Three fine, rational post mortems on Scalia…

And a not-so-rational one: mine.

On the night of Sunday, February 13, I turned the TV on to watch the early news and the first thing I saw was a full screen photo of the nine Supremes, and a newsperson’s voice saying something about a major story about the court.

I–literally–grabbed my chest in the area of my heart and whispered, “Oh, no,” and then, when the newsperson said “Scalia,” I–literally–jumped up and down twice and screamed in joy.

Instantly my excited thoughts about the court, its future, the president, the huge loss to Chief Justice Roberts (yay!) and his legacy, and the vast benefits to our democracy rocketed through my brain, along with the names of notorious case rulings that over the next half decade could be minced up and spit out.

My final joyous thought was: “I will never have to walk around my apartment darkly  muttering the mantra, ‘Pelican Brief,‘ ‘Pelican Brief,‘” again.

If you haven’t read John Grisham’s terrific 1992 thriller, or haven’t seen the top notch movie starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts, you might not know what I’m talking about. And, really folks, you do want to. Know what I’m talking about, that is. So  either read the book or rent the movie.

Suffice it to say, it is unlikely that, having mentioned The Pelican Brief out loud on this page right now, I will be receiving a hostile visit from the FBI. (Of course, you never know, but still. I have hope. I mean, if Grisham is still out there writing…)

In the next few days after Scalia’s death, I was irritated to read the slavering encomiums about him from news media who really should know better. “Brilliant legal mind” was the most annoying. (I was surprised to find that I disparaged “originalism” –who comes up with these laughable terms?–only a few times, and both of those times meagerly, buried among other things I said about, well, other things.)

I did not, for instance, link “originalism” to “libertarianism,” although I present my argument that both of these cutesy nah-philosophies are produced by or clung to by people who are either deceitful and self-aggrandizing, intellectually lazy, or not very bright.

OK, I’ll stop ranting now. Because, with huge relief and gratitude, I have collected three authoritative, apposite essays about the late and not great Scalia, two in the New Yorker and one from the long-time New York Times’ Supreme Court analyst, Linda Greenhouse, who adds a personal encounter with Scalia that gives her delicately phrased but firmly stated criticism extra pow.

P.S. And that night I pulled Grisham’s book out of my bookshelf and re-read it, just to memorialize the great occasion.

Here are the articles:

The court has become an agent of partisan warfare to an extent that threatens real damage to the institution.

Source, Linda Greenhouse: Resetting the Post-Scalia Supreme Court – The New York Times

The Justice tried to make the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed.

Source, Jeffrey Toobin: Looking Back – The New Yorker

His death will have limited impact on the culture wars, but huge consequences in business.

Source, James Surowiecki: Courting Business – The New Yorker

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