Members of the Supreme Court gathered to bid farewell to their recently deceased colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia. One of his closest friends, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fondly remembered how their relationship overcame an ideological divide.
On Feb. 13, 79-year-old Scalia passed away. While Congress is threatening to block President Barack Obama from nominating a successor, the remaining justices have recalled Scalia as a deeply stubborn conservative who put aside partisanship when it came to friendship.
On March 1, the justices took turns eulogizing Scalia at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C., remembering the friend they called “Nino,” NBC News reports.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who recently broke his decade-long silence in the courtroom following Scalia’s death, recalled the firebrand justice by criticizing a court opinion, calling it “just a horrible opinion… one of the worst ever.”
“Nino you wrote it,” Thomas recalled telling the justice.
Ginsburg, who bonded with Scalia over their mutual love of opera, took to the podium to recount how she was appointed to the Supreme Court.
“When President [Bill] Clinton was mulling over his first nomination to the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia was asked, 'If you were stranded on a desert island with your new court colleague, who would you prefer: Larry Tribe or Mario Cuomo?’” Ginsburg recalled, according to The Huffington Post.
Ginsburg sad that “Justice Scalia answered quickly and distinctly: ‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg.’” She implied that Scalia’s input directly lead to Clinton making her his first Supreme Court appointment.
Ginsburg, a progressive-leaning justice, was at odds with Scalia when it came to judicial policy. Despite this, shortly after his death she insisted they "were best buddies,” according to NPR.
The two justices reportedly enjoyed a combative, but affectionate, working relationship, able to passionately disagree while maintaining a mutual respect.
During her eulogy, Ginsburg referenced one of the most controversial cases of her and Scalia’s service in the Supreme Court: the Bush v. Gore decision of 2000.
“No surprise that Justice Scalia and I were on opposite sides,” Ginsburg said.
She added that following the court’s decision that would lead to President George W. Bush, Scalia called Ginsburg as she continued working in her office.
“Around 9 p.m., the telephone rang,” Ginsburg said. “It was Justice Scalia. He didn’t say, ‘get over it.’ Instead, he asked, ‘Ruth, why are you still at the court? Go home and take a hot bath.’ Good advice I promptly followed.”