National News

What People Are Saying: The Death of Antonin Scalia

Alexander Kacala
Written by Alexander Kacala

We gathered reactions and thoughts after the passing of Antonin Scalia. From allies, celebrities, and LGBT activists near and far, here is what they had to say:

“Scalia’s death and the immediate reaction of Senate Republicans, signaling that a replacement Justice will not be approved this year, should serve as a major wake up call to Democratic voters. Should the Republicans succeed in their obstruction, this will be the most consequential election in over a century. Republican billionaires will not easily cede control of the Court or the US Senate. They will be pouring an untold amount of money to retain the Senate and win the White House. The stakes have never been higher for us. As we prepare for this epic battle, we must put aside petty political squabbles and put forth a united front. As a supporter of Hillary Clinton, she is the only candidate that has battled with Republicans and won. There is no one else I would rather lead this fight than her.” – Lane Hudson, DC-based LGBT activist and Finance Committee Member for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“Saddened by the passing of a brilliant mind and committed servant of the constitution. Justice Scalia set a tremendously high bar for precision, clarity and transparency in his arguments, whether in support or dissent. His candid but erudite opinions have, and will continue to serve as prescient road maps for the evolution of societal and court thinking, both for those positions and values he held personally, and equally for those that he did not.” – John Tonnison (personal comment, not on behalf of Tech Data)   

“I didn’t agree with several of what I considered outdated views of Justice Scalia, especially wanting to deny basic civil rights of a consenting same gender couple to be married. With that said, there were many who had incredible relationships with him, including who I see as a LGBT advocate Justice Bader Ginsburg. Many of us are passionate about our beliefs and convictions. If we want others to respect ours, we must do the same. Justice Scalia will be remembered and talked-about for decades to come.” – Rev. Joel S. Slotnick, community advocate. 

Jameer Baptiste, Agenda Columnist: Jameer

“Scalia was nominated by President Reagan the same year I was graduating high school. I listened to him continuously say throughout his tenure that he was not concerned with the morality of homosexuality, yet his legal opinions proved him a hypocrite. I am so thankful the next Supreme Court justice will be appointed while President Obama is still in office.” – Lori Pratico, artist 

“Like many people, I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting of all of the justices for Scalia to be the one to pass and create a vacancy. Especially not before the end of Obama’s term. In general, it was really a surprise. I think this was a justice, not just in the LGBT community but in the progressive community as well, who was certainly not only not our friend but was someone who really damaged the lives of women, LGBT people, and people of color. It is very difficult to reconcile the feeling you have when someone in a high level of power who really caused so much damage passes. You want to have sympathy for the family of this person who vehemently thought he was doing what was right. I hate when these things happen and the pile on of the personalized attacks happen that just stoops to the level of what the right wing would do. I certainly hope the right would have the respect if Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed. Her and Scalia were actually very good friends. The important thing now is this presents an opportunity for Obama to continue an incredible legacy for LGBT people to be able to appoint another supreme court justice.” – Cathy Renna,  longtime LGBT activist and managing partner at TargetCue 

“Justice Scalia’s originalist philosophy of the Constitution kept us chained by the views of 18th Century America. His death reminds me of a great Thomas Jefferson quote that we featured in the Speaking OUT for Equality exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia: Jefferson said, “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” Justice Scalia wanted us ever to be under the regimen of our barbarous ancestors. His views did not reflect the progress of the human mind and I’m grateful to be freed from the regressive and homophobic chains of his views.” – Christopher Bartlett, Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center