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Scalia's Papers Donated to Harvard Law School

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 07, 2017 11:59 AM

There's an Antonin Scalia Law School now, but it won't be home to the late justice's papers. That honor goes to Harvard Law School, Scalia's alma mater. The school announced the acquisition yesterday.

Scalia's files include his judicial papers from his time on the Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit, as well as correspondence, speeches, documents from his work at the DOJ and even in academia -- and probably a few doodles in the margins of the Federalist Papers as well.

Scalia Returns to Harvard Once More

Scalia's connection to Harvard goes back to 1957, when he first began law school. He went on to serve as notes editor for the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. It's also where he met his wife, Maureen.

"Nino and I met as students in Cambridge, when he was at the Law School and I at Radcliffe," Maureen Scalia in an announcement noting the family's donation to the law school. "Our visits back to Harvard together always felt like a homecoming, particularly in recent years. I am pleased to make this gift, and that his papers will now be at the Law School."

"We are deeply grateful to the Scalia family for donating Justice Scalia's papers to his alma mater," said John Manning, an HLS deputy dean, law professor, and former Scalia clerk. "These papers will someday be a treasure trove for historians, legal scholars, and others who wish to study and understand the Justice's historic tenure on the Court and impact on legal thought."

So What's in the Papers?

According to Harvard, the bulk of the collection will be Scalia's judicial papers from his time as a Supreme Court and circuit court judge. Those papers could include things like case notes, correspondence with other judges, drafts of important decisions like D.C. v. Heller.

The collection will also reach beyond Scalia's work as a judge, however. It will include papers from his time at the Department of Justice, the Office of Telecommunications Policy, and the Administrative Conference of the United States. Also included will be the justice's letters, drafts of speeches, professional records and the like. There will even be papers from Scalia's time as a law professor.

There's bound to be some gems in there, too. Justice Ginsburg, for example, has reminisced about how Scalia's harsh responses to his fellow justices' opinions often made them better, thanks to his "searing criticism." In response to her Virginia Military Institute opinion, for example, Scalia took his friend to task in one, as Ginsburg calls it, "disdainful footnote: 'The Court refers to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. There is no University of Virginia at Charlottesville, there is only the University of Virginia.'"

Who knows what other pithy comments and sarcastic glossolalia Scalia's papers hold in store.

But, if you want to head up to Cambridge and start rummaging through the late justice's files, you'll have to wait a bit. The first papers won't be available to researchers until at least 2020.

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