Tuesday, February 16, 2016
What endures is the human spirit, and if I have any legacy, anything that really endures, it is in the preserving and passing on of that spirit.
I say much the same thing to law faculties when I have the occasion to speak to them at faculty lunches. They are obsessed with publishing. They think this is going to be their mark on the law, their legacy. I tell them how foolish that is. The shelf life of the great American law review article is about five years, and of the great American treatise maybe 25; after that, they're just of historical interest. What endures is what happens in the classroom. I still have people come up to me who were my students at the University of Virginia, in the 1970s for Pete's sake, who are full of gratitude and say, you know, I was in your contracts class and you lit a spark in me for the love of the law and I never lost it. Some of those people have passed it on to others. So I tell the law professors, that's where you make your mark. That's where your legacy will be, in passing on your spirit of the law to others who will pass it on once again.
Antonin Scalia, The Legacy of Judge Howard T. Markey, 8 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. (Special Issue) 1 (2009).