Tuesday, August 2, 2016

HENRY A. GIROUX ON THE HEINOUS DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE OF WHITE SUPREMACY IN THE UNITED STATES AND ITS INTEGRAL CONNECTION TO THE FERVENT RISE OF FASCIST IDEOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TODAY

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36987-white-supremacy-and-sanctioned-violence-in-the-age-of-donald-trump
 
White Supremacy and Sanctioned Violence in the Age of Donald Trump
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
by Henry A. Giroux
Truthout | Op-Ed

Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for president on the final night of the Republican National Convention, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, July 21, 2016. (Photo: Eric Thayer / The New York Times) 

Peter Thiel, the silicon billionaire and one of the six ultra-rich financial elite to speak at the Republican National Convention once wrote that he did not "believe that freedom and democracy were compatible." This blatant anti-democratic mindset has emerged once again, without apology, as a major organizing principle of the Republican Party under Donald Trump. In addition to expressing a hatred of Muslims, Mexicans, women, journalists, dissidents, and others whom he views as outside the pale of what constitutes a true American, Trump appears to harbor a core disdain for democracy, bringing back Theodor Adorno's warning that "the true danger [of fascism] lay in the traces of the fascist mentality within the democratic political system" (a warning quoted in Prismatic Thought). What has become clear is that the current political crisis represents a return to ideologies, values and policies based upon a poisonous mix of white supremacy and ultra-nationalism, opening up a politics that "could lead back to political totalitarianism."

Throughout the 2016 Republican National Convention the hateful discourse of red-faced anger and unbridled fear-mongering added up to more than an appeal to protect America and make it safe again. Such weakly coded invocations also echoed the days of Jim Crow, the undoing of civil rights, forced expulsions and forms of state terrorism sanctioned in the strident calls for safety and law-and-order. Commenting on Trump's speech, columnist Eugene Robinson argued that his talk added up to what few journalists were willing to acknowledge -- "a notorious white supremacist account." What is shocking is the refusal in many mainstream media circles to examine the role that white supremacy has played in creating the conditions for Trump to emerge as the head of the Republican Party. This structured silence is completely at odds with Trump's longstanding legacy of discrimination, including his recent and relentless derogatory remarks concerning President Obama, his race-based attacks on US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel (who is trying a case against Trump University), his denunciation of Muslims as terrorists and his attempt to paint Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug dealers and rapists.

Neo-Fascism in the US

 
The visibility of such racist accounts and the deep investments in the ongoing mobilization of fear by political extremists in the United States surely has its roots in a number of factors, including dire economic conditions that have left millions suffering and proliferated zones of social abandonment. These economic conditions have resulted in an exponential increase in the individuals and groups condemned to live under machineries of inscription, punishment and disposability. The current mobilization of fear also has its roots, rarely mentioned by those critical of Trump, in a legacy of white supremacy that is used to divert anger over dire economic and political conditions into the diversionary cesspool of racial hatred. Racial amnesia was one consequence of the heralding of what David Theo Goldberg has called in his book Are We All Postracial Yet?, a "postracial" era in American history after the first Black president was elected to office in 2008. This collective racial amnesia (coded as postracialism) was momentarily disrupted by the execution of Troy Davis, the shootings of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin and others, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet, even today, in spite of the cell phone videos that have made visible an endless array of Black men being killed by police, much of the American public (and particularly, the white American public) seems immune to communications of the reach, depth and scope of institutional racism in America. As Nathanial Rich observes:
"Today, like sixty years ago, much of the public rhetoric about race is devoted to explaining to an incurious white public, in rudimentary terms, the contours of institutional racism. It must be spelled out, as if for the first time, that police killings of unarmed black children, indifference to providing clean drinking water to a majority-black city, or efforts to curtail the voting rights of minority citizens are not freak incidents; but outbreaks of a chronic national disease. Nebulous, bureaucratic terms like "white privilege" have been substituted for "white supremacy," or "micro-aggressions" for "casual racism."

Across the globe, fascism and white supremacy in their diverse forms are on the rise. In Greece, France, Poland, Austria and Germany, among other nations, right-wing extremists have used the hateful discourse of racism, xenophobia and white nationalism to demonize immigrants and undermine democratic modes of rule and policies. As Chris Hedges observes, much of the right-wing, racist rhetoric coming out of these countries mimics what Trump and his followers are saying in the United States.

One consequence is that the public spheres that produce a critically engaged citizenry and make a democracy possible are under siege and in rapid retreat. Economic stagnation, massive inequality, the rise of religious fundamentalism and growing forms of ultra-nationalism now aim to put democratic nations to rest. Echoes of the right-wing movements in Europe have come home with a vengeance. Demagogues wrapped in xenophobia, white supremacy and the false appeal to a lost past echo a brutally familiar fascism, with slogans similar to Donald Trump's call to "Make America Great Again" and "Make America Safe Again." These are barely coded messages that call for forms of racial and social cleansing. They are on the march, spewing hatred, embracing forms of anti-semitism and white supremacy, and showing a deep-seated disdain for any form of justice on the side of democracy. As Peter Foster points out in The Telegraph, "The toxic combination of the most prolonged period of economic stagnation and the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War has seen the far-Right surging across the continent, from Athens to Amsterdam and many points in between."

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

State-manufactured lawlessness has become normalized and extends from the ongoing and often brutalizing and murderous police violence against Black people and other vulnerable groups to a criminogenic market-based system run by a financial elite that strips everyone but the upper 1% of a future, not only by stealing their possessions but also by condemning them to a life in which the only available option is to fall back on one's individual resources in order to barely survive. In addition, as Kathy Kelly points out, at the national level, lawlessness now drives a militarized foreign policy intent on assassinating alleged enemies rather than using traditional forms of interrogation, arrest and conviction. The killing of people abroad based on race is paralleled by (and connected with) the killing of Black people at home. Kelly correctly notes that the whole world has become a battlefield driven by racial profiling, where lethal violence replaces the protocols of serve and protect.

Fear is the reigning ideology and war its operative mode of action, pitting different groups against each other, shutting down the possibilities of shared responsibilities, and legitimating the growth of a paramilitary police force that kills Black people with impunity. State-manufactured fear offers up new forms of domestic terrorism embodied in the rise of a surveillance state while providing a powerful platform for militarizing many aspects of society. One consequence is that, as Charles Derber argues, America has become a warrior society whose "culture and institutions... program civilians for violence at home as well as abroad." And, as Zygmunt Bauman argues in his book Liquid Fear, in a society saturated in violence and hate, "human relations are a source of anxiety" and everyone is viewed with mistrust. Compassion gives way to suspicion and a celebration of fear and revulsion accorded to those others who allegedly have the potential to become monsters, criminals, or even worse, murderous terrorists. Under such circumstance, the bonds of trust dissolve, while hating the other becomes normalized and lawlessness is elevated to a matter of commonsense.

Politics is now a form of warfare creating and producing an expanding geography of combat zones that hold entire cities, such as Ferguson, Missouri, hostage to forms of extortion, violence lock downs and domestic terrorism -- something I have demonstrated in detail in my book America at War with Itself. These are cities where most of those targeted are Black. Within these zones of racial violence, Black people are often terrified by the presence of the police and subject to endless forms of domestic terrorism. Hannah Arendt once wrote that terror was the essence of totalitarianism. She was right and we are witnessing the dystopian visions of the new authoritarians who now trade in terror, fear, hatred, demonization, violence and racism. Trump and his neo-Nazi bulldogs are no longer on the fringe of political life and they have no interests in instilling values that will make America great. On the contrary, they are deeply concerned with creating expanding constellations of force and fear, while inculcating convictions that will destroy the ability to form critical capacities and modes of civic courage that offer a glimmer of resistance and justice.

Trump and the Culture of Cruelty

 
Nicholas Confessore rightly argues that Trump's "anti-other language" and denigration of Mexican immigrants as "criminal rapists, murderers and drug dealers" has "electrified the world of white nationalists," who up until the Trump campaign had been relegated to the fringe of American politics. No longer. All manner of white nationalist groups, news sites (The Daily Stormer) and individuals, such as Jared Tayler (a self-described "race realist") and David Duke (a racist and anti-Semitic Louisiana lawmaker and talk show host) have embraced Trump as a presidential candidate. And in a less-than-subtle way, Trump has embraced them. He has repeatedly tweeted messages that first appeared on racist or ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi Twitter accounts and when asked about such tweets has refused to disavow them directly.

In short, this emerging American neo-fascism in its various forms is largely about social and racial cleansing and its end point is the construction of prisons, detention centers, enclosures, walls, and all the other varieties of murderous apparatus that accompany the discourse of national greatness and racial purity. Americans have lived through 40 years of the dismantling of the welfare state, the elimination of democratic public spheres, such as schools and libraries, and the attack on public goods and social provisions. In their place, we have the rise of the punishing state with its support for a range of criminogenic institutions, extending from banks and hedge funds to state governments and militarized police departments that depend on extortion to meet their budgets.

