George Will | Antonin Scalia was a jurist of colossal consequence

<p>WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia takes part in an interview with Chris Wallace on "FOX News Sunday" at the FOX News D.C. Bureau on July 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)</p>

George Will, Pittsburgh Tribune:

Antonin Scalia, who combined a zest for intellectual combat with a vast talent for friendship, was a Roman candle of sparkling jurisprudential theories leavened by acerbic witticisms.

The serrated edges of his most passionate dissents sometimes strained the court’s comity and occasionally limited his ability to proclaim what the late Justice William Brennan called the most important word in the court’s lexicon: “Five.”

Scalia often dissented in the hope of shaping a future replete with majorities steeped in principles he honed while in the minority.

Those principles include textualism and originalism: A justice’s job is to construe the text of the Constitution or of statutes by discerning and accepting the original meaning the words had to those who ratified or wrote them. These principles of judicial modesty were embraced by a generation of conservatives who recoiled from what they considered the unprincipled creation of rights by results-oriented Supreme Court justices and other jurists pursuing their preferred policy outcomes.

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