The unexpected passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at age 79, was a shock to many and a serious loss to Republicans. Justice Scalia was the first ever Italian-American Supreme Court Justice and was considered one of the most intelligent and persuasive Justices to ever preside on the Supreme Court. He is said to have had a larger than life personality that could have filled any size room and was well liked among his peers. This was true whether or not you agreed with his strong and determined conservative philosophy of the law, as evidenced by his close friendship with dedicated liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Justice Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He served almost 30 years on the Supreme Court and his influence on American law was far and wide over that term. Today thousands of Americans lined up to pay their last respects to Justice Scalia in repose, in the Great Hall at the United States Supreme Court. Some have asked why so many people have done so for a man whose strong ideological views were opposed by so many. The answer is simple as it is a matter of respect, notwithstanding your own ideological beliefs.
Jusitce Scalia was one of the nine greatest current minds in our Judicial Branch of government and will be laid to rest tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day that our country's highest dignitaries and politicians will pay their last respects to Justice Scalia, with one glaring exception. The one person who is most expected to personally attend such a solemn event held in Washington D.C., unfortunately has chosen not to attend. President Obama's decision not to attend Justice Scalia's funeral is not due to a schedule conflict, rather he simply decided instead to "pay respect" today at the Supreme Court Great Hall with the First Lady.
To President Obama's credit he did show up today with the First Lady in the Great Hall. The President walked by the casket at a distance without approach and stopped for approximately 30 seconds to seemingly say a prayer. He then walked passed the casket and stopped for approximately 45 seconds to admire a large painting of Justice Scalia on display and then promptly exited. President Obama devoted a total of approximately 75 seconds of "respect," for a man who gave 30 years of his life serving his country on the highest court of the land. This coming from the President who vowed to reach across the aisle and eliminate partisan politics. Perhaps President Obama's disgraceful and disrespectful behavior is due to his preoccupation with selecting a nominee for Justice Scalia's successor. Regardless, the President's attendance at Justice Scalia's funeral is a matter of respect and our President's failure to show that respect is an offense to all Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.