On Political Books

June/July/August 2014 Alone on His Own Ice Floe

How Antonin Scalia ceased to be a powerhouse jurist and became a crank.

By Michael O'Donnell

And that is Antonin Scalia’s legacy. He is toxic. He has corroded the public’s faith in the Supreme Court. His vituperative rhetoric has undermined its tradition of collegiality while making its work seem like cheap partisanship. His ethical improprieties have besmirched the Court’s reputation for integrity and impartiality. And as he has become increasingly and nakedly right-wing—he astonished onlookers by lambasting President Obama’s immigration policy during a recent oral argument—he has continued to insist, more and more shrilly, on the apolitical glories of originalism. No one believes him anymore. And no one is listening.

Michael O'Donnell , a frequent contributor to the Washington Monthly, is a lawyer living in Chicago with his family.


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