A Few Thoughts about Friendship - Lessons from Antonin Scalia

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249

I have a few thoughts to share in the wake of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Some are about the man himself, some are political, and the remainder are about friendship in general.

I hope you find some value here.

I don't think you will see this exact perspective elsewhere.

First and foremost, I pray for peace for his family following his unexpected and sudden passing. Regardless of what any of us think of his specific opinions, the man had an objectively brilliant legal mind. He was also a father of 9 and the grandfather of 35. What an amazing life.

I find it beyond bothersome (the word "appalling" comes to mind) that both Republicans and Democrats have been publicly and vocally strategizing about Scalia's replacement before the man has even been properly memorialized. In fact, this started within hours of the news, perhaps within minutes.

Some Republicans have promised to block any nominee from Obama, stating that this should wait until a new President is in place. This strikes me as asinine for two reasons:

1. It is the President's right and responsibility to nominate when there is a vacancy in the Supreme Court.
2. They don't even know who he will pick yet.

You can skip this next entire paragraph if you are intimately familiar with the nomination and confirmation process:

The approval process includes vetting by the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by a vote in the Senate to confirm the nominee (or not). Currently, the Judiciary Committee is led by Republicans. The GOP has 11 members, and Democrats have 9. After they vet the nominee, it then goes to the Senate where he/she is voted upon. A simply majority is sufficient to confirm.

With that in mind, it is asinine to publicly promise to block any nominee, particularly with the knowledge that you have the probable power to do this later without saying anything to the media.

Conversely, I saw Democrats urging Obama to make a recess appointment quickly (they are presently in the midst of a 10-day break), without realizing that any interim appointment could only serve until January of 2017 because of the way the rules are set up.

At any rate, I was actually more interested in the fact that Scalia was apparently VERY good friends with Ruth Bader Ginsberg, with whom he disagreed more often than anyone else. They agreed on cases 57% of the time. When the Court was split 5-4, they agreed on only 7% on those.

Despite that, they socialized together frequently, even vacationing sometimes together. Yes, really. These two individuals could not be much more diametrically opposed with interpretation of the law, Constitution, and politics in general, yet they were REALLY GOOD FRIENDS.

I see friendships destroyed frequently over political differences. Heck, I've seen fist fights over sporting events.

I do strive to be respectful when I disagree with my friends, because I value them more than I value being right.

I don't always succeed, and sometimes I get emotional, too. If I have ever offended you in any way, I apologize. I am going to try to follow the example of Scalia and Ginsberg, the "odd couple" from the Supreme Court. If they could hang out and take vacations together, surely I can learn from this and be more patient and kind toward others with whom I do not agree.

Have a terrific day. May God bless you.

P.S. As a side note: If they make a movie anytime soon about Antonin Scalia, Paul Sorvino is the only logical choice for that role.

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Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Jason, Scalia also won the friendship and admiration of a friend of mine who headed Ralph Nader's litigation group for decades and taught Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, among other places.  He was highly respected by the people who disagreed with him, and that is the sign of a great justice.  And I agree with you about his replacement.  My guess is that Obama will nominate someone much more acceptable to Congress than his previous choices.  There are precedents for presidents nominating, and the Senate confirming, Supreme Court justices in a president's last term - with the last example being Ronald Reagan! 

Feb 16, 2016 05:09 AM #23
Bruce Brockmeier
Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS® - Yorba Linda, CA
Coached By Crouch

These two individuals could not be much more diametrically opposed with interpretation of the law, Constitution, and politics in general, yet they were REALLY GOOD FRIENDS.


Thanks, my friend.  I never would have guessed this!  They set a good example for all of us.

Feb 16, 2016 05:45 AM #24
John Ferrin
HomeSmart - Gilbert, AZ

The point of your post is not lost on me; we could all learn a lesson or three from them. But, I will have to respectfully disagree that the political talk is disrepectful or out of line. 

If Judge Scalia were your Broker and everyone was manuvering to obtain his place at the table, while the body is still warm, I would agree with you.  But, in this case, the death of a Supreme Court Justice has HUGE political and social implications.

If you are liberal I dont think you can help but be encouraged that your president gets to potentially appoint a liberal judge to the bench, replacing the most conservative judge there was, and if you are a conservative you have reason for great concern for the very same reasons.

To discuss these ramifications is so very important and in doing so, I dont believe it takes anything away from Judge Scalia, his life, accomplishments, or his death.

My 2 cents worth, anyway.....

Feb 16, 2016 08:25 AM #25
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jason- what a thought-provoking post and your presence here has been missed.  What Justices Scalia and Ginsberg exhibited is how we would hope all professionals, especially those who have anything to do with our government, would act... with civility and respect for others. 

Feb 16, 2016 09:19 AM #26
Rob Lang
At Home Kansas Team Powered by Keller Williams Partners Inc / www.AskRobLang.com - Lawrence, KS
Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes

Jason, respect is what being professional is all about.  Respect other agents, respect buyers, respect sellers, and so on.  If you need Austin TX area referrals, try leaving a comment on my referral blog.  :)

Feb 16, 2016 09:34 AM #27
Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

This is nothing new. I can not remember many times when the opportunity to appoint a judge did not create chaos.

