A new SCOTUS term and a week of Scalia

Chief Justice John Roberts opened the term Monday with a salute to Scalia on the 25th anniversary of his appointment. “The place has not been the same since,” Roberts said. (See story)
And as the week went on, it was all Scalia all the time. During three days of oral arguments, he cracked wise and showed himself, as often happens, particularly skeptical of claims (story) by a Death Row defendant and of lawyers’ arguments (story) in a church- state controversy.
Tuesday’s case of condemned prisoner Cory Maples, who was blocked from an appeal because of a missed deadline that was no fault of his own, drew sympathetic comments from a majority of the justices. Maples’ lawyers had left their firm without telling him, and when a court clerk sent relevant appeal papers to their office, the firm’s mailroom returned them unopened.
Expressing no surprise or outrage at the misconduct, Scalia took more of a “get over it” stance. He asked whether sanctions ever fall on lawyers deemed “inadequate” in a death penalty case: “Have you ever heard of anything happening to them? Other than they are getting another capital case?”
Then on Wednesday afternoon, in testimony with Justice Stephen Breyer before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Scalia got off another set of caustic lines and drew most attention (story): “I’m hopeful that the ‘living’ Constitution will die,” he said, referring to Breyer’s view that the Constitution should be broadly interpreted to adapt to changing times.
Scalia brushed off questions related to public complaints about a dysfunctional Washington and legislative gridlock. He said it should be difficult to pass legislation that may not be embraced by a majority. “Americans should appreciate that,” Scalia said. “They should learn to love the gridlock.”
And so it goes, 25 years and counting.