Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep today, at the age of 79, while visiting Texas. He was the first Italian American to serve on the Supreme Court.
Scalia’s father, Salvatore Eugene Scalia, was an Italian immigrant from Sicily. His mother, Catherine Panaro Scalia, was the child of Italian immigrants.
Scalia graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University as valedictorian. He received his law degree from Harvard where he graduated magna cum laude. He began his legal career at Jones, Day in Cleveland, Ohio. He then became a professor of law at the University of Virginia and, subsequently, a D. C. Circuit Court Judge.
Scalia was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and was confirmed by the Senate unanimously on September 17, 1986. Scalia served on the Supreme Court for 30 years. During his tenure he developed a reputation as one of the most intelligent and constitutionally conservative Justices in the history of the Court.