February 01, 2016

Justice Antonin Scalia dies at 79; President Obama plans to submit a nominee to the Senate to fill vacancy

ABA President Paulette Brown expressed the association’s deepest sympathy to the family of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Feb. 12 at age 79.

Scalia was appointed to the court by President Ronald Regan in 1986, four years after Reagan had chosen him for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

A 1961 graduate of Harvard Law School, Scalia first practiced and taught law before entering government service in 1971 as general counsel of the Office of Telecommunications Policy. He chaired the Administrative Conference of the United States from 1972 to 1974 and was assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel from 1974 to 1977.  He returned to academia and was a law professor at the University of Chicago from 1977 to 1982, when he was appointed to the federal judiciary.

Prior to his elevation to the Supreme Court, Scalia was an active member of the ABA, serving as chair of the Section of Administrative Law in 1981-1982 and as chair of what is now the Section Officers Conference in 1982-83.

President Obama has indicated that he plans to submit a nominee to the Senate to fill the vacancy left by Scalia’s death.

Once a nominee is named, the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary will evaluate the integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament of the nominee. The 15-member committee, chaired by Karol Corbin Walker, does not take into account a nominee’s philosophy, political affiliation or ideology. 

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