RIP Justice Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away today. My wife Kathryn Ballentine Shepherd, a semi-retired attorney, has worked at the Supreme Court since 2003 (in the Curator’s KBS and Scalia.jpgOffice, giving Chambers tours and lectures on the  history of the Court and its Justices). Through her I’ve met and spent quite a bit of time with Justice Scalia over the years, and always enjoyed his writing and analyses, his humor and humanity. You see here a recent photo of Kathryn joking with him at the Supreme Court – he really seemed to love spending time with her, joshing with her in front of crowds (perhaps because she was a smart lawyer as well), and he always seemed to steer visiting friends to her for a “private” tour.

I was at Chief Justice Rehnquist’s funeral in 2005; he was deeply loved by the Supreme Court “family.” On today’s Court, the most-loved by them in my observation: Antonin Scalia.

One of the funnier moments in my recollection was at a 2006 Supreme Court Historical Society reenactment of the Aaron Burr treason trial held in the Court’s actual Chambers one evening, with Justice Scalia playing the role of the actual trial judge, Chief Justice John Marshall. Scalia peered down from the bench as the DC attorneys recruited for the event began to play out their own roles – among them Scalia’s own son Eugene, a powerhouse lawyer in his own right. “Chief Justice Marshall” (Justice Scalia) looked over his glasses and boomed out, “OK, who’s next – it says here your name is, um, Scall-ee-a, Scall-eye-a, what kind of name is that??” The audience roared with laughter. That was the common reaction to his ever-present, ever-witty humor.

For seven years I’ve recycled an old Reagan-era joke (it was originally about Thurgood Marshall), updating it for the Obama Administration and asking, “Who’s the most important conservative in Washington DC? Justice Scalia’s doctor.” In today’s hyper-politicized era, we’re about to see why….


8 Responses

  1. Just saw this tragedy on Drudge a minute ago. How lovely for you and your wife to have been his friends. A marvelous man with an eagle’s eye for truth and justice, God bless him and his loved ones. I was Congresswoman Ferraro’s press secretary, there was enormous excitement from her, and many others, an Italian -American for the Supreme Court was a first in the ’70’s, she helped get him in. I miss him already, I can feel the gap he’s leaving in American wisdom, America’s heart. Thank you for your details and kindness.


  2. Nice article. Crying because he was my all time favorite Supreme Court Justice:(

    I hope they do an outside of the government autopsy. Just saying’:)

    P >


  3. Wow. I hadn’t heard. Please pass along my condolences to your wife. Best,John Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2016 22:57:22 +0000 To:


  4. Lewis, Thank you for that personal touch. I was wondering if Kat knew Justice Scalia. That answers my question. We all have suffered a great loss. RIP Judge Scalia. Anita

    On Sat, Feb 13, 2016 at 5:57 PM, Shepherds Pi wrote:

    > lewisshepherd posted: “Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away today. My > wife Kathryn Ballentine Shepherd, a semi-retired attorney, has worked at > the Supreme Court since 2003 (in the Curator’s Office, giving Chambers > tours and lectures on the history of the Court and its Just” >


  5. Although my immediate first thought was foul play it was dissipated by the calm reassuring natural causes reports flowing steady and quick. Now I’m back to the complexity of memories and concerns of how many people hated as loved the man, and the extraordinary event of a Supreme Court judge dying in office, and why don’t we know more. Now Drudge reports a pillow found over his head in bed? Why was his body sped from Texas to Virginia at midnight arriving at 3:30am if those reports are true. Aren’t we just all sick to past bearing that we no longer know what is going on in the government — our government of the United States of America and that secrecy is the constant. Please strike out against this, with your unique access and abilities let us know what on earth is going on. God rest his soul, I literally feel his absence in America. We all do.


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