Where are the institutions that do not support a rabid individualism, a culture of cruelty and a society based on social combat -- that refuse to militarize social problems and reject the white supremacist laws and practices spreading throughout the United States? What happens when a society is shaped by a poisonous neoliberalism that separates economic and individual economic actions form social costs, when privatization becomes the only sanctioned orbit for agency, when values are entirely reduced to exchange values?

How do we talk about the way in which language is transformed into a tool of violence, as recently happened at the Republican National Convention? Moreover, how does language act in the service of violence -- less through an overt discourse of hate and bigotry than through its complicity with all manner of symbolic and real violence? What happens to a society when moral witnessing is hollowed out by a shameless entertainment industry that is willing to produce and distribute spectacles of extreme violence on a massive scale? What happens to a society when music is used as a method of torture (as it was at Guantanamo) and when a fascist politics of torture and disappearance are endorsed by a presidential candidate and many of his supporters? Instead of addressing these questions -- as well as the state-sanctioned torture and lynching that form the backdrop for this violence -- we have been hearing a lot of talk about violence waged against police. This is not to suggest that the recent isolated acts of violence against police are justified -- of course, they are not -- but the real question is why we don't see much more of such violence, given how rampant police violence has long been in the service of white supremacy. As Ta-Nehisi Coates observes, the killing of police officers cannot be addressed outside the historical legacy of discrimination, harassment, and violence against Black people. He writes:

When the law shoots down 12-year-old children, or beats down old women on traffic islands, or chokes people to death over cigarettes; when the law shoots people over compact discs, traffic stops, drivers' licenses, loud conversation, or car trouble; when the law auctions off its monopoly on lethal violence to bemused civilians, when these civilians then kill, and when their victims are mocked in their death throes; when people stand up to defend police as officers of the state, and when these defenders are killed by these very same officers; when much of this is recorded, uploaded, live-streamed, tweeted, and broadcast; and when government seems powerless, or unwilling, to stop any of it, then it ceases, in the eyes of citizens, to be any sort of respectable law at all. It simply becomes "force."

The call for even more "law and order" feeds even more police violence rather than addressing how it can be eliminated. What is often forgotten by such calls is that, as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Brad Evans point out, "When human beings are valued as less than human, violence begins to emerge as the only response." Under such circumstances, as Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin argue, the call for law and order is in actuality a call to sanction even more state violence while telling white people that their country is spiralling out of control and that they yearn for a leader who will take aggressive, even extreme, actions to protect them. But the consequences of hate are marked or covered over with well-intentioned but misguided calls for love and empathy. These are empty calls when they do not address the root causes of violence and when they ignore a ruthless climate and culture of cruelty that calls poor people moochers; a culture that's increasingly militarized, that increasingly criminalizes and marginalizes people and social problems, and where a discourse of hate is normalized by the Republican Party and covered up by the Democratic Party.

Differences Between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

 
What cannot be ignored is that Hilary Clinton has supported a war machine that has resulted in the death of millions, while also supporting a neoliberal economy that has produced massive amounts of suffering and created a mass incarceration state. Yet, all of that is forgotten as the mainstream press focuses on stories about Clinton's emails and the details of her electoral run for the presidency. It is crucial to note that Clinton hides her crimes in the discourse of freedom and appeals to democracy while Trump overtly disdains such a discourse. In the end, state and domestic violence saturate American society and the only time this fact gets noticed is when the beatings and murders of Black men are caught on camera and spread through social media.

Where are the mainstream public outcries for the millions of Black and Brown people incarcerated in America's carceral state? When the mainstream media can write and air allegedly objective stories about a fascist candidate who delights white nationalists and neo-Nazis, without highlighting that he advocates policies that are racist and constitute war crimes, it makes visible how America has forgotten what it should be ashamed of: the fact that we've built a society in which collective morality and the ethical imagination no longer matter. Comparisons to the 1930s matter but what counts even more is that they have been forgotten or are held in disdain. Much of the American public appears to have forgotten that totalitarian and white supremacist societies are too often legitimated by a supplicant mainstream media, cowardly politicians, right-wing and liberal pundits, academics and other cultural workers who either overlook or support the hateful bigotry of demagogues, such as Trump. What is also forgotten by many is the racist legacy of policies implemented by the Democratic Party that have resulted in a punitive culture of criminalization, incarceration and shooting of untold numbers of Black people.

Rather than engage in the masochistic practice of supporting Trump's nativism, ignorance and bigotry, and his warlike fantasies of what it will take to make America great again, white workers who have been driven to despair by the ravaging policies of the financial elite and their shameless political and corporate allies should be in the streets protesting -- not only against what is called establishment politics, but also the rise of an unvarnished neo-Nazi demagogue.

Evidence of such complicity comes in many forms, some of which are wrapped in the discourse of a supine liberalism that bows down in the face of an authoritarianism largely driven by the ethos of white supremacy. One example can be found in an article by Sam Tanenhaus in The New York Times: "How Trump can save the G.O.P." This stuff is hard to make up. In the article, Tanenhaus compares Trump to former presidents Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson and praises him for the pragmatism of some of his economic policies -- as if the spirit behind Trump's policies had any relationship to the spirit that animated Eisenhower's resistance to the military-industrial complex or to Johnson's deep concern for eliminating poverty and dismantling racism in American society. Does it matter to Tanenhous that Trump is a bigot and potential war who wants to expel 11 million Mexicans, hates Muslims and speaks glowingly about instituting torture as president of the United States? Does it matter that Trump supports violence with a wink of the eye and is unapologetic about his huge following of neo-Nazis who are enthusiastic about waging a war against Black and Brown people? How is it possible to forget that, overall, Trump is a demagogue, misogynist, racist and bigot who is unequivocally dangerous to the promises and ideals of a democracy? Apparently, it is possible. Yes, the fascists and Nazis were also efficient, particularly in the end when it came to building a war machine and committing acts of genocide. So much for pragmatism without a conscience.

Trump is a real danger to the species, the country and the world in general. His views on war and climate change -- along with the promise of violence against his enemies and his unapologetic racism, bigotry and hatred of constitutional rights -- pose some of the greatest dangers to democracy and freedom the US has ever faced.

As Adam Gopnik says in an excellent article in The New Yorker, democracies do not simply commit suicide, they are killed by murderers, by people like Trump. Most expressions of support for Trump vastly underestimate the immediate danger Trump poses to the world and minorities of class, race and ethnicity. In contrast, while Hillary Clinton is a warmonger, a cheerleader for neoliberalism and a high-ranking member of the Democratic Party establishment, she is not threatening to take an immediate set of actions that would throw people of color, immigrants and working-class people under the bus. Instead, if she wins the election, she should be viewed as part of a corrupt financial and political system that should be overthrown. While posing danger on a number of economic, political and foreign fronts, Clinton would also expose by her actions and policies the mythological nature of the idea that democracy and capitalism are the same thing. Hopefully, all those young people who followed the dead-end of a Bernie Sanders movement -- and the false suggestion that a political revolution can be achieved by reforming the Democratic Party -- would seize on this contradiction. Sanders revitalized the discourse about inequality, injustice and the need to break down the financial monopolies, but he failed in choosing a political avenue in which such real and systemic change can come about.

Fighting for a Democratic Future

 
We live in a time in which people are diverted into a politics that celebrates saviors, denigrates democratic relations of power and policy, and provides a mode of escape in which heartfelt trauma and pain are used to mobilize people not into democratic movements but into venting their anger by blaming others who are equally oppressed. This signals a politics that kills both empathy and the imagination, a politics that uses pain to inflict further pain on others. Atomization on a global scale is a new form of invisible violence because it shackles people to their own experiences, cutting them off from a shared awareness of the larger systemic forces that shape their lives. Anger, indignation and misery need to take a detour through the ethical, political and social models of analysis that connect individual issues to larger social problems. Only then can we resist the transformation of grievances into a Trump-like version of American fascism.

Americans need to continue to develop broad-based movements that reject the established political parties and rethink the social formations necessary to bring about a radical democracy. We see this in the Black Lives Matter movement as well as in a range of other movements that are resisting corporate money in politics, the widespread destruction of the environment, nuclear war and the mass incarceration state. With hope, these important social movements will continue to break new ground in experimenting with new ways to come together and form broad-based coalitions between fragmented subgroups.

In the end, it's vital to foster anti-fascist, pro-radical democracy movements that understand short-term and long-term strategies. Short-term strategies include participating in an electoral process to make sure a fascist or religious fundamentalist does not control a school board or gain  leadership roles regarding public governance. Such practices do not represent a sellout but a strategic effort to make immediate progressive gains on the way to tearing down the entire system. Strategies built on the divide of being in or out of the system are too simplistic. Progressives must forge polices that do both as part of a larger movement for creating a radical democracy. Such actions are not the same as giving into a capitalist world view, especially when the long-term plan is to overthrow such a system. There seems to be a certain kind of theoretical infantilism that dominates some segments of the left on this issue, a form of political purity stuck in an either/or mind set. Such ideological fundamentalism (which might assert, for example, that those who vote are "giving in" or "selling out") is not helpful for successful short-term planning or for long-term strategies for developing the institutions, cultural apparatuses and social movements necessary for radical change in the US and elsewhere.

