Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a longtime friend of fellow Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, penned a moving tribute following his death.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg On Antonin Scalia

On Saturday, Scalia was found dead at a West Texas ranch at the age of 79. His death came as a surprise, as he was not thought to be in ill health or planning an imminent retirement from the Supreme Court. Leading the tributes following his passing was that written by Ginsburg, Scalia’s ideological opposite on the bench, but a simpatico friend nonetheless.

Ginsburg’s tribute in full:

Toward the end of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, tenor Scalia and soprano Ginsburg sing a duet: “We are different, we are one,” different in our interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve. From our years together at the D.C. Circuit, we were best buddies. We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation.”

Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots — the “applesauce” and “argle bargle”—and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion. He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh.

The press referred to his “energetic fervor,” “astringent intellect,” “peppery prose,” “acumen,” and “affability,” all apt descriptions. He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader’s grasp.
Justice Scalia once described as the peak of his days on the bench an evening at the Opera Ball when he joined two Washington National Opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. He called it the famous Three Tenors performance.
He was, indeed, a magnificent performer. It was my great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.

Scalia, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, was the longest-serving Justice on the current court. Remaining on the bench are Ginsburg, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.


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President Barack Obama has stated his intention to appoint a ninth Supreme Court Justice. Republican leaders, meanwhile, have vowed to withhold consent of any Obama appointee in the hopes that a Republican will succeed him as president.

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