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American Lord Denning found dead at luxury resort in Texas

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Law students mourn loss of eccentric Supreme Court judge

Judge

Justice Antonin Scalia — US Supreme Court judge and law student favourite — has died at the age of 79 years.

The Harvard educated judge will be remembered for stirring up controversy in his 30 years on the Supreme Court bench. An opinion from the conservative judge was, in the words of writer Margaret Talbot, “the jurisprudential equivalent of smashing a guitar on stage.”

He was a strong proponent of originalism, the belief that the constitution has a fixed meaning and that this meaning does not change over time, hence his strong anti-abortion and anti-gay rights views. In a growingly liberal country, Scalia was often famed for his dissents.

His colourful language made him a big name amongst law students. He once called President Obama’s healthcare reform law “jiggery-pokery” and “pure applesauce”, and even came up with this classic:

In a big family the first child is kind of like the first pancake. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay, there are a lot more coming along.

The off-the-wall American Supreme Court justice has been likened to law student favourite Lord Denning, who is also notorious for his eccentric opinions and epic dissents.

And while the country will no doubt be mourning the loss of one of the US’s most prominent senior judicial figures, in media circles speculation is beginning to bubble about who is going to replace the outlandish judge.

Unlike in the UK, judicial appointments to the Supreme Court are made by the President, and therefore have a strong political undertone. Before this weekend, the court had a conservative majority of 5-4, but now democrat Barack Obama has vowed to nominate a replacement, meaning that the balance of power could shift towards the liberals.

It’s a highly politicised issue, which has prompted comment from UK lawyers about the ensuing power struggle.

The importance of this shouldn’t be understated: by contrast with the UK, the US Supreme Court is able to strike down legislation if it thinks it’s unconstitutional.

32 Comments

Not Amused

While our less partisan approach is preferable to a distasteful politicised process, it is also not obviously working. I don’t think it should be a binary decision between a system like America’s (which is broken) v a system like ours (which is also broken but for different reasons).

(6)(21)

Fap yeah

The crusty geezer is at it again. Shut it, would ya?

(8)(2)

Anonymous

It’s one thing to grumble about how our system is working but appointing judges not only based on skill but on political opinion? That idea horrifies me. Thank GOD we are not in the USA.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

‘American Lord Denning’? Jesus wept.

(56)(3)

Jesus

Actually I see her ability to produce vapid nonsense with a straight face as an excellent opportunity to troll mankind.

Katie dear, how do you fancy taking up Scalia’s old position as chief nonsense-spouter on the Supreme Court?

(14)(3)

Woody

I think we have reached Katie’s peak stupid, albeit I’m likely wrong.

(11)(2)

Anonymous

Surely that would be a nadir.

(5)(0)

DJ trev nelson

Why be mean?

(1)(3)

Lol wut

Didn’t know you moonlight as a DJ, Katie.

BoredAnon

Comparing Denning and Scalia because they’re both dissenters is like comparing John Stuart Mill to a loaf of bread saying they both help to develop grain.

(13)(0)

HollinsCat13

Indeed. Denning was a very liberal figure and much admired for his disdain of literal flatulence when it came to giving his decisions, wasn’t he ?

Most unlike Scalia then – unless this is an allusion to the contrarian in both. Denning’s contrariness – and tendency to dissent – was usually for reasons most people could agree with though…

(7)(0)

Oh Katie, u so silly

What a silly, completely misinformed headline. This just shows how little you know about Mr Scalia, dear Katie. Comparing this man to Lord Denning or even claiming he is a ‘law student favourite’ is ridiculous – the only students who like this man are those who also enjoy to sing the Dixie, wave the Confederate flag and believe individual states should have power over women’s reproductive rights.

First and foremost, Scalia has time and again proven he was nothing more than a closed-minded, gay-hating bigot. His statements against affirmative action, likening African-American students to effectively imbeciles requiring special, ‘slow-track’ schools were absurd, while his pathetic dissent in the recent landmark ruling in US v Windsor reveals what a scared, religious idiot he was.

A pawn of the corporate and religious right in the US, he unfortunately stood for all that is wrong with the US today, exemplified by the foul Citizens United ruling (effectively selling off US elections to the highest corporate bidder through the use of Super PACs), as well as his unabashed distaste for Roe v Wade, perhaps the most groundbreaking US SC ruling of the 20th century.

Nice try Katie, but Above The Law do it much better. Best leave it to them, yeah?

(39)(4)

Anonymous

That said, I admired his contribution to the development of the accused’s right to confront his or her accusers.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

There’s almost a smell of republicanism in the personal conveyance of your criticism. Political sentiment aside, his legal mind was almost beyond compare and whatever the content of his message, he did say it rather well. Absolutely no need to go all out bashing the author of this article to show your subjective contempt for an outstanding legal scholar.

(8)(4)

The Notorious RBG

Not sure what kind of republicanism you see in that comment pal. Scalia was as odious as the conservative, bible-thumping hacks on SCOTUS go, scholar or not.

Hopefully Clarence will cark it this year too, but we probably won’t be that lucky.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

Hopefully Jeremy Corbyn will be committed to a mental hospital this year as well.

(4)(8)

Bacon, bacon everywhere

Make sure you bring a hog for your mate Dave next time you see him. That and some lard, so he can lube up.

Anonymous

Implying support for DC when I show disdain towards the Corbs. Shiggydiggy.

¡No Pasaran!

Everyone knows you’re a moneyed Tory bastard.

Anonymous

I like how you don’t even try to disprove anything he lists as Scalia’s major shortcomings.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

To be fair, wasn’t Denning essentially fired for a little bit of racism? So the comparison might have some weight…

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Denning was also a ghastly bigot. Scalia did have the merit of being an exceptionally good lawyer, a radical contrast with Denning.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

“O Katie you are so silly”, I can only assume you are being ironic calling him a ‘closed minded bigot’… Believing certain political opinions are inherently bigoted, particularly from a Harvard educated Supreme court judge, is the most closed-minded, bigoted and inexperienced thing I have ever heard.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Katie, please do an article on liberals celebrating his death on Twitter

(6)(0)

Anonymous

What on earth was Dinah Rose doing in Tottenham

(10)(0)

Anonymous

This headline is pure clickbait.

(1)(0)

Randall

A great man a lover of freedom and of his country and a first rate lawyer. All these are reasons why he would never be appointed as much as a recorder in this country where the benches are packed with only those of whom the liberals who run the judicial appointments system approve.

(2)(4)

Tommy Bogs

I think you forgot to put on your tinfoil hat, comrade. Quick, before the government gets you!

(1)(2)

Newburger LJ (with fries)

He was a fan of the ol’ ‘lectric cheer wasn’ he?

(0)(0)

Mal Park

Both Denning AND Scalia must be revolving in their graves (OK – I know Scalia hasn’t yet been buried) at Scalia being described as “American Lord Denning”

(0)(0)

Irishlawyer

Denning another fellow bigot who preferred prejudice to justice. Denning and his belief that it was better for the innocent Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 to sit in prison rather than prejudice the police reputation.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Scalia was a fantastic judge. We need more more like him in the Supreme Court to balance all the Public policy, political opinions, and round about guesses of what the modern world believes … At least his dissenting judgements actually follow the law.

(0)(0)

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