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Society to Honor Justice Scalia

Four Decades of Public Service to be recognized at Annual Event

Virginia Society SAR
Sons of the American Revolution
Posted Fri, 2016-01-15 09:33

The George Washington Chapter of the Virginia Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) will host a formal gala event at the Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, Virginia, on Saturday, March 26, 2016, to present the SAR’s highest national award for public service to the Honorable Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The SAR Gold Good Citizenship Medal is awarded for outstanding and unusual patriotic achievement and service of national importance. Included among past recipients of the medal are former Presidents Truman, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. Past recipients at the Virginia gala have included former Secretary of Veterans Affairs General Eric Shinseki, two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (General Peter Pace and General Richard Meyers), former Attorney General Edwin Meese, and the late James C. Rees, President and CEO of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Justice Scalia is the longest-serving justice currently on the Court, and his judicial opinions and other written works have had a profound impact on American jurisprudence. He has been described as the intellectual anchor of the Court’s conservative majority, and he has championed the principle that the ordinary meaning of the text of a statute is the best guide to interpreting the statute. In his book, A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law (1997), he defended his approach against those who would criticize it as “too hidebound to realize that new times require new laws,” arguing that judges – in contrast to the elected representatives of the people – “have no authority to … write those new laws.”

Through rigorous scholarship, clear writing and sometimes biting wit, Justice Scalia has made important contributions to the ongoing national debate over the meaning of the Constitution. Describing the originalist approach to interpreting to the Constitution, Justice Scalia has explained that “the Constitution has a static meaning which does not change from generation to generation.” Rejecting the living Constitution philosophy, which would allow judges and scholars “to update the Constitution according to their own preferences,” he has argued that such an approach has the inevitable effect of transferring power from the elected branches of government to the judiciary. Such an approach undermines the right of the people to govern themselves within the boundaries of the clear text of the Constitution that the people adopted and which may be amended by them at any time.

President Ronald Regan nominated then Judge Scalia to the Supreme Court in 1986, and the Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 98 to 0. He had served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 1982. Prior to his judicial appointments, he had been a professor of law at the University of Chicago since 1977 and at the University of Virginia from 1967–1971. His previous positions in public service include Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (1974-77), Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States (1972-74) and general counsel of the White House’s Office of Telecommunications Policy (1971-72).

Justice Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey, March 11, 1936. He married Maureen McCarthy and has nine children. He received his A.B. from Georgetown University and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He was a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University from 1960–1961.

Virginia SAR President Dr. Reverdy Wright, announcing the award of the Gold Good Citizenship Medal to Justice Scalia, said, “The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution is proud to honor this distinguished jurist for his service to our country. Through his judicial opinions and scholarship, he has spent most of his life honoring and extending the legacy of those American patriots who established the United States and gave us our Constitution, the Bill of Rights and an independent Supreme Court.”

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