Ethics & Public Policy Center

Antonin Scalia — A Justice in Full

Published in National Review -- March 14, 2016 issue on February 29, 2016

Below is EPPC President Ed Whelan’s contribution to National Review’s symposium in remembrance of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. A version of the symposium, which may be viewed here, appeared in the magazine’s March 14, 2016, issue.

Yes, Justice Scalia loved hunting and fly-fishing, opera and Shakespeare, anchovy pizza and red wine. But while those all brought him real pleasure, the two deep loves that sustained him, in good times and in bad, were his wonderful wife Maureen and the Catholic faith they shared.

During one very low point of the dismal term I clerked for him, when some of his colleagues were engaging in rampant lawlessness, I asked him, somewhat rhetorically, how he could possibly put up with it all, year after year. Instead of telling me to stop griping, he answered: “Maureen.”

Similarly, while he was rightly proud of his nine children, whenever anyone complimented him for their achievements and virtues, he would say, “Maureen deserves all the credit.”

The boss was quiet about his faith in chambers. But on one Holy Day of Obligation on which he detected that I was buried in work and hadn’t yet gone to Mass, he gave a gentle nudge by quoting the Gospel passage, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?”

From Justice Scalia’s two loves, I was inspired to deepen my embrace of the faith and to find my own Maureen.

Edward Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a regular contributor to National Review’s Bench Memos blog, clerked for Justice Scalia during the Court’s 1991–92 term.

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