Saturday, February 20, 2016
I am not a Con Law scholar, and have not spent as much time as my colleagues analyzing Justice Scalia's writing. I knew him only as the spouse of one of his clerks. In that vein, here are the memories I shared with our student newspaper, and a picture of my husband and me paying our respects at the Supreme Court yesterday.
I first met Justice Scalia in 1986. My husband, Patrick, was clerking for then-Judge Scalia on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The week that we had our first date was the week that Justice Scalia was nominated to the Supreme Court. I first met Justice Scalia that summer when Patrick and I drove down to his summer cottage on the Virginia shore, to deliver some papers related to his nomination hearings. He was wearing shorts, relaxing with his (many) kids and his wife; we played some board games before heading back into Washington. My husband, who had already been hired by Justice O’Connor for the next year, was released from that obligation to go with Justice Scalia for his first year on the Supreme Court. Of course I encountered Justice Scalia in many more formal settings over the years, and came to admire the brilliance of his opinions. But most of my personal memories of him were ones like that first meeting at the beach, and later meetings at which we would swap stories with him and his wife, Maureen, about what our children were all up to.
It goes without saying that Justice Scalia was a brilliant man with a sharp wit. But he was also a man who reveled in his family, and was generous and loyal to his friends. Over the years, he was unfailingly gracious in responding to my husband’s invitations to speak at Notre Dame Law School, where we taught before coming to help re-open the Law School at the University of St. Thomas, and then to speak at UST Law – from the very beginning of our existence to more recently, including this past Fall. One of Justice Scalia’s most striking characteristics was his openness and curiosity about the parade of people who came across his path. The fact that his friendships crossed all typical lines of politics, faith, age, and background is a testament to his generosity of spirit. He was a wonderful man.
My husband and I are currently in Washington to attend his funeral. The funeral card distributed at his wake on Friday included the prayer of St. Ignatius, a fitting reflection as we say goodbye to this great man:
Take, O Lord and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and whole will.
You have given to me all that I am and all that I possess.
I surrender it all to You, that You may dispose of it according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace.
With these I possess all and seek naught else.