In honor of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, here are his 10 best quotes.
1. From his Obergefell v. Hodges dissent: "[I]t is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact—and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create ‘liberties’ that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves."
2. On Bush v. Gore: "Well, I guess the one that created the most waves of disagreement was Bush vs. Gore. That comes up all the time, and my usual response is 'get over it.'"
3. On what it means to be an originalist: "Our manner of interpreting the Constitution is to begin with the text, and to give that text the meaning that it bore when it was adopted by the people ... This is such a minority position in modern academia and in modern legal circles that on occasion I'm asked when I've given a talk like this a question from the back of the room—'Justice Scalia, when did you first become an originalist?'—as though it is some kind of weird affliction that seizes some people—'When did you first start eating human flesh?'"
4. His view on the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment: "Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct."
5. From his King v. Burwell dissent: "The Court claims that the Act must equate federal and state establishment of Exchanges when it defines a qualified individual as someone who (among other things) lives in the 'State that established the Exchange.' … Otherwise, the Court says, there would be no qualified individuals on federal Exchanges, contradicting (for example) the provision requiring every Exchange to take the 'interests of qualified individuals' into account when selecting health plans. … Pure applesauce."
6. On affirmative action: "To pursue the concept of racial entitlement—even for the most admirable and benign of purposes—is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American."
7. More from his King v. Burwell dissent: "The Court’s argument also overlooks the rudimentary principle that a specific provision governs a general one. Even if it were true that the term 'such Exchange' … implies that federal and state Exchanges are the same in general, the term 'established by the State' … makes plain that they differ when it comes to tax credits in particular. The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges."
8. On the Court's role on certain political issues: "If you think aficionados of a 'living' Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again. You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That's flexibility. Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers."
9. On the use of God in the Pledge of Allegiance: "I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion… We do Him [God] honor in our pledge of allegiance, in all our public ceremonies. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution."
10. On what makes a good judge: "If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong."