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7 Lessons from the Family Life of Justice Antonin Scalia, Father of Nine

Feb 20, 2016 by

In the days following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it is coming to light what a remarkable man he was (see Full Text & Video of Justice Scalia’s Funeral Homily by His Son, a Catholic Priest). Not only was he one of the most brilliant legal minds of our time, he was also a devout, traditional Catholic.  There is much to learn as we reflect on and appreciate his shining example of a life well-lived.

Here is a great article from the Institute for Family Studies by Ashley McGuire:

In his remarks upon the shocking and unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama paid tribute to his many professional accomplishments, but he ended his statement with a comment on Scalia’s personal life. He remarked on Scalia’s “loving family,” which he called “a beautiful symbol of a life well lived.” And he thanked them “for sharing Justice Scalia with our country.”

Indeed, there was much sharing to be done, as Scalia was the father to nine children and grandfather to thirty-six. Revered on the right, and respected on the left, Justice Scalia was considered by many on all sides of political issues to be one of the greatest legal minds of his day, possibly in American history. Most of the coverage of his life has focused on that or on the brewing political storm that will inevitably surround the process for eventually replacing him.

But amid all that, we should not lose sight of what Justice Scalia had to teach us about the family. Here are seven lessons we can draw from his full and vibrant family life: 

1. Family is an accomplishment in its own right. It was actually Justice Scalia’s wife, Maureen, who responded to the question in a CBS 60 Minutes interview, “Why so many children?” by joking that she and her husband are “both overachievers.” Her joke contained an important point: raising a family is noble work, and children are a magnificent accomplishment. Mrs. Scalia’s answer was brilliant; she matched him by placing the work of childrearing on par with sitting on the highest court in America.

No doubt, she and Justice Scalia would agree with what Leon Kass put so magnificently in a 2012 speech to the American Enterprise Institute, when he said:

We human beings are at work not only when we are occupationally working. We are also deeply at work in the activities of love and friendship, and especially when we are actively engaged in family life, the domain of private life in which Americans find the most meaning.

Couples like the Scalias help today’s couples to re-think the meaning of work in their lives by reminding us that a couple’s most intimate and important work is to build a family.

Continue reading Justice Antonin Scalia on Family Life