A Scalia Sonnet

By Eric Segall

The Court begins to hear oral arguments today, still short one Justice. Few have been been more critical of Justice Scalia's career than I've been, but it is undeniable that the Court is a less interesting, less vital place with his absence. The little ditty below is meant to both honor the man's public service and suggest it is time to move forward, though, as I've been writing, moving forward with the current 4-4, equally divided Court for a long time might be the best thing for the Court and the country.

Six months ago he passed just shy of 80 years old
Justice Scalia’s story will forever be told

He arrived at the Court in 1986
Approved 98-0, he was one of Reagan’s easiest picks

Nino was the first Italian-American to make it to the Supremes
Where he tried to fulfill his Originalist dreams

One year later Judge Bork wouldn’t be quite so lucky
For the Senate his demeanor would prove much too plucky

Kennedy’s appointment would come a little bit later
To Scalia he would be a constitutional traitor

For legal interpretation Nino had many clear rules
Text and history he claimed were the only true tools

The Constitution he yelled was “Dead, Dead, Dead!”
And legislative history should NEVER be read

Against the Independent Prosecutor he voted alone
That he was absolutely right would later be shown

Prayers at graduations and government hearings were just fine
Actual religious coercion was Scalia’s baseline

Voting against affirmative action time and again
Color blindness was the key to his constitutional Zen

The right to privacy and abortion made Scalia irate
To women at VMI, he would have closed the gate

Rigorous standing rules were part of his creed
Personal Injury every plaintiff must plead

To flag burning radicals he was surprisingly nice
He vetoed such laws not once but twice

To criminal defendants he displayed an open mind
He refused to leave them in a constitutional bind

Kennedy’s gay rights opinions made Scalia’s eyes turn red
Don’t forget he would yell, the Constitution is dead!

In the 70’s and 80’s, Scalia and Posner would often agree
That ended when Posner embraced legal reality

They feuded openly about how to correctly read law
They accused each other of enormous chutzpah

Scalia’s ability to write snippets was second to none
Teaching his opinions was nothing but fun

That Nino is missed would give him great pride
His lifetime of service cannot be denied

So we bid him goodbye with a Court stuck at eight
It looks like his replacement may have a long wait