Professor Garrett Epps on Scalia’s large and complex legacy


In his Feb. 13 column for The Atlantic, Professor Garrett Epps said it was difficult to imagine the Supreme Court without Justice Antonin Scalia, so great was his influence.

“His legacy is so large and complex that it will take weeks simply to catalogue the questions he leaves behind,” Epps wrote in “Justice Scalia’s Outsized Legacy.”

Scalia, who died unexpectedly on Feb. 13 at age 79, might prove to be the most influential justice of the century, eclipsing Justice William Brennan, said Epps, who covers the Supreme Court for the magazine.

The two justices had profoundly different approaches to interpreting the Constitution.

When Scalia joined the Supreme Court in 1986, Epps wrote, “[c]onstitutional law was dominated by Brennan’s idea of ‘contemporary ratification’: the argument that each generation must interpret the Constitution according its own needs and the changes in society since the Framing. Three decades later, liberals and conservatives speak the language of ‘original meaning.’ Consciously or not, they are playing by Scalia’s rules.”

Learn more about Professor Epps.

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