Facts about Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia died at 79 years old
Born: March 11, 1936
Best known as: U.S. Supreme Court judge, 1986-2016


Antonin Scalia Biography

Antonin Scalia was the brainy and flamboyant conservative Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1986 until his death in 2016.

With degrees from Georgetown University (1957) and Harvard Law (1960), Antonin “Nino” Scalia spent parts of his early career as a lawyer in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio (1961-67) and as a law professor at the University of Virginia (1967-71) and the University of Chicago (1977-82).

He also worked in government during the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (1971-77).

President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982, and after four years nominated him to the Supreme Court. He was approved by the U.S. Senate and took his seat on the court on September 26, 1986.

A self-proclaimed “originalist,” Antonin Scalia put a heavy emphasis on the original text of the U.S. Constitution in deciding his opinions. He made a career of fighting what some call judicial activism, in an effort to interpret the U.S. Constitution as it was written by the drafters and not according to the changing times.

Scalia’s confrontational style and his openness about his politically conservative views made him a lightning rod for liberal critics, a role he seemed to relish during his public appearances.

During much of the 2000s he formed a sturdy conservative bloc on the court with fellow justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts.

He was the longest-serving justice on the court when he died suddenly in 2016, of natural causes, while on a hunting trip at a resort in Texas.

Extra credit

Antonin Scalia was good personal friends with fellow associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, although they were considered to be ideological opposites… Antonin Scalia married the former Maureen McCarthy on September 10, 1960, and they remained married until his death. They had nine children together.


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