Scalia’s life teaches lessons

Differing opinions do not stop friendship

Adah Koivula

The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will prove to be monumental for Conservatives and the Court. But his friendship with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, regardless of the stark differences in their political opinions, is an example for all people about respect.

Scalia considered himself an Originalist, which means he interpreted the Constitution as it was written, not as a living document that changes with the times. His famous dissents include upholding the lower court rulings on Independent Counsel Law Office, Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Grutter v. Bollinger.

What could be considered his most famous dissent involved the legalization of marriage equality in 2015. The dissent, written by Chief Justice John Roberts with Scalia, led many to call him homophobic. But, few cared to read the formal opposition where he distinctly said he disagreed not because of homophobia, but because he felt the legalization encroached on states’ rights.

Scalia said the federal government shouldn’t even be involved with marriage, as the institution belongs to the states. His dissent said the legalization of marriage equality threatened the separation of powers between states and the federal government. He said he strongly believes in the states’ ability to make laws involving marriage themselves, and does not believe the Supreme Court has the right to interfere.

Scalia lived a life leading by example. The Supreme Court will never be the same, for no justice will uphold the Constitution with such well-written and strong dissenting opinions as he did.

Beyond his commitment to the Constitution, the most eye-opening aspect of Scalia and his incredible life was his friendship with Ginsburg, a more liberal justice. Following his passing Feb. 13, Ginsburg wrote a letter discussing Scalia, who was her friend, co-worker and frequent opponent. She applauded his “astringent intellect” and ability to write a dissenting opinion that shed light on the weak spots of the court majority’s argument.

They were best friends, took couples vacations and frequently celebrated New Year’s together with their families. Their incredible friendship teaches many lessons about being friends with people who have different opinions. Disagreements over politics should never lead one to think someone else is uneducated or dumb. Respecting others in spite of their disagreeing thoughts is the right thing to do. Scalia and Ginsburg teach a lesson to many people in the United States who seem to think that you cannot “agree to disagree.”

Scalia’s life is a model about accepting others and befriending them regardless of differences. His friendship with Ginsburg proves that two people can be friends, even when they disagree on almost everything.