Loyola University Chicago School of Law, the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago, and the Lawyers Club of Chicago, honored the late United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with a “Chicago tribute” at the law school on Sunday, Sept. 11. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave a special address featuring memories of her close and enduring friendship with the late justice.
Other speakers included Chief Judge Diane Wood and Judge Frank Easterbrook, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Scalia family was represented by two of the justice’s children, Ann Banaszewski and Eugene Scalia.
Judge Wood was a colleague of Justice Scalia’s on the University of Chicago law faculty and, like Judge Easterbrook and Justice Ginsburg, enjoyed a lifelong friendship with the late justice. She noted that Justice Scalia “approached every case with care and commitment.”
Remembering the surprise that greeted some of his opinions—for example, in Texas v Johnson (flag burning) and Kyllo v. United States (thermal imaging as a form of “search”)—she added, “He would not be categorized.”
Judge Easterbrook and Justice Scalia also were University of Chicago colleagues, and both served the U.S. Department of Justice during the Ford administration. Judge Easterbrook recalled the late justice’s vehement disagreement with the legal reasoning of a report approved by both the solicitor general and the attorney general.
Justice Scalia said of the analysis, Easterbrook said, “’You’re making it all up.’ The few words that Nino Scalia spoke in the attorney general’s conference room 40 years ago reflected the core of his jurisprudence,” an emphasis on grounding all decisions “in texts adopted through the constitutional process.”
Justice Ginsburg, who served on the DC circuit with Justice Scalia before sharing 23 years with him on the Supreme Court, told several warm and comical stories of the strong bond the two shared despite their often sharply differing approaches and opinions.
“Both on and off the bench, Justice Scalia was a convivial, exuberant performer,” Justice Ginsburg said. “I’ll miss the challenges and the laughter…and the roses he brought me on my birthday…It was my tremendous good fortune to have known the peerless Justice Scalia as a working colleague and treasured friend.”