I was first exposed to Justice Scalia’s writings in, naturally, law school, but I will confess I have little recollection of those encounters because I had little framework within which to appreciate them.
As I began actually practicing law, and coincidentally delving deeply into politics, I began to take a much greater interest in U.S. Supreme Court decisions and opinions. That’s when I began to really appreciate and take delight in Scalia’s opinions, both from a jurisprudential and from a stylistic perspective. Later, as I began to actually practice Constitutional law, Scalia’s writings packed an even greater punch, and I found myself actually trying to write like him in my briefs, motions and proposed orders.
Whether you are a committed liberal or a committed conservative, you can’t help but appreciate and admire Scalia’s irrefutable reasoning, which is why so many who disagreed with him ideologically (i.e. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) were still very dear friends with him. He engendered respect from both his friends and his opponents. He could not only dissect an argument with surgical precision, but he would invariably put it back together again with such incisive wit and satire that you almost forgot you were reading a legal opinion.
We will all miss Scalia, and our prayers go out to his family and friends. Rest in peace, sir. You earned it.