Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Antonin Scalia: His place in History

Posted by Sal on February 25, 2006

I’ve recently begun reading the book Scalia’s Dissents, which gives a good insight into the judicial philosophy and influence of Justice Antonin Scalia. One of the areas that struck me was his contribution to the definition of the terms “Originalism” and “Textualism”. These judicial philosophies found their expression in Scalia, and he has done more to shape these philosophies than any other justice. Until Scalia came to the Supreme Court, the Conservatives were few and their philosophies were largely not defined. Conservatism in general recognized the problem of activist judges, and the damage that they have done to our Republic by virtue of their self-proclaimed role as philosopher-kings. Antonin Scalia was appointed to the court, and it was thought that he’d be a welcome Conservative addition to the likes of White and Rehnquist, and a brilliant legal mind.

Scalia went a step further and defined a philosophy. In his dissents and his lectures, he outlined and popularized the concepts of Originalism vs. Original Intent, and Textualism vs. Strict Constructionism. His philosophy has shown itself to be consistent and in line with his Constitutional role, as demonstrated by cases in which he has gone against political Conservative policy goals in favor of the text of the law and of the Constitution.

Scalia is to Conservative Judicial philosophy what Kirk, Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan, Limbaugh, and Gingrich are to Political Conservatism — a pioneer who helped define a philosophy that will remain present in our politics and in our legal system long after he leaves the court.

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