There are many versions of the story about Justice Antonin Scalia and the fish. In the play The Originalist, the story goes like this: A young man tells Scalia, “Sir, I named my pet fish after you.” Scalia answers, “Really. Do you have other fish named after Supreme Court justices?” “Not anymore,” says the young man. “Justice Scalia ate them all.”
Very nice. But the version I like best goes like this: A law student says, “My roommates and I named a fish after you.” “Oh,” says Scalia. “You call him ‘Nino’?” “No,” says the student. “We call him ‘Justice Scalia.’” This version then continues like the other: The students had other fish named after Supreme Court justices, but Scalia — or rather, “Justice Scalia” — ate them all.
He is now a man of legend, as well as an ample, clear historical record. Today, I write about Scalia, and, more specifically, the play, The Originalist. (For my piece, go here.) I myself was fairly irked by the play. But it is an interesting effort, worth dealing with, I think.