Antonin Scalia gave a strong endorsement of who he wanted as his successor in 2012 — and it wasn’t someone who shared his same views.
In 2012, Scalia said he wanted Judge Frank Easterbrook — appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 — of the US Seventh Circuit to replace him.
“If there is one other judicial name associated with the two principal theories of this book — textualism and originalism — it is Frank Easterbrook,” Scalia said in a 2012 CSPAN interview. “If I had to pick somebody to replace me on the Supreme Court, it would be Frank.”
It’s an interesting choice given the judges’ divergent views on one of the most controversial subjects in America — gun control.
In 2009, Scalia joined a 5-4 majority in reversing Easterbrook’s decision upholding a Chicago handgun ban, and the National Rifle Association once went as far to say Easterbrook was attempting to “unravel the Bill of Rights” after a decision of his allowed Highland Park, Illinois to ban semi-automatic weapons in 2013.
Easterbrook’s ruling “would effectively permit legislators to trample the constitutional rights of the minority at the whims of the majority,” the NRA said at the time, according to ABC News.
The NRA requested the Supreme Court hear the case last year, and Scalia wanted to reverse the decision. But the high court decline to hear the case.
The Supreme Court vacancy left by Scalia’s unexpected death last weekend at the age of 79 has pushed itself to the forefront of the 2016 presidential race.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a GOP presidential candidate, brought up the vacancy, along with the contentious issue of gun control, at a rally in South Carolina on Sunday. “We are one justice away from the Supreme Court effectively reading the Second Amendment out of the Constitution,” he said.
In any case, Scalia told CSPAN that he and Easterbrook’s similar views of the law meant they usually “see things the same.”
Indeed, the two were so close that Easterbrook wrote the forward to Scalia’s 2012 book, “Reading Law.”
“This book is a great event in American legal culture,” he wrote. “Every lawyer — and every citizen concerned about how the judiciary can rise above politics and produce a government of laws, and not of men — should find this book invaluable.”
Watch the CSPAN interview below: