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Former state Board of Elections chair recalls friendship with Antonin Scalia

Posted February 13, 2016

As a young lawyer, Josh Howard was in awe of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday in West Texas. Scalia was 79.

Howard and Scalia eventually became friends, even hunting partners.

“It’s a terrible loss,” Howard said. “You’re not going to be able to find anyone who can bring that kind of fire power the court, especially in these political times.”

Howard, former chairman of the state Board of Elections, said he realizes there are different views of Scalia. The former justice took a conservative stance on controversial issues, including abortion, LGBT issues and affirmative action.

Howard said Scalia’s intellect is the reason why people, even those who disagreed with him, at least respected him.

“Regardless of a person’s ideology, everybody respected his intellect,” he said. “One of his best friends in the court was his ideological nemesis.”

Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia to the high court in 1986, and he quickly gained a reputation for himself.

“He’ll be remembered in many ways,” said Joan Biskupic. “Certainly this larger-than-life figure—a larger-than-life bench figure—someone who embraced both the law and a life beyond the court.”

As for who will replace Scolia, Howard—who served on three SCOTUS confirmations himself—said he doubts there will be a confirmation process during the current presidency.

“Given that it’s also an election year; given that you’re going to have a congressional recess in that summer, there’s just not enough time to get this done before November,” Howard said.


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