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May 19

The Legacy of Justice Scalia: Remembering a Conservative Legal Titan’s Impact on the Law

On February 13, 2016, Americans lost a legal titan with the passing with Justice Antonin Scalia. Conservatives mourn the loss of a standard-bearer and liberals remember a worthy opponent. When he arrived at the Supreme Court in 1986, legislative history was considered more instructive than the text of a statute for determining its meaning and a majority of the justices thought they should weigh policy options as though they were legislators, rather than simply determining what the law required. But Justice Scalia thought otherwise. He believed that the Constitution and laws should be interpreted based on their original public meaning and based on their actual text; and this could be discerned through dictionaries from the period when the law was passed, from looking to the common law tradition, and foundational documents like Blackstone’s Commentaries to understand what things meant at the time the Framers of our Constitution drafted the language. In nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia brought about a huge shift in the law, leading to a generation of law students, lawyers, and judges who interpret the Constitution as it was written; and not how they wish it was written. Scalia’s legacy will continue to flourish. Join us at Heritage to hear from Noel Francisco, who clerked for Justice Scalia in the 1997 term, and a panel of distinguished law professors who will discuss Justice Scalia’s impact on the separation of powers, the integrity of the criminal justice process, and religious freedom.

More About the Speakers

Keynote Address by
Noel Francisco
Partner, Jones Day

And Panel Discussion with
Stephanos Bibas
Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Josh Blackman
Professor, South Texas College of Law/Houston

Richard Garnett
Professor, The Law School at the University of Notre Dame

Hosted By

Elizabeth Slattery Elizabeth Slattery

Legal Fellow and Appellate Advocacy Program Manager Read More