Supreme Court Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia was the 103rd Supreme Court Justice to serve and the first of Italian-American descent to be appointed and serve on the Supreme Court. He was a favorite son of our borough and the Italian-American community. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey to an immigrant Sicilian father and first generation Italian-American mother and raised in a modest house at 48-22 O’Connell Court in Elmhurst. He attended PS13 locally and then Xavier High School in Manhattan.
He was a high achieving student at all levels and was well-respected by his peers, family and friends. Justice Scalia was a proud father of nine children and a grandfather of thirty six! Talk about a full life. We thank his wife Maureen McCarthy Scalia and his children for sharing him with us. We have certainly lost a valuable resource and irreplaceable jurist in our society and for that we are deeply at a loss.
As a conservative voice of the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia received much criticism for his support of the Constitution as it was intended by our founders. One of his most famous quotes is, “The Constitution is not a living organism. It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.” This explains his approach to defending the Constitution. He did not believe that it was a malleable document that could be shaped into what was needed by the people that wanted to have what they wanted at that time. It is a framework that our country was founded upon and if change was to be effected, then it was up to the people, not the court, to effect the change.
Disgraceful Facebook Post
Judge Antonin Scalia was disliked for his dissents on today’s social issues and understandably when someone disagrees with another’s point of view, there is negatively felt toward them. However, what I read after the death of Justice Scalia on social media I found to be truly disturbing. There was a Facebook post made by a Queens resident, ironically of Italian descent, who agreed with and posted a statement that read, “Sometimes when the likes of a Hitler, a Saddam Hussein, a Scalia dies, the world is a better place…” That without a doubt is the most disgraceful comment I could ever have imagined about a Supreme Court Justice who was committed to the preservation of our Constitution and loved and served his country in a capacity that many can only dream of being privileged with.
We as a free society have the right to express ourselves as we choose and may criticize anyone, including a Supreme Court Judge for his opinions. For that, you can thank people like Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia, who fought to preserve our Constitution and the purity of what our founders envisioned and wanted for “We the People.” Scalia was respected by his close friends and colleagues Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (both very liberal), for his ability to dissent and discuss his views and beliefs on court issues or life issues and not make it personal. Scalia’s skillful handling of interpersonal relations is something from which all of society can learn.