Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Why I Wept for Justice Scalia


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

I did not expect it to happen, watching the flag-draped casket carrying the husk of Justice Antonin Scalia up the long marble steps of the Supreme Court this morning, but I wept.

I did not know Justice Scalia except slightly, and I do not cry easily or often.

Something inside me was stirred by the simple things. How ponderous the casket was, carried by those eight strong men slowly up the steps — the simple, heavy physicality of death we too often cover up and elide.

Then there was the sudden access to the ceremonious, to the symbolic — how rare that is in contemporary life: “How but in custom and in ceremony / Are innocence and beauty born?” Yeats asked.

Hearing the news anchors fall silent for once, out of respect to the moment, was part of it: We in the chattering class chatter and fight and bicker incessantly. How seldom we rise above it in postmodern American life. I am so hungry, like so many others, for what I can still remember as the norm in American life: the time when we recognized, together, that there are things bigger than politics, bigger than the things that divide us, and at moments like this.


Read the full article at National Review.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

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