Justice Scalia was a friend of the Constitution, and thus he was a friend to Americans. America is not imbued, as are other nations, with a homogenous heritage. The monolith nature of some cultures is strong enough to allow rules governing to go unwritten. America has no such luxury, nor any such hindrance.
In the absence of a shared patrimony, America must turn to its written-down rules, the foremost of which are found in our Constitution. It is interpreting this document that we are able to divine a consistent structure for governance and behavior that can help ensure stability for generations to come. It is ignoring this document in lieu of alleviating some pressing problem or indulging a present fancy that we create tears in the fabric on which our country is based.
Antonin Scalia understood this and carried out his mission better than any justice in recent memory. He carried the burden of doing the right thing, even if occasionally the results were hard to stomach in the short term. In another 500 years, if our republic endures, I can imagine a time when students mistake him for a founding father, their chronology overcome by the weight of the character of some of our country’s great leaders.
It is a tragic loss for our country to see Justice Scalia pass. This damage is compounded by the abruptness of his departure, the harshness of our political cycle, and the heightened practical role he had recently served as a check against an overreaching executive. My prayers go out to his family and our country.