A Tribute to Antonin Scalia
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
As this issue of the Virginia Law Review went to press, we received the sad news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. The Supreme Court has lost perhaps its most influential member; the University of Virginia has lost a former faculty member and good friend. I write today to celebrate his long and mutually affectionate association with the Law School. In the late 1960s, the Law School embarked on an effort to hire young, ambitious, talented scholars to bring a faculty already known for exceptional teaching into the top ranks of scholarly research. One of those hires was Antonin Scalia, a recent Harvard Law School graduate who was in practice at Jones Day but who aspired to an academic career. He began teaching in the fall of 1967 and was an immediate hit, known equally for his sense of humor and his no-holds-barred Socratic style. Before classes even started that fall, an incoming student named Brian Donato called Scalia, who was his assigned Contracts professor. A moving company had badly damaged the furniture Brian and his wife were bringing with them to Charlottesville. He asked Scalia for advice on how to handle the uncooperative moving company. Scalia sprang into action and quickly obtained full reimbursement. Brian then sheepishly asked what he owed Scalia for the legal representation. Scalia replied, “Dinner at your apartment, and I’m bringing my wife.” Brian became one of many students with whom Scalia remained friends for the rest of his life.