If we are to fight for a democratic future that matters, progressives and the left need to ask how we would go forward if the looming authoritarian nightmare succeeds in descending upon the United States. What can we learn about the costs of allowing our society to become lawless in its modes of governance and to lose its historical understanding of the legacy of slavery, lynching and bigotry that have given rise to mass incarceration and the punishing state? What does it mean when money rules and corrupts politics, disavows economic actions from social costs, and wages war against public trust, values and goods? These are just some of the questions that need to be addressed in order to break free from a neoliberal system that spells the death-knell for democracy. All societies contain new beginnings -- we need desperately to find one on the side of justice and democracy.

The US is in a new historical moment in which the old is dying and the new is waiting to emerge. Such periods are as hopeful as they are dangerous. At the same time, there are young people and others intent on turning despair into hope, struggling to reclaim the radical imagination, and working to build a broad-based collective struggle for real symbolic and structural change in the pursuit of political and economic justice. We need to accelerate such movements before it is too late.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Henry A. Giroux currently is the McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest and The Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. He also is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University. His most recent books include The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights, 2014), Dangerous Thinking in the Age of the New Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2015) and coauthored with Brad Evans, Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle (City Lights, 2015). Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His website is www.henryagiroux.com.


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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What Is the Major Lesson Learned in the Freddie Gray Case?

All,

This is the major lesson learned in the Freddie Gray case:

In order to successfully murder a human being and get away with it in the United Hates you must meet at least two major conditions beforehand: 

1) You must be a police officer and 2) Your victim must be black...


Kofi

http://www.nytimes.com/…/charges-dropped-against-3-remainin…

U.S.

Charges Dropped in Freddie Gray Case Against 3 Last Baltimore Officers
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and JESS BIDGOOD
JULY 27, 2016
New York Times


Prosecutors in Baltimore on Wednesday dropped all remaining charges against three city police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, ending one of the most closely watched — and unsuccessful — police prosecutions in the nation.

The decision brought a stunning end to a sweeping prosecution that began with criminal charges against six police officers last May, announced with the city still in the grips of violent protest after the death of Mr. Gray, who was found unresponsive and not breathing after he rode unsecured in a police transport wagon after his arrest on a bright morning in April 2015. Mr. Gray later died of a spinal cord injury.

But prosecutors were unable to secure a single conviction during the first four trials, the first of which, for Officer William G. Porter, began in December and ended in a mistrial that led to months of delays. Officer Edward M. Nero, who participated in the initial arrest, was acquitted in May; Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the vehicle in which Mr. Gray was transported, was acquitted in June; and another officer present for the initial arrest, Lt. Brian Rice, was acquitted earlier this month.

Timeline: Three of Six Officers in Freddie Case Acquitted of All Charges So Far

Lt. Brian W. Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in the case of Freddie Gray, was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.

OPEN Timeline


Mr. Gray’s death, and the protests that followed, catapulted Baltimore to the center of a national reckoning over race and policing. The announcement of charges by the city’s top prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, drew praise from demonstrators but also criticism from those who said it was politically motivated.

The prosecutors’ decision to drop the remaining charges was disclosed during a pretrial motion for Officer Garrett Miller, whose trial was scheduled to begin this week. Lawyers from Ms. Mosby’s office announced that the state would not prosecute that case or the two remaining ones — against Sgt. Alicia D. White and against Officer Porter, the first officer to be tried.

There had been little public hint of the decision; Judge Barry Williams of the Baltimore City Circuit Court had imposed a strict gag order on all the lawyers, defendants and witnesses, seeking to tamp down publicity surrounding a death that had sparked violent protests and riots last spring.

A court spokeswoman said Wednesday that the gag order has now been lifted.

PHOTO: Six Baltimore police officers were charged with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray in April. The officers are, top row from left, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero, and bottom row from left, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White. Credit Baltimore Police Department, via Associated Press

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Central Role of Mythology, White Supremacy, Capitalist Hegemony and Ideological Hubris in Modern American Politics Since 1945

NOTE: The following piece is an excerpt from a much longer forthcoming essay-in-progress on the cumulative societal effects of Modern American Political History since 1945:

THE NEW CONFEDERACY IS EXACTLY LIKE THE OLD ONE (PLUS IT TOO HAS ACCESS TO SOCIAL MEDIA...)
by Kofi Natambu
The Panopticon Review


...There are many debilitating myths about American history in general and American politics in particular. In fact it could be said that the widespread intellectual and social reliance, even obsessive dependency, on this enormous cobweb of lies, distortions, half truths, misrepresentations, and fallacies have contributed to an atmosphere of social discourse that is often drowning in a cesspool of rhetorical evasions and blatantly false assertions. One of the most dangerous and paralyzing of these myths has to do with the alleged progressive attitudes and values of the national white American electorate—especially in the so-called modern era since the end of World War II. One of the persistent articles of faith of this mythology has it that since the popular notion of the ‘American Century’ (which we now often rather arrogantly refer to as the recent history of ‘Amercian exceptionalism’) emerged as a slogan following the collective defeat by the Allies of the United States, Europe, (and ironically by the then Soviet Union) of the global forces of fascism led of course by the German Nazi Party, there has been an endless promotion in the media, popular culture, and in academia of the idea that the United States is fundamentally a progressive, forward looking nation that deeply loves and supports democracy and is a firm believer in the systemic eradication of all forms and vestiges of such virulently anti-democratic, repressive, and reactionary ideas and practices as institutional and structural racism, sexism, class oppression and exploitation, homophobia, and imperial militarism. However even a cursory examination of the actual history of the U.S. since 1945 indicates that this reading of a substantial majority of the white American electorate is not merely inaccurate and off the mark but delusional.

For a stark and very significant example consider what the national voting record of white Americans in presidential elections has been since 1948. It was in that year that former Vice President Harry Truman first ran for the office as the Democratic Party candidate following the untimely death of his predecessor President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in April of 1945 (who in November 1944 had won the presidency for an unprecedented fourth term—a future possibility that was eliminated by the passage of the twenty second amendment to the constitution in 1947 which stated that no presidential incumbent could henceforth serve more than two terms). However despite this new ruling and the fact that both the far left and far rightwing segments of the national Democratic Party bolted from Truman candidacy and ran their own independent campaigns (i.e. former Vice President in Roosevelt’s last administration in 1944 Henry Wallace of the Progressive Party and then Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond of the openly racist and segregationist “Dixiecrat” Party) Truman was still able to garner 53% of the white vote nationally, that along with the heavily truncated 71% of the black vote was barely enough to provide Truman with a surprising but very narrow victory over his Republican opponent New York Governor Thomas Dewey, whom the media and most political pundits had erroneously predicted would easily beat Truman.

What’s also significant about the national presidential election of 1948 is that except for only ONE other occasion in the past 64 years(!) the Democratic candidate for President (whether he was an incumbent or not) has failed to receive anywhere near a majority of the national white vote. Please allow me to repeat this harrowing statistic: In the last 16 presidential elections following Truman’s victory in 1948 and going back 64 years to the next presidential election in 1952, a substantial majority of white American voters have voted for the Republican candidate--again whether he was the incumbent or not--15 times. The ONLY exception in the past six decades is 1964 when former Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who assumed the presidency following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November of 1963, ran on his own for the office a year later vs. arch conservative and rightwing political reactionary Barry Goldwater. Clearly, in what was essentially a national sympathy vote for the successor of the slain President Kennedy, Johnson received a whopping 60% of the national white vote, a figure that hasn’t been reached by any presidential candidate in the Democratic Party in the fifty years since; one would have to go back 70 years to 1944 in Franklin’s Roosevelt’s last presidential victory to find any Democratic Party candidate who won as large of a percentage of the white vote. In fact in the last 16 presidential elections Democratic Party candidates have only won a cumulative national average of 38% of the white vote. 

So the obvious question looms: What do these dramatic statistics tell us about the modern white American electorate since 1945? Well for starters it clearly tells us that the average white voter in general since 1945 has not supported and does not currently support a progressive social and economic agenda by the government. Of course this may change at some point in the near future (say in a decade from now) but I highly doubt it will change anytime soon in the foreseeable future (i.e. the next two national presidential election cycles leading up to and probably including 2020)...

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Death of Antonin Scalia and the Future Of the Supreme Court

All,

Antonin Scalia was one of the most despicable, destructive, and thoroughly reactionary justices in the history of the Supreme Court (which if you check the full historical record is saying a great deal). In my view and that of many others both within and outside the formal legal world Scalia was THE major leading ideological demagogue and deeply authoritarian figure on the Supreme Court whose relentless and unapologetically rightwing positions on the bench have been largely responsible for the deeply disturbing general direction of the Supreme Court since Scalia was appointed by President Reagan in 1986.  To say that Scalia and the rest of the contemptible reactionary five (e.g. Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy—all very conservative male Catholics by the way) who have given us so many incredibly backward and truly oppressive legal decisions have been a constant bullying menace to the fundamental rights of women, the poor, African Americans, and labor generally is a huge understatement.   So given these indisputable facts about Scalia's massive impact on the past 30 years of American jurisprudence via the court — and thus by extension its inherently unjust, unequal and brazenly manipulative political and economic systems—I can only say that him no longer residing on the court is in many ways, with all due respect to his death, POETIC JUSTICE... 

