Dear John Scalia,
You wouldn’t know my name if you heard it, and you wouldn’t recognize my face if you saw it.
But I know you. And I’ll never forget you.
Almost five years ago, I met you. Well, that’s a stretch. I spoke with you on the phone. But in my defense, it was an hour and a half long phone call. An employment issue had arisen, and your counsel was needed – desperately. At the time, I had no idea who you were. My boss pronounced your name Skalya (a as in apple), and I had not seen it in writing. And honestly, it hadn’t crossed my mind that our Supreme Court Justices had children running around the US, working in every day jobs. Don’t get me wrong – I’m passionate about my politics. I would have known who you were if your name had been on a piece of paper in front of me or had been pronounced correctly.
As our conversation on a thrilling EEO claim wound down, somehow, the topic of my leaving the company to homeschool my children was raised. You asked a few questions, and I answered them as best I knew how. Taking a leap of faith, I really wasn’t sure what I was doing or how it would turn out. I have no idea what I said to you, but you proceeded with a monologue about the importance of family and the undeniable value to be found in the seemingly overwhelming task that lay in front of me. Clearly, you must have sensed the trepidation and uncertainty in my voice, because you flooded me with encouragement and praise for the job you believed I could do. While I don’t recall many of the words spoken between us that day, the conversation as a whole has stayed with me – and always will. Five years later, I’m still at it – and not because it’s easy.
Shortly afterwards, I was speaking with one of your colleagues, a gentleman (another wonderful attorney) who provided guidance with our 401k, benefits, etc. The topic of our call was raised, and he remarked, “Do you know who he is?”
“No,” I said.
“He’s the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.”
And all at once, I knew, and yet couldn’t believe that I hadn’t known before. By the tone of his voice, I could tell he respected you. It only added that much more weight to my take on our conversation. I would be lying if I didn’t think for a moment – “Did he bill me for that part of the conversation?” but it would have been worth every penny. It may seem childish, but I’m pretty sure the rest of the day was spent in disbelief that I had spoken with the son of a Supreme Court Justice, and that he had encouraged and believed in me and the plan to homeschool my children. Then, there was the idea that I hoped your dad knew what a great son he had.
And on that note, I desperately, desperately want to express my deepest and most sincere condolences to you and to your family, especially to your mother. My heart hurts and has all day long. If the day hadn’t required working on minecraft valentines boxes with my children, I’m pretty sure I could have sat down and cried. All day long. I’m so sorry…for so many things.
I’m sorry your father is gone, and that you didn’t get to say goodbye.
I’m sorry the rest of the world moves on while your world stands still.
I’m sorry that his death will be mired in controversy, justified or not, due to the current political environment.
I’m sorry you were given no time to grieve before his death was politicized.
I’m sorry. I’m just so, so sorry that he’s gone.
As great as the loss of his brilliance and judicial conservatism is to our nation, his loss as a husband, father, and grandfather must be so much more. My heart hurts thinking of those left behind to go on without him.
And yet, I must say thank you.
Thank you for sharing your father with this nation, in life and in death. While you mourn personally, we mourn from afar.
From listening to his friends and looking at pictures, he was loved. He was the Father of Constitutional Originalism, a giant in the judicial and legal fields, a man of great humor, with a smile that could light up a room, a man of great conviction, deeply-rooted integrity, strong intellect, and brilliant words. He almost seemed destined for the Supreme Court with nine children – five boys and four girls.
I have loved reading about your mother, and it sounds like she will be held up and loved dearly by her friends and family during this time. Please know you will all be in my prayers as I ask the Lord to provide comfort to all of your family – as only He can give.
With deep, deep admiration,
Ideally and politically – a fan of your father
Personally – a fan of you
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