Undoubtedly it was a great surprise with the sudden death of Justice Anthony Scalia. No one could imaging Justice Scalia to die so suddenly as he seemed to be in good health and in fact he was on a hunting trip in Texas when he died. Much will be written and argued about the legacy of Justice Scalia. Some would remember him as an Icon in the United States Supreme Court and remembering him as constitutionalist while other would remember him as staunch conservative and an activist justice. One thing is clear which is Justice Scalia was an interesting person and very sociable outside of his role as a Justice of the US Supreme Court.
There is no question that Justice Scalia was a strong conservative and his ruling attest to this fact. His interpretation of the US Constitution was very narrow and limited. Whether he was a good and effective Justice depends on who one asks. If this question is asked of the conservatives/republicans, the response would be that he was a great justice and his ruling was for betterment of the society. While the response from the liberals/democrats would be he was harmful the society and caused much pain with his rulings.
Justice Scalia was a controversial person. His decision did not represent the Blind Justice as the statute in the entrance to the hall of the Supreme Court represents. Justice Scalia was extremely bias and prejudice in his rulings. He also violated his role as impartial justice.
One obvious example would be when the non-profit and for social cause organization brought suit to force then Vice-President Dick Cheney to release his meeting note books so the public would know who attended for meeting with Vice-President when he was drafting the energy policy for the USA under the order of the President George W. Bush. The case went to the Supreme Court of the United States and while the justices were deciding on the case, Justice Scalia was invited to a private hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney. This trip was supposed to be private and not publicized and the reason public started to know about it was because one of the troops escorting Justice Scalia went public.
The public asked the Justice Scalia to recuse himself and he refused. The outcome of the Supreme Court decision was in favor of Dick Cheney and public was deprived to know who attended the Energy meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney.
In one interview during George W. Bush presidency, Justice Scalia stated the one of his proudest moment was to appoint George W. Bush to the presidency. He was referring to Bush vs. Gore case which the Supreme Court literally appointed George W. Bush to the presidency, rather than staying out of the Florida’s Supreme Court ruling which would have made Al Gore the President of the United States.
It is not and should not be the job of any judges or justices whether liberal or conservative to purposely decide in favor of their party or candidate while sitting on the bench and deciding on a case. It was just over a week ago when he and the other four conservative justices decided to put a hold on the President Obama’s coal initiatives which was for the purpose of cleaning the environment and was in line with the Paris Summit of 2015. The court’s decision was one of those rare occasions when the Supreme Court ordered stay of the Executive Order rather than rejecting the request and having it sent to the Court of Appeals for a hearing, but instead decided to rule on without any hearing, while the actual hearing will be held at the lower court and most probably it will go back to the US Supreme Court later on regardless which side prevails at the lower courts
Justice Scalia was an Icon in the Supreme Court, but not an Icon for good, but rather than for setting back United States and stopping any progress.