Thus the only question remaining at this point  is will President Obama and the Democratic Party in general have the courage, honesty, commitment, INTEGRITY,  toughness, and genuinely independent clarity and vision to aggressively nominate, support, and FIGHT for a REAL PROGRESSIVE as Scalia’s replacement on the bench no matter what the rightwing Republicans do and say in this election year?  Because if the President and his party in Congress don’t have the tenacious will and sheer guts it will take to see this fight all the way through to the end of the nominating process and instead nominates and supports a weak, tepid, and gutless “centrist/moderate” candidate they will help the Republicans to set this country back at least 80 years in terms of real lasting justice for this country,  In the meantime it is up to all of us to openly DEMAND that this President not become a legal, moral, ideological, and political codependent and intimidated enabler to the (ongoing) reactionary madness that characterizes the rightwing demagoguery that is destroying this country and that Justice Antonin Scalia along with his arrogant colleagues on the Supreme Court has inflicted on our major legal, political, and economic institutions for over three decades now.  Let’s not merely wait to see what happens in this upcoming battle but actively and forcefully demand that the President and his administration do the right thing and leave a legacy that will insure that the Supreme Court becomes a true bulwark of freedom and justice for many decades to come…If we don’t do what is required in this struggle this chance to truly transform the court won’t come again for a very long time and that would be truly catastrophic for not only us but our children as well...Stay tuned…

Kofi


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/us/antonin-scalia-death.html?_r=0

U.S.


Antonin Scalia, Justice on the Supreme Court, Dies at 79




Video

Justice Antonin Scalia Dies at 79

Justice Antonin Scalia, a champion of interpreting the Constitution as it was understood at the time of its adoption, was found dead on Saturday.

By AINARA TIEFENTHÄLER on Publish Date February 13, 2016. Photo by Craig Fritz/Associated Press.   Watch in Times Video »
Justice Antonin Scalia, whose transformative legal theories, vivid writing and outsize personality made him a leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance in his three decades on the Supreme Court, was found dead on Saturday at a resort in West Texas. He was 79.

“He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement confirming Justice Scalia’s death. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”

The cause of death was not immediately released. A spokeswoman for the United States Marshals Service, which sent personnel to the scene, said there was nothing to indicate the death was the result of anything other than natural causes.

Justice Scalia began his service on the court as an outsider known for caustic dissents that alienated even potential allies. But his theories, initially viewed as idiosyncratic, gradually took hold, and not only on the right and not only in the courts.

He was, Judge Richard A. Posner wrote in The New Republic in 2011, “the most influential justice of the last quarter-century.” Justice Scalia was a champion of originalism, the theory of constitutional interpretation that seeks to apply the understanding of those who drafted and ratified the Constitution. In Justice Scalia’s hands, originalism generally led to outcomes that pleased political conservatives, but not always. His approach was helpful to criminal defendants in cases involving sentencing and the cross-examination of witnesses.
Justice Scalia also disdained the use of legislative history — statements from members of Congress about the meaning and purposes of laws — in the judicial interpretation of statutes. He railed against vague laws that did not give potential defendants fair warning of what conduct was criminal. He preferred bright-line rules to legal balancing tests, and he was sharply critical of Supreme Court opinions that did not provide lower courts and litigants with clear guidance.

All of these views took shape in dissents. Over time, they came to influence and in many cases dominate the debate at the Supreme Court, in lower courts, among lawyers and in the legal academy.

By the time he wrote his most important majority opinion, finding that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, even the dissenters were engaged in trying to determine the original meaning of the Constitution, the approach he had championed.
That 2008 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, also illustrated a second point: Justice Scalia in his later years was willing to bend a little to attract votes from his colleagues. In Heller, the price of commanding a majority appeared to be including a passage limiting the practical impact of the decision.
With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens in 2010, Justice Scalia became the longest-serving member of the current court. By then, Justice Scalia was routinely writing for the majority in the major cases, including ones on the First Amendment, class actions and arbitration.

He was an exceptional stylist who labored over his opinions and took pleasure in finding precisely the right word or phrase. In dissent, he took no prisoners. The author of a majority opinion could be confident that a Scalia dissent would not overlook any shortcomings.
Justice Scalia wrote for a broader audience than most of his colleagues did. His opinions were read by lawyers and civilians for pleasure and instruction.

At oral argument, Justice Scalia took professorial delight in sparring with the advocates before him. He seemed to play to the crowd in the courtroom, which rewarded his jokes with generous laughter.

Justice Scalia’s sometimes withering questioning helped transform what had been a sleepy bench when he arrived into one that Chief Justice Roberts has said has become too active, with the justices interrupting the lawyers and each other.
Some of Justice Scalia’s recent comments from the bench were raw and provocative. In an affirmative action case in December, he said that some minority students may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”

“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he said, describing — some said distorting — an argument in a supporting brief about the harm that can be caused to students with inferior academic credentials by admitting them to colleges where they do not thrive.
Justice Scalia was a man of varied tastes, with a fondness for poker, opera and hunting. His friends called him Nino, and they said he enjoyed nothing more than a good joke at his own expense.

He seldom agreed with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the important questions that reached the court, but the two for years celebrated New Year’s Eve together. Not long after Justice Elena Kagan, another liberal, joined the court, Justice Scalia took her skeet shooting.




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Justice Antonin Scalia, a Conservative Presence on the Bench

Justice Antonin Scalia, a Conservative Presence on the Bench

CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Family Influence

Antonin Gregory Scalia was born on March 11, 1936, in Trenton, to Salvatore Scalia and the former Catherine Panaro. He was their only child and was showered with attention from his parents and their siblings, none of whom had children of their own.
Justice Scalia and his wife, the former Maureen McCarthy, had nine children, the upshot of what he called Vatican roulette. “We were both devout Catholics,” Justice Scalia told Joan Biskupic for her 2009 biography, “American Original.” “And being a devout Catholic means you have children when God gives them to you, and you raise them.”
He said his large family influenced his legal philosophy.
“Parents know that children will accept quite readily all sorts of arbitrary substantive dispositions — no television in the afternoon, or no television in the evening, or even no television at all,” he said at a Harvard lecture in 1989. “But try to let one brother or sister watch television when the others do not, and you will feel the fury of the fundamental sense of justice unleashed.”

Young Antonin was an exceptional student, graduating as valedictorian from Xavier High School in Lower Manhattan, first in his class at Georgetown and magna cum laude at Harvard Law School.
He practiced law for six years in Cleveland before accepting a position teaching law at the University of Virginia in 1967. Four years later, he entered government service, first as general counsel of the Office of Telecommunications Policy and then as chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an executive branch agency that advises federal regulators. Both positions drew on and expanded his expertise in administrative law, a topic that would interest him throughout his career.

In 1974, President Richard M. Nixon nominated him to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, an elite unit of the Justice Department that advises the executive branch on the law. He was confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 22, 1974, not long after Nixon resigned.

In 1977, Mr. Scalia returned to the legal academy, now joining the law faculty at the University of Chicago. He also served as editor of Regulation magazine, published by the American Enterprise Institute.

After Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, Mr. Scalia was interviewed for a job he coveted, solicitor general of the United States, the lawyer who represents the federal government in the Supreme Court. He lost out to Rex E. Lee, and it stung. “I was bitterly disappointed,” Justice Scalia told Ms. Biskupic. “I never forgot it.”
He was offered a seat on the federal appeals court in Chicago. But he turned it down in the hope of being nominated instead to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, whose docket, location and prestige appealed to him. The court was also widely viewed as a steppingstone to the Supreme Court.

The first opening on the D.C. Circuit in the Reagan years went to another prominent conservative law professor, Robert H. Bork. But the second one, in 1982, went to Mr. Scalia.

He served for four years, issuing opinions favoring executive power, skeptical of claims of employment discrimination and hostile to the press. The opinions, which were forceful and sometimes funny, attracted the attention of the White House.

He appeared to enjoy intellectual give-and-take from the bench, with his colleagues and in his chambers. On the appeals court and in his early years on the Supreme Court, he would hire one liberal law clerk each year to keep discussions lively.

“He made it a point of telling me that I was his token liberal,” said E. Joshua Rosenkranz, who served as a law clerk for Judge Scalia in 1986, his last year on the appeals court. “To his credit, I’m sure it was largely because he wanted to be sure he always heard the arguments against the positions he was taking.”



 Video

Antonin Scalia Takes Supreme Court Oath

Archival footage shows Antonin Scalia being sworn in as a Supreme Court justice by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in September 1986.

By C-SPAN on Publish Date February 13, 2016. Photo by Charles Tasnadi/Associated Press. Watch in Times Video »

Unanimous Confirmation

In 1986, after Chief Justice Warren Burger announced his intention to retire, Mr. Reagan nominated Judge Scalia to the Supreme Court. Though his conservative views were well known, he was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 98 to 0. He may have benefited from the fact that the liberal opposition was focused on the nomination of Justice William H. Rehnquist, who was already on the court, to succeed Chief Justice Burger.

Judge Scalia seemed to enjoy parrying with the senators at his confirmation hearing. When Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum, Democrat of Ohio, recalled losing to Judge Scalia in a tennis match, he responded that “it was a case of my integrity overcoming my judgment.”
The lopsided vote for Justice Scalia also reflected a different era, one in which presidents were thought to have wide latitude in naming judges. That era seemed to come to an end in 1987, with the defeat of the nomination of Justice Scalia’s former colleague on the D.C. Circuit, Judge Bork.

In 1993, at the confirmation hearing for Justice Ginsburg, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that “the vote that I most regret of all 15,000 votes I have cast as a senator” was “to confirm Judge Scalia” — “because he was so effective.”
Three days before the court handed the presidency to George W. Bush in December 2000, in Bush v. Gore, the court shut down the recount of votes in Florida in an unsigned opinion over the dissents of the four more liberal justices. Justice Scalia felt compelled to respond in a concurrence.

“The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to” Mr. Bush “and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election,” Justice Scalia wrote. He would later say privately that his brief concurrence doomed his chances of being named chief justice.
He was often asked about the Bush v. Gore decision at public appearances. His stock response: “Get over it.”





Justice Scalia with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who succeeded Chief Justice Burger, in 1986. Credit Barry Thumma/Associated Press 
 

‘Faint-Hearted Originalist’

The centerpiece of Justice Scalia’s judicial philosophy was his commitment to the doctrine of originalism, which sought to interpret the Constitution as it was understood at the time of its adoption. That made him uncomfortable with some of the Supreme Court’s most important precedents.
“We have now determined,” he said in remarks in Philadelphia in 2004, “that liberties exist under the federal Constitution — the right to abortion, the right to homosexual sodomy — which were so little rooted in the traditions of the American people that they were criminal for 200 years.”
He added that his colleagues may soon discover a right to assisted suicide between the lines of the text of the Constitution.

“We’re not ready to announce that right,” he said, more than a little sarcastically. “Check back with us.”
Justice Scalia said that some of the court’s leading decisions could not be justified under the original understanding of the Constitution. The court was wrong in Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963, Justice Scalia said, to require the government to provide lawyers to poor people accused of serious crimes. It was wrong in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964, he said, to say the First Amendment requires libel plaintiffs to meet heightened standards.
Justice Scalia also appeared to have reservations about Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down segregation in public schools as a violation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. Brown, decided in 1954, is widely considered the towering achievement of the court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
But for originalists, the Brown decision is problematic. The weight of the historical evidence is that the people who drafted, proposed and ratified the 14th Amendment from 1866 to 1868 did not believe themselves to be doing away with segregated schools.
In remarks at the University of Arizona in 2009, Justice Scalia suggested that Brown reached the right result as a matter of policy but was not required by the Constitution. He added that the decision did not refute his theory.
“Don’t make up your mind on this significant question between originalism and playing it by ear on the basis of whether, now and then, the latter approach might give you a result you like,” Justice Scalia said.

“Hitler developed a wonderful automobile,” he went on. “What does that prove? I’ll stipulate that you can reach some results you like with the other system. But that’s not the test. The test is over the long run does it require the society to adhere to those principles contained in the Constitution or does it lead to a society that is essentially governed by nine justices’ version of what equal protection ought to mean?”

In other settings, Justice Scalia took pains to say that he would not follow his theory wherever it would take him. He was, he said, “a faint-hearted originalist.”

“I am a textualist,” he said. “I am an originalist. I am not a nut.”

Critics seized on the concession, saying it undid the very qualities that made originalism appealing as a historically grounded theory that constrained judges otherwise apt to follow their policy preferences.

“If following a theory consistently would make you a nut, isn’t that a problem with the theory?” David A. Strauss asked in his 2010 book, “The Living Constitution.”

There was certainly a more committed originalist on the court, Justice Clarence Thomas. Unlike Justice Thomas, Justice Scalia, especially in his later years, was willing to compromise at the expense of theoretical purity.

A 2010 decision, McDonald v. Chicago, illustrates the point. The question in the case was whether the Second Amendment applied not only to federal gun control laws, a point the court established in 2008, but also to state and local laws. The answer was not much in doubt, as the five-justice majority in the 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, was still on the court.

What was in doubt was how the court would use the 14th Amendment to apply — or “incorporate,” in the legal jargon — the Second Amendment to the states. Other provisions in the Bill of Rights had been applied by means of the 14th Amendment’s due process clause.

But many judges and scholars, including Justice Scalia, had never found that methodology intellectually satisfactory. “Due process” after all, would seem to protect only procedures and not substance. The very name given to the methodology — substantive due process — sounds like an oxymoron.

Originalists hoped the court would use the McDonald case to repudiate substantive due process and instead rely on another provision of the 14th Amendment, one that says “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” There is evidence that the authors of the clause specifically wanted it to apply to allowing freed slaves to have guns to defend themselves.

Justice Scalia would have none of it. “What you argue,” he told a lawyer challenging a Chicago gun law, “is the darling of the professoriate, for sure, but it’s also contrary to 140 years of our jurisprudence.”

He told the lawyer to focus on winning his case rather than pressing a new constitutional theory. “Why do you want to undertake that burden,” Justice Scalia asked, “instead of just arguing substantive due process, which as much as I think it’s wrong, even I have acquiesced in it?”

The decision was 5 to 4. The justices in the majority agreed about the result but not how to get there. Justice Scalia accepted the substantive due process rationale, with misgivings. Justice Thomas, in a separate opinion, relied on the privileges-or-immunities rationale that had been pressed by originalists.

Still, Justice Scalia’s fidelity to originalism frequently caused him to take legal positions almost certainly at odds with his policy preferences. He voted in 1989 to strike down a law making it a crime to burn an American flag.
He said his fidelity to the Constitution overrode his sympathies. “I don’t like scruffy, bearded, sandal-wearing people who go around burning the United States flag,” he said in 2000.







Justice Scalia, right, and Justice Stephen G. Breyer testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the constitutional role of judges in 2011. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Transforming Criminal Law

Justice Scalia also helped transform aspects of the criminal law, often in ways that helped people accused of crimes. Here, too, his understanding of the Sixth Amendment, which sets out defendants’ rights in criminal prosecutions, may have been in tension with his policy preferences.
“The Sixth Amendment is a meaningful presence in American courtrooms today in large part because of Justice Scalia,” said Jeffrey L. Fisher, a law professor at Stanford. “He followed his understanding of the original intent of the Sixth Amendment, even when it made prosecutions harder and less efficient. He said it was necessary to keep the people free.”

The right to trial by an impartial jury, Justice Scalia said, means that juries must find beyond reasonable doubt all facts that give rise to punishment. He made the point in a 1998 dissent, and it ripened into the majority view in Apprendi v. New Jersey in 2000, which struck down a New Jersey hate crime law. In 2004, Justice Scalia relied on the Apprendi decision in writing the majority opinion in Blakely v. Washington, which struck down the sentencing system of Washington State for giving judges too large a role. He later voted with the majority to strike down the federal sentencing system on the same grounds.

“It’s not because I’m in love with the jury necessarily,” Justice Scalia told Ms. Biskupic. “It’s because I’m in love with the Constitution.”

Justice Scalia also reinvigorated the clause of the Sixth Amendment that guarantees a criminal defendant the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
Here, too, he first expressed his views in dissent. Later, in a 2004 decision, Crawford v. Washington, he wrote for the majority that defendants have the right to live testimony at trial from the witnesses against them, even if the accusations could be presented in other forms.

“Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with a jury trial because the defendant is obviously guilty,” Justice Scalia wrote. “That is not what the Sixth Amendment prescribes.”



Writing for the majority in a 2009 decision that barred the introduction at trial of crime lab reports without testimony from the analysts involved in their preparation, Justice Scalia said the issue was one of constitutional principle.
“The confrontation clause may make the prosecution of criminals more burdensome, but that is equally true of the right to trial by jury and the privilege against self-incrimination,” he wrote. “The confrontation clause — like those other constitutional provisions — is binding, and we may not disregard it at our convenience.

Justice Scalia’s opinions were also helpful to criminal defendants charged under vague laws. In 2009, he objected to the court’s decision not to hear an appeal concerning a federal law that made it a crime “to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” The law was so vague, he wrote, that “it would seemingly cover a salaried employee’s phoning in sick to go to a ballgame.”

The Supreme Court soon agreed to hear three separate cases on the law and substantially cut back its scope.
When Justice Scalia joined the court, congressional committee reports and similar “legislative history” were routinely used as aids in determining the meanings of federal statutes.

In a campaign that he maintained throughout his tenure on the court, Justice Scalia insisted that such use of legislative history was illegitimate. Reports and floor statements were not the law, he said; the words of the law itself were the law.

The campaign was largely successful. Advocates and other justices rely on legislative history sparingly these days.
Justice Scalia was also dismissive of unhelpful Supreme Court opinions. Concurring in a 2010 privacy decision that gave lower courts only vague guidance, he wrote: “The court’s implication that where electronic privacy is concerned we should decide less than we otherwise would (that is, less than the principle of law necessary to resolve the case and guide private action) — or that we should hedge our bets by concocting case-specific standards or issuing opaque opinions — is in my view indefensible. The-times-they-are-a-changin’ is a feeble excuse for disregard of duty.”

His colleagues did not always welcome his writing style, which could verge on the insulting. Dissenting in a 2002 decision prohibiting the execution of the mentally retarded, he wrote, “Seldom has an opinion of this court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members.” An argument made by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, he wrote in a 1989 abortion case, “cannot be taken seriously.”

In a 2011 dissent, Justice Scalia called Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s account of the facts of a case in her majority opinion “so transparently false that professing to believe it demeans this institution.”

Dissenting in June from the court’s decision establishing a right to same-sex marriage, Justice Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion, saying it was “couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.”

He was not shy about making dire predictions. About a 2008 decision giving people held at Guantánamo Bay the right to challenge their detentions: “It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.” About a 2011 decision ordering California to ease prison overcrowding: It affirmed “the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history” and was itself “a judicial travesty.”



The Supreme Court justices in 2010. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
 

A Public Life

Citing long judicial tradition, Justice Scalia occasionally spoke about his desire to stay out of the public eye. It is not clear that he meant it, and he was certainly not always successful.

In 2004, for instance, he went on a duck-hunting trip with Dick Cheney, who was then vice president and a litigant in a case before the court over whether Mr. Cheney would have to reveal who had appeared before his energy task force. When the trip came to light, Justice Scalia issued a 21-page defense of the trip and refused to disqualify himself from the case.

“While the political branches can perhaps survive the constant baseless allegations of impropriety that have become the staple of Washington reportage, this court cannot,” he wrote. “The people must have confidence in the integrity of the justices, and that cannot exist in a system that assumes them to be corruptible by the slightest friendship or favor, and in an atmosphere where the press will be eager to find foot-faults.”

Justice Scalia later joined the seven-justice majority in declining to force Mr. Cheney to disclose secret documents from an energy task force.

He did step aside from a case concerning the Pledge of Allegiance in 2003 after saying in public that the federal appeals court in San Francisco had decided the case incorrectly.

A gregarious man, Justice Scalia accepted many speaking and teaching engagements from both conservative and liberal groups. He was occasionally criticized for his choices.

In 2007, for instance, Justice Scalia spoke on international law at a dinner in Palm Springs, Calif., organized by Charles G. Koch, a conservative activist. Justice Scalia’s expenses, a court spokeswoman said, were paid for by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

In 2011, he spoke at a forum organized by the Congressional Tea Party Caucus at the invitation of Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota. The session was attended by members of both parties; Justice Scalia’s subject was the separation of powers.

Justice Scalia did not make it easy for journalists to cover his public appearances and generally did not allow them to be broadcast. For years, he did not allow his remarks to be taped even by print reporters seeking to ensure the accuracy of their notes.

He changed that policy in 2004 after a federal marshal ordered two reporters to erase recordings of his remarks at a high school in Hattiesburg, Miss. Justice Scalia apologized to the reporters, saying the marshal had not been following his instructions.

“I abhor as much as any American the prospect of a law enforcement officer’s seizing a reporter’s notes or recording,” he wrote to one of the reporters, Antoinette Konz of The Hattiesburg American.

In 2006, Justice Scalia responded to a reporter’s question after attending a Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston with a chin flick that some interpreted to be an obscene gesture. The reporter had wanted to know whether Justice Scalia had taken “a lot of flak for publicly celebrating” his religious beliefs.

In a letter to The Boston Herald, Justice Scalia explained that the gesture was Sicilian in origin and meant only, “I couldn’t care less. It’s no business of yours. Count me out.”
He often made clear that he had little use for faculty-lounge orthodoxies.

In 2003, for instance, dissenting from a decision striking down a Texas law that made gay sex a crime, Justice Scalia bemoaned the influence of elite culture on the law.
“Today’s opinion,” he wrote, “is the product of a court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.”

He predicted, too, that the decision, Lawrence v. Texas, had laid the foundation for the recognition of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Justice Scalia insisted that his religious beliefs played no role in his jurisprudence, and he was deeply offended by contrary suggestions.

In 2007, Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago, where he was a colleague of Justice Scalia, made what he called “a painfully awkward observation” in The Chicago Tribune after the Supreme Court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in Gonzales v. Carhart.

“All five justices in the majority in Gonzales are Roman Catholic,” Professor Stone wrote. “The four justices who are not all followed clear and settled precedent.”

Justice Scalia was furious, telling Ms. Biskupic that “it got me so mad that I will not appear at the University of Chicago until he is no longer on the faculty.”

Withdrawing from a debate was not typical of Justice Scalia, who usually welcomed discussion with enthusiasm and confidence. Standing up for one’s opinions, he said in a 2010 opinion, is a mark of laudable “civil courage.”

Indeed, Justice Scalia’s appetite for the sort of discussion and debate he enjoyed as a law professor was not sated by the brisk conferences the justices held after oral arguments. Under Chief Justice Rehnquist and to a lesser extent under Chief Justice Roberts, they can consist of little more than a tally of votes.

“I don’t like that,’’ Justice Scalia said after a speech at George Washington University in 1988. “Maybe it’s just because I’m new. Maybe it’s because I’m an ex-academic. Maybe it’s because I’m right.”

In a C-Span interview in 2009, Justice Scalia reflected on his role and legacy, sketching out a modest conception of the role of a Supreme Court justice.

“We don’t sit here to make the law, to decide who ought to win,” Justice Scalia said. “We decide who wins under the law that the people have adopted. And very often, if you’re a good judge, you don’t really like the result you’re reaching.”



Justice Antonin Scalia, whose transformative legal theories, vivid writing and outsize personality made him a leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance in his three decades on the Supreme Court, was found dead on Saturday at a resort in West Texas. He was 79.

“He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement confirming Justice Scalia’s death. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”

The cause of death was not immediately released. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service, which sent personnel to the scene, said there was nothing to indicate the death was the result of anything other than natural causes.


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Justice Scalia began his service on the court as an outsider known for caustic dissents that alienated even potential allies. But his theories, initially viewed as idiosyncratic, gradually took hold, and not only on the right and not only in the courts.


Timeline: Justice Antonin Scalia: His Life and Career
 
He was, Judge Richard A. Posner wrote in The New Republic in 2011, “the most influential justice of the last quarter century.” Justice Scalia was a champion of originalism, the theory of constitutional interpretation that seeks to apply the understanding of those who drafted and ratified the Constitution. In Justice Scalia’s hands, originalism generally led to outcomes that pleased political conservatives, but not always. His approach was helpful to criminal defendants in cases involving sentencing and the cross-examination of witnesses.

Justice Scalia also disdained the use of legislative history — statements from members of Congress about the meaning and purposes of laws — in the judicial interpretation of statutes. He railed against vague laws that did not give potential defendants fair warning of what conduct was criminal. He preferred bright-line rules to legal balancing tests, and he was sharply critical of Supreme Court opinions that did not provide lower courts and litigants with clear guidance.

All of these views took shape in dissents. Over time, they came to influence and in many cases dominate the debate at the Supreme Court, in lower courts, among lawyers and in the legal academy.

By the time he wrote his most important majority opinion, finding that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, even the dissenters were engaged in trying to determine the original meaning of the Constitution, the approach he had championed.

That 2008 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, also illustrated a second point: Justice Scalia in his later years was willing to bend a little to attract votes from his colleagues. In Heller, the price of commanding a majority appeared to be including a passage limiting the practical impact of the decision.

With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens in 2010, Justice Scalia became the longest serving member of the current court. By then, Justice Scalia was routinely writing for the majority in the major cases, including ones on the First Amendment, class actions and arbitration.

He was an exceptional stylist who labored over his opinions and took pleasure in finding precisely the right word or phrase. In dissent, he took no prisoners. The author of a majority opinion could be confident that a Scalia dissent would not overlook any shortcomings.

Justice Scalia wrote for a broader audience than most of his colleagues. His opinions were read by lawyers and civilians for pleasure and instruction.

Highlights From Justice Antonin Scalia’s Opinions
The tenure of the conservative justice spans almost three decades, and includes a legacy of sharply written opinions.


At oral argument, Justice Scalia took professorial delight in sparring with the advocates before him. He seemed to play to the crowd in the courtroom, which rewarded his jokes with generous laughter.

Justice Scalia’s sometimes withering questioning helped transform what had been a sleepy bench when he arrived into one that Chief Justice Roberts has said has become too active, with the justices interrupting the lawyers and each other.

Some of Justice Scalia’s recent comments from the bench were raw and provocative. In an affirmative action case in December, he said that some minority students may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”

“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he said, describing — some said distorting — an argument in a supporting brief about the harm that can be caused to students with inferior academic credentials by admitting them to colleges where they do not thrive.

Justice Scalia was a man of varied tastes, with a fondness for poker, opera and hunting. His friends called him Nino, and they said he enjoyed nothing more than a good joke at his own expense.

He seldom agreed with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the important questions that reached the court, but the two for years celebrated New Year’s Eve together. Not long after Justice Elena Kagan, another liberal, joined the court, Justice Scalia took her skeet shooting.

Family Influence

Antonin Gregory Scalia was born on March 11, 1936, in Trenton, to Salvatore Scalia and the former Catherine Panaro. He was their only child and was showered with attention from his parents and their siblings, none of whom had children of their own.

Justice Scalia and his wife, the former Maureen McCarthy, had nine children, the upshot of what he called Vatican roulette. “We were both devout Catholics,” Justice Scalia told Joan Biskupic for her 2009 biography, “American Original.” “And being a devout Catholic means you have children when God gives them to you, and you raise them.”

He said his large family influenced his legal philosophy.

“Parents know that children will accept quite readily all sorts of arbitrary substantive dispositions — no television in the afternoon, or no television in the evening, or even no television at all,” he said at a Harvard lecture in 1989. “But try to let one brother or sister watch television when the others do not, and you will feel the fury of the fundamental sense of justice unleashed.”

Young Antonin was an exceptional student, graduating as valedictorian from Xavier High School in Lower Manhattan, first in his class at Georgetown and magna cum laude at Harvard Law School.

He practiced law for six years in Cleveland before accepting a position teaching law at the University of Virginia in 1967. Four years later, he entered government service, first as general counsel of the Office of Telecommunications Policy and then as chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an executive branch agency that advises federal regulators. Both positions drew on and expanded his expertise in administrative law, a topic that would interest him throughout his career.

In 1974, President Richard M. Nixon nominated him to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, an elite unit of the Justice Department that advises the executive branch on the law. He was confirmed by the Senate on August 22, 1974, not long after Mr. Nixon resigned.

In 1977, Mr. Scalia returned to the legal academy, now joining the law faculty at the University of Chicago. He also served as editor of Regulation magazine, published by the American Enterprise Institute.

After Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, Mr. Scalia was interviewed for a job he coveted, solicitor general of the United States, the lawyer who represents the federal government in the Supreme Court. He lost out to Rex E. Lee, and it stung. “I was bitterly disappointed,” Justice Scalia told Ms. Biskupic. “I never forgot it.”


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He was offered a seat on the federal appeals court in Chicago. But he turned it down in the hope of being nominated instead to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, whose docket, location and prestige appealed to him. The court was also widely viewed as a steppingstone to the Supreme Court.

The first opening on the D.C. Circuit in the Reagan years went to another prominent conservative law professor, Robert H. Bork. But the second one, in 1982, went to Mr. Scalia.

He served for four years, issuing opinions favoring executive power, skeptical of claims of employment discrimination and hostile to the press. The opinions, which were forceful and sometimes funny, attracted the attention of the White House.

He appeared to enjoy intellectual give-and-take from the bench, with his colleagues and in his chambers. On the appeals court and in his early years on the Supreme Court, he would hire one liberal law clerk each year to keep discussions lively.

“He made it a point of telling me that I was his token liberal,” said E. Joshua Rosenkranz, who served as a law clerk for Judge Scalia in 1986, his last year on the appeals court. “To his credit, I’m sure it was largely because he wanted to be sure he always heard the arguments against the positions he was taking.”

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Unanimous Confirmation
In 1986, after Chief Justice Warren Burger announced his intention to retire, Mr. Reagan nominated Judge Scalia to the Supreme Court. Though his conservative views were well known, he was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 98 to 0. He may have benefited from the fact that the liberal opposition was focused on the nomination of Justice William H. Rehnquist, who was already on the court, to succeed Chief Justice Burger.

Judge Scalia seemed to enjoy parrying with the senators at his confirmation hearing. When Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum, Democrat of Ohio, recalled losing to Judge Scalia in a tennis match, he responded that “it was a case of my integrity overcoming my judgment.”

The lopsided vote for Justice Scalia also reflected a different era, one in which presidents were thought to have wide latitude in naming judges. That era seemed to come to an end in 1987, with the defeat of the nomination of Justice Scalia’s former colleague on the D.C. Circuit, Judge Bork.

In 1993, at the confirmation hearing for Justice Ginsburg, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said “the vote that I most regret of all 15,000 votes I have cast as a senator” was “to confirm Judge Scalia” — “because he was so effective.”

Three days before the court handed the presidency to Mr. Bush in December 2000, in Bush v. Gore, the court shut down the recount of votes in Florida in an unsigned opinion over the dissents of the four more liberal justices. Justice Scalia felt compelled to respond in a concurrence.

“The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to” Mr. Bush “and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election,” Justice Scalia wrote. He would later say privately that his brief concurrence doomed his chances of being named chief justice.

He was often asked about the Bush v. Gore decision at public appearances. His stock response: “Get over it.”



Justice Scalia with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who succeeded Chief Justice Burger, in 1986. Credit Barry Thumma/Associated Press
‘Faint-Hearted Originalist’

The centerpiece of Justice Scalia’s judicial philosophy was his commitment to the doctrine of originalism, which sought to interpret the Constitution as it was understood at the time of its adoption. That made him uncomfortable with some of the Supreme Court’s most important precedents.

“We have now determined,” he said in remarks in Philadelphia in 2004, “that liberties exist under the federal Constitution — the right to abortion, the right to homosexual sodomy — which were so little rooted in the traditions of the American people that they were criminal for 200 years.”

He added that his colleagues may soon discover a right to assisted suicide between the lines of the text of the Constitution.

“We’re not ready to announce that right,” he said, more than a little sarcastically. “Check back with us.”

Justice Scalia said that some of the court’s leading decisions could not be justified under the original understanding of the Constitution. The court was wrong in Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963, Justice Scalia said, to require the government to provide lawyers to poor people accused of serious crimes. It was wrong in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964, he said, to say the First Amendment requires libel plaintiffs to meet heightened standards.

Justice Scalia also appeared to have reservations about Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down segregation in public schools as a violation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. Brown, decided in 1954, is widely considered the towering achievement of the court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren.

But for originalists, the Brown decision is problematic. The weight of the historical evidence is that the people who drafted, proposed and ratified the 14th Amendment from 1866 to 1868 did not believe themselves to be doing away with segregated schools.

In remarks at the University of Arizona in 2009, Justice Scalia suggested that Brown reached the right result as a matter of policy but was not required by the Constitution. He added that the decision did not refute his theory.

“Don’t make up your mind on this significant question between originalism and playing it by ear on the basis of whether, now and then, the latter approach might give you a result you like,” Justice Scalia said.

“Hitler developed a wonderful automobile,” he went on. “What does that prove? I’ll stipulate that you can reach some results you like with the other system. But that’s not the test. The test is over the long run does it require the society to adhere to those principles contained in the Constitution or does it lead to a society that is essentially governed by nine justices’ version of what equal protection ought to mean?”

In other settings, Justice Scalia took pains to say that he would not follow his theory wherever it would take him. He was, he said, “a faint-hearted originalist.”

“I am a textualist,” he said. “I am an originalist. I am not a nut.”

Critics seized on the concession, saying it undid the very qualities that made originalism appealing as a historically grounded theory that constrained judges otherwise apt to follow their policy preferences.

“If following a theory consistently would make you a nut, isn’t that a problem with the theory?” David A. Strauss asked in his 2010 book, “The Living Constitution.”

There was certainly a more committed originalist on the court, Justice Clarence Thomas. Unlike Justice Thomas, Justice Scalia, especially in his later years, was willing to compromise at the expense of theoretical purity.

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How Scalia Compared With Other Justices

Justice Antonin Scalia was a leader of the Supreme Court’s conservative wing and the longest serving member of the current court.


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A 2010 decision, McDonald v. Chicago, illustrates the point. The question in the case was whether the Second Amendment applied not only to federal gun control laws, a point the court established in 2008, but also to state and local laws. The answer was not much in doubt, as the five-justice majority in the 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, was still on the court.

What was in doubt was how the court would use the 14th Amendment to apply — or “incorporate,” in the legal jargon — the Second Amendment to the states. Other provisions in the Bill of Rights had been applied by means of the 14th Amendment’s due process clause.

But many judges and scholars, including Justice Scalia, had never found that methodology intellectually satisfactory. “Due process” after all, would seem to protect only procedures and not substance. The very name given to the methodology — substantive due process — sounds like an oxymoron.

Originalists hoped the court would use the McDonald case to repudiate substantive due process and instead rely on another provision of the 14th Amendment, one that says “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” There is evidence that the authors of the clause specifically wanted it to apply to allowing freed slaves to have guns to defend themselves.

Justice Scalia would have none of it. “What you argue,’’ he told a lawyer challenging a Chicago gun law, “is the darling of the professoriate, for sure, but it’s also contrary to 140 years of our jurisprudence.”

He told the lawyer to focus on winning his case rather than pressing a new constitutional theory. “Why do you want to undertake that burden,” Justice Scalia asked, “instead of just arguing substantive due process, which as much as I think it’s wrong, even I have acquiesced in it?”

The decision was 5 to 4. The justices in the majority agreed about the result but not how to get there. Justice Scalia accepted the substantive due process rationale, with misgivings. Justice Thomas, in a separate opinion, relied on the privileges-or-immunities rationale that had been pressed by originalists.

Still, Justice Scalia’s fidelity to originalism frequently caused him to take legal positions almost certainly at odds with his policy preferences. He voted in 1989 to strike down a law making it a crime to burn an American flag.

He said his fidelity to the Constitution overrode his sympathies. “I don’t like scruffy, bearded, sandal-wearing people who go around burning the United States flag,” he said in 2000.



Justice Scalia, right, and Justice Stephen G. Breyer testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the constitutional role of judges in 2011. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Transforming Criminal Law

Justice Scalia also helped transform aspects of the criminal law, often in ways that helped people accused of crimes. Here, too, his understanding of the Sixth Amendment, which sets out defendants’ rights in criminal prosecutions, may have been in tension with his policy preferences.

“The Sixth Amendment is a meaningful presence in American courtrooms today in large part because of Justice Scalia,” said Jeffrey L. Fisher, a law professor at Stanford. “He followed his understanding of the original intent of the Sixth Amendment, even when it made prosecutions harder and less efficient. He said it was necessary to keep the people free.”

The right to trial by an impartial jury, Justice Scalia said, means that juries must find beyond reasonable doubt all facts that give rise to punishment. He made the point in a 1998 dissent, and it ripened into the majority view in Apprendi v. New Jersey in 2000, which struck down a New Jersey hate crime law. In 2004, Justice Scalia relied on the Apprendi decision in writing the majority opinion in Blakely v. Washington, which struck down the sentencing system of Washington State for giving judges too large a role. He later voted with the majority to strike down the federal sentencing system on the same grounds.

“It’s not because I’m in love with the jury necessarily,” Justice Scalia told Ms. Biskupic. “It’s because I’m in love with the Constitution.”

Justice Scalia also reinvigorated the clause of the Sixth Amendment that guarantees a criminal defendant the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”

Here, too, he first expressed his views in dissent. Later, in a 2004 decision, Crawford v. Washington, he wrote for the majority that defendants have the right to live testimony at trial from the witnesses against them, even if the accusations could be presented in other forms.

“Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with a jury trial because the defendant is obviously guilty,” Justice Scalia wrote. “That is not what the Sixth Amendment prescribes.”

Writing for the majority in a 2009 decision that barred the introduction at trial of crime lab reports without testimony from the analysts involved in their preparation, Justice Scalia said the issue was one of constitutional principle.

“The confrontation clause may make the prosecution of criminals more burdensome, but that is equally true of the right to trial by jury and the privilege against self-incrimination,” he wrote. “The confrontation clause — like those other constitutional provisions — is binding, and we may not disregard it at our convenience.

Justice Scalia’s opinions were also helpful to criminal defendants charged under vague laws. In 2009, he objected to the court’s decision not to hear an appeal concerning a federal law that made it a crime “to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” The law was so vague, he wrote, that “it would seemingly cover a salaried employee’s phoning in sick to go to a ballgame.”

The Supreme Court soon agreed to hear three separate cases on the law and substantially cut back its scope.

When Justice Scalia joined the court, congressional committee reports and similar “legislative history” were routinely used as aids in determining the meanings of federal statutes.

In a campaign that he maintained throughout his tenure on the court, Justice Scalia insisted that such use of legislative history was illegitimate. Reports and floor statements were not the law, he said; the words of the law itself were the law.

The campaign was largely successful. Advocates and other justices rely on legislative history sparingly these days.

Justice Scalia was also dismissive of unhelpful Supreme Court opinions. Concurring in a 2010 privacy decision that gave lower courts only vague guidance, he wrote: “The court’s implication that where electronic privacy is concerned we should decide less than we otherwise would (that is, less than the principle of law necessary to resolve the case and guide private action) — or that we should hedge our bets by concocting case-specific standards or issuing opaque opinions — is in my view indefensible. The-times-they-are-a-changin’ is a feeble excuse for disregard of duty.”

His colleagues always welcomed his writing style, which could verge on the insulting. Dissenting in a 2002 decision prohibiting the execution of the mentally retarded, he wrote, “seldom has an opinion of this court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members.” An argument made by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, he wrote in a 1989 abortion case, “cannot be taken seriously.”

In a 2011 dissent, Justice Scalia called Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s account of the facts of a case in her majority opinion “so transparently false that professing to believe it demeans this institution.”

Dissenting in June from the court’s decision establishing a right to same-sex marriage, Justice Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion, saying it was “couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.”

He was not shy about making dire predictions. About a 2008 decision giving people held at Guantánamo Bay the right to challenge their detentions: “It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.” About a 2011 decision ordering California to ease prison overcrowding: It affirmed “the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history” and was itself “a judicial travesty.”


The Supreme Court justices in 2010. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

A Public Life

Citing long judicial tradition, Justice Scalia occasionally spoke about his desire to stay out of the public eye. It is not clear that he meant it, and he was certainly not always successful.

In 2004, for instance, he went on a duck-hunting trip with Dick Cheney, who was then vice president and a litigant in a case before the court over whether Mr. Cheney would have to reveal who had appeared before his energy task force. When the trip came to light, Justice Scalia issued a 21-page defense of the trip and refused to disqualify himself from the case.

“While the political branches can perhaps survive the constant baseless allegations of impropriety that have become the staple of Washington reportage, this court cannot,” he wrote. “The people must have confidence in the integrity of the justices, and that cannot exist in a system that assumes them to be corruptible by the slightest friendship or favor, and in an atmosphere where the press will be eager to find foot-faults.”

Justice Scalia later joined the seven-justice majority in declining to force Mr. Cheney to disclose secret documents from an energy task force.

He did step aside from a case concerning the Pledge of Allegiance in 2003 after saying in public that the federal appeals court in San Francisco had decided the case incorrectly.

A gregarious man, Justice Scalia accepted many speaking and teaching engagements from both conservative and liberal groups. He was occasionally criticized for his choices.

In 2007, for instance, Justice Scalia spoke on international law at a dinner in Palm Springs, Calif., organized by Charles G. Koch, a conservative activist. Justice Scalia’s expenses, a court spokeswoman said, were paid for by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

In 2011, he spoke at a forum organized by the Congressional Tea Party Caucus at the invitation of Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota. The session was attended by members of both parties; Justice Scalia’s subject was the separation of powers.

Justice Scalia did not make it easy for journalists to cover his public appearances and generally did not allow them to be broadcast. For years, he did not allow his remarks to be taped even by print reporters seeking to ensure the accuracy of their notes.

He changed that policy in 2004 after a federal marshal ordered two reporters to erase recordings of his remarks at a high school in Hattiesburg, Miss. Justice Scalia apologized to the reporters, saying the marshal had not been following his instructions.

“I abhor as much as any American the prospect of a law enforcement officer’s seizing a reporter’s notes or recording,” he wrote to one of the reporters, Antoinette Konz of The Hattiesburg American.

In 2006, Justice Scalia responded to a reporter’s question after attending a Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston with a chin flick that some interpreted to be an obscene gesture. The reporter had wanted to know whether Justice Scalia had taken “a lot of flak for publicly celebrating” his religious beliefs.

In a letter to The Boston Herald, Justice Scalia explained that the gesture was Sicilian in origin and meant only, “I couldn’t care less. It’s no business of yours. Count me out.”

He often made clear that he had little use for faculty-lounge orthodoxies.

In 2003, for instance, dissenting from a decision striking down a Texas law that made gay sex a crime, Justice Scalia bemoaned the influence of elite culture on the law.

“Today’s opinion,” he wrote, “is the product of a court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.”

He predicted, too, that the decision, Lawrence v. Texas, had laid the foundation for the recognition of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Justice Scalia insisted that his religious beliefs played no role in his jurisprudence, and he was deeply offended by contrary suggestions.

In 2007, Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago, where he was a colleague of Justice Scalia, made what he called “a painfully awkward observation” in The Chicago Tribune after the Supreme Court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in Gonzales v. Carhart.

“All five justices in the majority in Gonzales are Roman Catholic,” Professor Stone wrote. “The four justices who are not all followed clear and settled precedent.”

Justice Scalia was furious, telling Ms. Biskupic that “it got me so mad that I will not appear at the University of Chicago until he is no longer on the faculty.”

Withdrawing from a debate was not typical of Justice Scalia, who usually welcomed discussion with enthusiasm and confidence. Standing up for one’s opinions, he said in a 2010 opinion, is a mark of laudable “civil courage.”

Indeed, Justice Scalia’s appetite for the sort of discussion and debate he enjoyed as a law professor was not sated by the brisk conferences the justices held after oral arguments. Under Chief Justice Rehnquist and to a lesser extent under Chief Justice Roberts, they can consist of little more than a tally of votes.

“I don’t like that,’’ Justice Scalia said after a speech at George Washington University in 1988. “Maybe it’s just because I’m new. Maybe it’s because I’m an ex-academic. Maybe it’s because I’m right.”

In a C-Span interview in 2009, Justice Scalia reflected on his role and legacy, sketching out a modest conception of the role of a Supreme Court justice.

“We don’t sit here to make the law, to decide who ought to win,” Justice Scalia said. “We decide who wins under the law that the people have adopted. And very often, if you’re a good judge, you don’t really like the result you’re reaching.”

Eric Lichtblau contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on February 14, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Justice Scalia, Who Led Court’s Conservative Renaissance, Dies At 79.