Each side will use any argument available to support its position. It does not have to (and is not likely to) be logical, factual or constructive.

Judges have been appointed in the last year of a presidency by both parties in the past. Go check it out, then we can just ressurect old arguments instead of trying to create new ones.  

Feb 16, 2016 09:55 AM #28
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I think their friendship is a good example for all of us to consider and follow.

Feb 16, 2016 11:46 AM #29
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Friends can still be friends and not agree on almost everything if they are confident and fearless and more importantly, respect each other. It's not unusual, yet this occurs in many diverse relationships. 

When you mix the politics of being asinine with the friendship factor, the message doesn't appear friendly to some, yet, while others perceive it as political, some could care less while others would dismiss the message as incredible to its author. Regardless Antonin Scalia was immeasurable, honorable and inspirational in every aspect of his life.

Feb 16, 2016 12:58 PM #30
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I thought the same things you did.

First, I thought it was in extremely poor taste to be arguing over Scalia's replacement before he was memorialized properly, and two, I thought it was great when I read about the Ginsberg/Scalia friendship.

Unfortunately, there are way too many people in today's world who lump everyone who disagrees with them on political issues/candidates/etc into the "you're an asshole" bucket. That is no way to cultivate friends but then again, people who act that way probably only want to be friends with people who think exactly like them. Which is a shame because it eliminates more than half the world from potential relationships. Actually having intelligent discussions with people who disagree with us is rare.

Feb 16, 2016 08:15 PM #31
Theresa Akin

Within hours of this man's death and a trauma to his family and a lost friendship, political scandal has arisen like a banshee from the depths of hell with no respect for the man, his family or career. Oh! Hopefully soon he will rest in peace. The nightmare will go on for his family and friends, media and politics will see to it.

Feb 16, 2016 10:14 PM #32
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Jason we are in a very divided country right now.  I will try to avoid which side I am on.  There is not much comprosie or even room for compromise between the 2 sides.  In the words of a Mr. Hightower, the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow lines and dead armidillos.  Trying to maintain civility is important.  Starting in the 80's court appointments all of a sudden became very political - right after scalia's appointment.  Sadly funerals have been turned into full scale political events.  Read the stories on the Wellstone funeral.  That was Wellstones own party making it into a rally.  I think the thinking may be that He who waits losses.  Appoints are not the sole perogative of the President.  The Senate needs to approve.  What I find admirable about Scalia is that he would often vote against his personal beliefs on the facts of a case, based on what he saw as the Constitution and the Law.  There is a great quote he made about good judges having to make decions on occasion that turn their stomach.

Feb 17, 2016 01:21 AM #33
Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent
BROKER Allison James Estates & Homes BRE 01885684 - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

Agree, it has been a huge distraction and disgraceful, all the speculation in the media since his passing. Scalia was a good man, and his family deserves the respect of being able to lay him to rest before every politician is saying whatever they think will get them on the TV.

Feb 17, 2016 06:30 AM #34
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I also find it apalling the politicians were so quick to start strategizing on his successor, instead of focusing on the man and his family.  

Feb 17, 2016 08:05 AM #35
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
South Florida Residential Real Estate

This type of friendship sounds like it is based on respect. To honor eachother and respect eachother without judgement even when opinions and beliefs are miles apart is something special. Imagine if all our relationships looked like that. 

Feb 17, 2016 10:55 AM #36
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jason Crouch indeed he is a great friend. I'd like to re-quote your statement ---

"I do strive to be respectful when I disagree with my friends, because I value them more than I value being right."

That's the value of friendship, trust.

Feb 17, 2016 01:48 PM #37
Craig Cooper
Chase International Real Estate - Tahoe City, CA
Creating-Preserving-Growing Wealth in Real Estate

If the end result wasn't so important to each side, you wouldn't see them behaving in the way they are today. When the constitution is followed, the system was set up so it wouldn't be easy for either side to dominate without the agreement of the political opposition. The President is afforded the privilege of nominating federal judges. The senate is afforded the responsibility of Advice and Consent, which is not consent under any circumstances. That is one of the brilliant checks and balances when the politicians are following the constitution. From what I see, both parties will take any advantage they have at any given time which is how things were designed. In a divided government, one party has some authority, the other party has some check and balance. Very timely for your post Jason, thank you.

Feb 17, 2016 07:11 PM #38
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for sharing more detail than a lot of us probably knew about the man.  I had no idea of his friendship with Ginsburg!  We'll see what prevails!

Feb 18, 2016 01:54 AM #39
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

Thank you for sharing...he seemed like he was a good man. I am sure some would disagree, but such is life.

Feb 18, 2016 07:58 PM #40
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

I enjoyed your informative post, glad I came across it in the archives.

Mar 12, 2016 11:59 AM #41
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin

Hey Jason

Justice Scalia was one of a kind he will be greatly missed. 

Jun 12, 2016 02:12 PM #42
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