Justice Scalia Remembered as Both an Upstanding Catholic and Jurist

Mark Pattison

Document Publication: TodaysCatholicNews.org - Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Publication Date: February 18, 2016

Excerpt Below. Read the entire article at TodaysCatholicNews.org

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Tributes to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia poured in almost as soon as news emerged of his Feb. 13 death at a Texas ranch while on a hunting trip.

Scalia “was routinely described as a conservative, and so he was. He held fast to a lot of traditional values. He loved his church, his wife and nine children, and his country. He favored small government over big, and local over national,” said a Feb. 14 column by Catholic University of America president John Garvey written for Catholic News Service. “But as a judge he was a democrat, not a conservative, and his death diminishes by one strong voice our commitment to constitutional democracy.”

Scalia’s body is scheduled to lie in repose Feb. 19 at the Supreme Court, with a funeral Mass to be celebrated Feb. 20 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The day of repose and the funeral will be open to the public.The wake and burial will be private.

“Justice Scalia was arguably the most consequential Catholic in American public life since the death of John F. Kennedy,” said Villanova University law professor Michael Moreland, a former domestic policy adviser to President George W. Bush, in a Feb. 15 statement. “Justice Scalia remarked once during a visit to Villanova that there is no such thing as a ‘Catholic judge’ just as there is no such thing as a Catholic way to cook a hamburger,” Moreland added.

“But, in his commitment to textualism, penetrating prose style, and aspects of his jurisprudence, there are marks of his Jesuit education and lifelong Catholic faith. While Justice Scalia thought contentious social and moral questions were best left to the political process and not to the judiciary, he increasingly came to worry about the state of the legal culture in ways that were inevitably informed by his Catholicism.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, who represents the Trenton-area district where Scalia was born, said in a Feb. 15 statement that Scalia was “an extraordinary man of deep faith, great intellect and with — who wrote complex legal analysis with a strength and clarity that will leave an enduring mark on American jurisprudence.

Smith added, “His commitment to the Constitution, as written and not as interpreted, and to the separation of powers among the three branches of government, led to Justice Scalia’s ongoing concern about actions by the Supreme Court which he deemed ‘legislating from the bench’ and which he vehemently opposed with his persuasive arguments and votes. A truly gifted writer, he offered articulate, consistent and persuasive opinions on the important issues of our time.”

“Justice Scalia had a profound understanding of how our government — and in particular the Supreme Court — is supposed to work,” said Priests for Life founder Father Frank Pavone in a Feb. 13 statement. “He did not want the court to create public policy, whether it was policy he agreed with or not. He urged people to use the political and legislative process to bring about change.”

A challenge to the federal Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act — to which Priests for Life is a party — is one of several cases scheduled to be heard in March by the now-eight-member high court.

Priests for Life
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Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: mail@priestsforlife.org