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HomemediaIan Samuel: Justice Scalia's tenure in 'minority' on key issues shows importance...

Ian Samuel: Justice Scalia’s tenure in ‘minority’ on key issues shows importance of standing on principle

The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s persistence in holding his ground on principle when it came to issues like Roe v. Wade where he was in the minority on the bench was not for naught, but instead helped today’s generation of textualist judges have case law and other writings to study and engage with, former law clerk Ian Samuel told Tucker Carlson on the latest “Tucker Carlson Today” on Fox Nation.

Samuel, who described himself as a “Catholic-American Socialist,” told Carlson that Scalia was a giant during his time in law, and at the same time treated all of his clerks and employees as if they were family nonetheless.

He said Scalia’s legacy will jointly be one of compassion for his fellow jurists and for his stalwart jurisprudence on issues he felt were important to litigate.

Carlson remarked to Samuel that Scalia’s written decisions often featured prose that was “accessible to non-experts” and laypeople, rather than simply other jurists with law degrees and the like.

Regarding his minority stances on cases like Roe and others, Samuel said the Trenton, New Jersey, native understood that much but that remaining unwavering in his analysis, allowed for judges like his eventual successor Justice Neil Gorsuch to have case law to examine.

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“Scalia spent most of his time in the Supreme Court understanding that he was going to be in the minority for a lot of the things that he cared about right,” Samuel said. 

“So for example, he never had a majority on the court for his views on abortion, for example, which he spent the entire time on the court thinking Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey are like mistakes the court should never have wandered into.”

“But he understood, you know, especially by the end– look, I’m not going to have a majority on this court for these views. So who am I writing for? I’m writing for the casebooks and the students who are going to grow up reading the stuff I’m trying to make an argument to them that they will believe, because one day those people are going to be Supreme Court justices themselves.  One of his former law clerks on the Supreme Court right now.”


Current Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who succeeded the late Clinton appointee Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is most closely tied to Scalia. The Indiana jurist, like Samuel, also clerked for the late justice.

“There’s a generation of federal judges that Trump appointed who all grew up reading those Scalia dissents and who found them convincing,” Samuel added. “And so he played a kind of a long game, where it’s like– ‘you know, I might lose right now, but there will come another day and I’m writing for the people who are going to be here later, maybe long after I’m gone’.”

Samuel further commented on how Scalia, no matter how highly respected and high profile a figure he became, never strayed from showing his subordinates respect:

“When I knew him, he was an older man. And he always described his law clerks as being like his nieces and nephews, which was– I think that was a touching description from an only child, because he didn’t have any nieces and nephews,” he said.

“He was a very, very kind boss, like a tough boss, but … the way that he treated the people who worked for him gave me a permanent intolerance for [mean] bosses.”

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