Kyle Graham links to papers from the Reagan Library concerning the nomination of Scalia to the Supreme Court:
Today, for starters, I’ll share two memoranda from the Presidential papers that discuss Antonin Scalia, while he was being considered for possible appointment to the United States Supreme Court. The first, a short little memo, was written in July 1985 by Pat Buchanan (at the time, the White House Communications Director), and addressed to the White House Chief of Staff. In it, Buchanan identifies Scalia as the best available nominee for the next upcoming vacancy on the Court. The second, written in June 1986, is a candid assessment by a White House lawyer of the “General Considerations and Confirmabillity” of then-candidate Scalia. The latter document describes Scalia as “an extroverted, hail-fellow-well-met-type person,” and “a consensus-builder who blunts disagreement, rather than sharpens it.” This memorandum also includes an evaluation, prepared by the Department of Justice, of Scalia’s judicial philosophy and temperment.
Read them. They’re good.
Some other highlights:
“Scalia is said to be ‘phenomenally well prepared’ at oral argument — he reads all the briefs himself, rather than relying on clerks’ summaries. He also writes his own opinion, sometimes without using clerks’ drafts. Scalia writes well and is accessibel to the non-lawyer. Though he is called an archconservative, he is also an independent thinker who does not bend his principles to suit his circumstances.”
“He is thought of as a consensus-builder who blunts disagreement, rather than sharpens it. He is said to differ in this regard from Judge Bork, who is more contentious.”
“It is noted that Scalia is nine years younger than Bork, and perhaps more conservative.”
“Scalia believes in a strong executive, a strong legislature and a relatively weak court.”
“Judge Scalia has said that courts are bad at, and therefore the wrong institution, for organizing society, spending money, and generally getting things done.”
“Further evidence of Scalia’s conservative approach to statutory construction is his view on legislative history.”
“Judge Scalia is also an articulate and devoted adherent to the interpretivist theory of adjudication described more extensively in the memorandum of Judge Bork.” [That would be originalism]
“Unlike Bork, he would have to undergo a relatively brief “get-acquainted” period on the Supreme Court and it is conceivable that he might rub one of his colleagues the wrong way.”
“Scalia just turned 50 years old and exercises regularly. Although he smokes heavily, and drinks, he should have a lengthy career on the Court.”