Sunstein on the Scalia who will be "greatly missed"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Last night, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein tweeted on the loss of Justice Scalia:

Devastated by Justice Scalia's death. One of the most important justices ever, a defender of the Rule of Law, and a truly wonderful person.

This morning he follows up with a tribute on Bloomberg. Here's a taste:

Antonin Scalia was witty, warm, funny, and full of life. He was not only one of the most important justices in the nation's history; he was also among the greatest. With Oliver Wendell Holmes and Robert Jackson, he counts as one of the court's three best writers. Who else would say, in a complex case involving the meaning of a statute, that Congress does not "hide elephants in mouseholes"?

But his greatness does not lie solely in his way with words. Nor does it have anything to do with conventional divisions between liberals and conservatives (or abortion, or same-sex marriage). Instead it lies in his abiding commitment to one ideal above any other: the rule of law. . . .

Volumes can and will be written about Scalia's approach to the law. Even those of us who disagreed with him (as I often did, sometimes intensely) owe him an immense debt, because the clarity and power of his arguments forced us to do better.

But most of all, I mourn his loss as a person. . . .

Read the whole thing.

It is worth noting that Sunstein and Scalia disagreed on a great many things, but there's no question they shared a mutual respect for each other as gifted legal thinkers.

For another tribute from across the aisle, I recommend this essay by Justice Scalia's former colleague on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Geoffrey Stone. It concludes:

Though we never much agreed on anything, I liked Nino greatly as a person and as a friend, and I deeply respected his intellect. I may not miss his votes as a justice, but I will miss him. He added sparkle to the Court and to the lives of those who knew him.