The same traits found in hip-hop's legendary lyricists – from uncanny writing and delivery to charismatic personality – are character traits present in the people who serve as Supreme Court justices.
Of course, no one will mistake associate justice Antonin Scalia for Jay Z, but the veteran judge was respected and even admired by his peers. Irrespective of ideology – and Scalia was viewed as one of the more conservative voices – his death has deeply impacted fellow justices.
The high court’s only African-American justice, Clarence Thomas, went Oxford comma happy in his statement about Scalia’s passing. He writes:
“Justice Scalia was a good man; a wonderful husband who loved his wife and his family; a man of strong faith; a towering intellect; a legal giant; and a dear, dear friend… It is hard to imagine the Court without my friend. I will miss him beyond all measure.”
Justice Elena Kagan, appointed by President Obama, referred to Scalia’s time on the bench as “transformational” due to how his “views on interpreting texts have changed the way all of us think and talk about the law.”
While we won’t repost all the statements from the justices, we do note that each has a different voice and way of articulating their thoughts in coping with the loss of Scalia. That, in and of itself, is intriguing.
For instance, the first paragraph of Justice Kennedy’s statement keys in “technical brilliance” of Scalia:
In years to come any history of the Supreme Court will, and must, recount the wisdom, scholarship, and technical brilliance that Justice Scalia brought to the Court. His insistence on demanding standards shaped the work of the Court in its private discussions, its oral arguments, and its written opinions.
It may not seem like it, but the death of Scalia bears as much significance as the untimely death of Tupac Shakur, Biggie and so many other fallen hip-hop artists.
Because much like Tupac’s posthumously released “God Bless the Dead” and many, many other songs, Scalia’s written opinions, interviews and a cachet of Supreme Court-related paper trail will be dissected and analyzed for years and decades to come.
As expected by SCOTUS observers around the country, any court vacancy would create a contentious political debate. That’s unfolding now and Supreme Justice US will stay on top of it.
However, out of respect for Scalia’s family, friends and his service, please consider learning more about his legacy.
To learn more about Scalia, we recommend visiting the following links: