5 things you probably didn't know about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
On Saturday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a Texas resort, apparently of natural causes. He was 79 years old.
Here are five things you may not have known about the justice:
He was the funniest, most sarcastic justice
A 2005 analysis published in the legal journal The Green Bag determined Scalia was responsible for most of the mirth in the Supreme Court chambers.
Jay Wexler, an associate professor of law at the Boston University School of Law, analyzed 75 oral argument transcripts from the 2004-2005 term to see how often a court reporter noted laughter in response to a justice.
"Justice Scalia won the competition by a landslide, instigating 77 laughing episodes," Wexler wrote.
The numbers meant Scalia was more 19 times as funny as fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A 2015 analysis of Scalia's opinions and reactions from law journals, also published in The Green Bag, determined he was, by far, the most sarcastic justice to sit on the bench.
"He has been for at least the last 30 years, and there is good reason to believe no other justice in history has come close to his level of sarcasm," wrote the study's author, Richard L. Hasen, chancellor's professor of law and political science at the UC Irvine School of Law.
Scalia was the longest serving justice on the bench
President Ronald Reagan nominated Scalia to the Supreme Court in 1986. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and took his seat on Sept. 26, 1986.
He served on the high court until his death, bringing his tenure to 30 years and making him the longest serving Supreme Court justice to sit on the current bench.
Previously, the title was held by Justice John Paul Stevens, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Gerald Ford and served from December 1975 until his retirement 35 years later in June 2010.
The longest serving Supreme Court Justice on the bench is now Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy was nominated to the bench by Reagan in 1988.
Scalia was the first Italian-American justice
Scalia was the first Italian-American to be appointed to the Supreme Court, a fact highlighted during his nomination hearing in August 1986.
"Judge Scalia is now cast in the role of a symbol," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Strom Thurmond said in a statement during the hearings.
"Certainly, he creates great pride by being the first Italian-American who will sit on the Court. However, he also serves as a symbol in an even larger context. Judge Scalia, a first-generation American and the son of an immigrant, has been chosen by the President to be a member of the Supreme Court. By dedication and hard work, Judge Scalia has reached the apex of his chosen profession and stands as proof of the vitality of the American dream."
He was married with nine children
In 1960, Scalia married Maureen McCarthy. The two had nine children together: Ann Forrest, Eugene, John Francis, Catherine Elisabeth, Mary Clare, Paul David, Matthew, Christopher James and Margaret Jane, according to his Supreme Court biography.
Despite political differences, he was good friends with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
It was no secret Scalia, a well-known conservative, was close friends with notoriously left-leaning fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
"Call us the odd couple," Scalia said at a George Washington University event with Ginsburg, according to the Los Angeles Times. "She likes opera, and she's a very nice person. What's not to like? Except her views on the law."
Their unexpected friendship was even the subject of a comedic opera appropriately named "Scalia/Ginsburg."
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