advocate and former Scalia clerk Paul Clement revealed that Scalia didn’t always adhere to the doctrine often associated with his name. 

When it came to posted speed limits, Scalia was “no strict textualist,” Clement said of the justice who’d been known to speed around the Washington D.C. area. 

Accepting a 25-page resolution “in gratitude and appreciation for the life, work, and service” of Scalia, the Chief Justice spoke a few words about his colleague. 

He wrote 282 opinions for the court, Roberts said. 

And he’d been known to write separately from time to time too, Roberts said to laughter from the packed courtroom. Scalia wrote nearly 300 concurring and 300 dissenting opinions, he said. 

Even beyond his written contributions, Roberts said Scalia’s influence would endure at the high court. 

He made our lives “warmer, livelier and happier,” Roberts said, his voice cracking.

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