At a dinner remembering the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told the audience to honor Scalia by continuing “to keep the power of the courts and other branches of government in check.” The gathering, hosted by the Federalist Society also saw Justice Samuel Alito speak. Alito also exhorted the audience to protect Americans at the “constitutional fault lines,” such as religious freedom and gun rights.
Mark Sherman reports at the Associated Press:
Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an “odd couple” of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia.
He paraphrased Lincoln’s Gettysburg address to exhort the audience to “be dedicated to the unfinished business for which Justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion.”
Thomas and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito were the bookends of the Thursday meeting of the Federalist Society, at which conservatives were reveling in Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the presidential election because it is likely to result in the appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
Alito issued his own rallying cry to conservatives, describing religious freedom and gun rights as among “constitutional fault lines,” important issues at stake in the federal courts.
The conference of conservatism’s leading legal lights took on a new air of importance with Trump’s victory, and included a list of judges the president-elect has named as candidates to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death last February.
In their remarks, Thomas and Alito didn’t mention the election or the vacancy, rather using the platform to pay tribute to Scalia, a longtime colleague and conservative ally in high-court battles on hot-button social and political issues.
Alito said Scalia, a hero to many of the group’s 40,000 members, is sorely missed on the court. “We are left to ask ourselves WWSD,” what would Scalia do, Alito said. The lettering is a play on the phrase “WWJD,” for what would Jesus do.