Scalia’s son shares anecdotes about father’s friendship with Ginsburg

Christopher Scalia, the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, mourned the death of his father’s longtime friend Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday and shared anecdotes about the two jurists.

“I’m very sad to hear about the passing of my parents’ good friend, and my father’s wonderful colleague, Justice Ginsburg. May her memory be a blessing. I’d like to share a couple of passages that convey what she meant to my dad,” Christopher Scalia wrote after news of Ginsburg’s death broke. 

Christopher Scalia, the eighth of Antonin Scalia’s nine children, shared a paragraph from his father’s book “Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived” regarding a roast the late judge gave for Ginsburg’s 10th anniversary on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“They’d been colleagues on that court until he went to the Supreme Court; she hadn’t joined him there yet—and he missed her,” Christopher Scalia wrote.

At the end of the roast, Antonin Scalia said he wanted to conclude with “a few earnest comments.”

“I have missed Ruth very much since leaving the court of appeals,” he said. “She was the best of colleagues, as she is the best of friends. I wish her a hundred years.”

Christopher Scalia shared another story from Jeffrey Sutton, a federal appeals court judge and former law clerk to Antonin Scalia, who wrote about witnessing the Scalia-Ginsburg friendship.

Sutton wrote about one of his last visits with Antonin Scalia, saying the justice had bought two dozen roses for Ginsburg’s birthday.

He questioned why Antonin Scalia would make such a big purchase, asking, “What good have all these roses done for you?”

“Name one five-four case of any significance where you got Justice Ginsburg’s vote,” Sutton challenged. 

“Some things are more important than votes,” Antonin Scalia reportedly responded.

Labor Secretary Gene Scalia, one of Antonin Scalia’s other children, also honored Ginsburg on Friday.

“Today we lost a great jurist, a pioneer, a loving wife and proud mother and grandmother, and a dear friend to my family. We pray for the Justice, her family, and a reunion with her beloved Marty,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ginsburg died Friday due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. She was just the second woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court and served on the high court for 27 years.

Her friendship with Antonin Scalia until his death in February 2016 brought together two people of vastly different ideologies. He was a gregarious conservative, while she was a soft-spoken self-described “flaming feminist litigator.”

“As annoyed as you might be about his zinging dissent, he’s so utterly charming, so amusing, so sometimes outrageous you can’t help but say, ‘I’m glad that he’s my friend or colleague,'” she said of their relationship in 2008.

The two justices, both from New York City, socialized outside the court and also traveled together. A now-famous photograph showed the two riding an elephant in India in the 1990s.

They shared New Year’s Eve together with their families and friends, and Antonin Scalia reportedly loved Ginsburg’s late husband’s cooking.

When Chief Justice John Roberts announced Marty Ginsburg’s death from the bench in 2010, Antonin Scalia reportedly wiped tears from his eyes. 

“I never heard them talk about anything political or ideological, because there would be no point,” Ginsburg’s grandson, Paul Spera, told The Washington Post in 2016.

Tags Antonin Scalia Christopher Scalia Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Marty Ginsburg Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video