So, Antonin Scalia died in his sleep yesterday–otherwise engaged, I remained blissfully unaware of this admittedly monumental development until this morning, when the news hit my ears (my eyes, to be precise) with a monumental “plop” not unlike a turd splashing into the hygienic blue-tinged water in the lavender scented bathroom of Aunt Mathilde’s scrupulously maintained cottage. I am a terrible person, because my very first thought was: “Good.”
But I’m not irredeemable. I stepped back. Scalia was a human being, I’m relatively certain, however inhumane he often seemed to me, as the angry, stubborn voice of pretty much everything I despise about the modern, contemptuous, obstructionist, and highly partisan incarnation of conservatism. Odds are, if Scalia had an opinion, I opposed it. Right now, writers are falling all over themselves in efforts to grab page hits, struggling to reinvent the justice as, as one called it, “a tireless defender of the constitution.” Well, I’m here to say that no Justice in recent history has gone further in interpreting said constitution through the warped, narrow, insidious filter fashioned by melding hyper-conservatism with Catholic extremism. A hypocrite in every sense of the word.
I backed away from the initial, positive response to his death out of respect for his friends and family who probably, for the most part, loved him and now mourn his passing. But rest easy–his particular brand of one-sided objectivity will be remembered: already, his surviving Republican allies are already gathering to obstruct any attempts to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court, until a new President takes office nearly a year from now. Yes, Justice Scalia, you will not be forgotten.
And, by the way, my antagonistic view of the guy should not imply that I don’t find him fascinating and deeply nuanced–he clearly had a mind I would have enjoyed getting to know, and was a fellow contrarian to boot. Here’s a link to a fanstastic and illuminating interview with him. I highly recommend it for reading.