Justice Scalia Remembered By Local Professor

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)-- Justice Antonin Scalia was laid to rest Saturday (Feb. 20) in a ceremony thousands attended.

University of Arkansas professor Gina Holland-Shelton said she knew Scalia well. Shelton was an Associated Press reporter covering the Supreme Court from 2001-2006.

"He could be mean to reporters," Shelton said. "In his relationships he could get very angry with his own colleagues, and call them a few names, but I don't think there's going to be another justice quite like him."

Shelton said she remembers him being passionate about his conservative views. Shelton attended a White House Correspondence dinner with Scalia in 2006.

"It was black or white with him," Shelton said. "There was not much middle ground, and he didn't tone it down, it was just Scalia."

At Saturday's funeral, many key figures were in attendance, aside from President Obama. Shelton said she thinks it was a lose-lose situation.

"If he attended the funeral, some people might criticize him and say he didn't look somber enough."

Shelton said right now the biggest question is why hasn't someone been nominated to take Scalia's seat. She said the court is in a firestorm with four Democrats and four Republicans.

"This is a very important political decision, this nomination, because you're going to have everyone loaded to go after them," Shelton said. "So he's got to be extremely careful, and he might want someone more liberal but he might have to settle on someone more moderate and less controversial."

She said she'll remember Scalia fondly. She said the last time she saw him was in May 2015, when he let Shelton bring a group of her students to the Supreme Court.

"They got a glimpse of Justice Scalia in person, away from the bench, in a really private moment," Shelton said. "So I think they feel like they were a part of history."

The last Supreme Court justice to die while serving was Chief Justice John Rehnquist. He died in September of 2006.

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