By COLlive reporter
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the leading conservative voice on the high court and the first Italian-American justice, has died at the age of 79.
Appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia was described as the intellectual anchor for the originalist and textualist position in the Court’s conservative wing.
Chief Justice John Roberts called Scalia “an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the court and the country he so loyally served.”
In 2009, Justice Scalia participated in a daylong conference of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law, chaired by Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe and directed by Rabbi Noach Heber. It operates under the auspices of Chabad of Midtown Manhattan directed by Rabbi Yehoshua Metzger.
Nathan Lewin, a prominent lawyer who both shared a classroom with Scalia at Harvard in 1960 and later argued several cases before him in the Supreme Court, chaired the Chabad-organized session held in New York City.
With over 300 people in attendance, Justice Scalia joined a panel for the session about Internet privacy titled “The Right to Privacy and Individual Liberties From Ancient Times to the Cyberspace Age.”
“I assume I’m here to talk about federal law because I must confess that my Daf Yomi attendance has been lackluster,” joked Scalia, a Roman Catholic, referring to the daily study of Talmud.
Scalia’s remarks led Professor Joel Reidenberg of Fordham Law School to ask students of an elective course on Internet privacy to create a dossier about the justice from what can be found on the Internet.
The New York Times reported that the class created a dossier of 15 pages that included the justice’s home address and phone number, his wife’s personal e-mail address and the TV shows and food he prefers.
In response, Justice Scalia said the following to the Above the Law website:
“I stand by my remark at the Institute of American and Talmudic Law conference that it is silly to think that every single datum about my life is private. I was referring, of course, to whether every single datum about my life deserves privacy protection in law.
“It is not a rare phenomenon that what is legal may also be quite irresponsible. That appears in the First Amendment context all the time. What can be said often should not be said. Prof. Reidenberg’s exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any.”