Scalia's Co-Author Says Late Justice Spoke Favorably of Trump's Presidential Run

Antonin Scalia / Getty
January 15, 2018

A legal dictionary editor who co-authored two books with Antonin Scalia and spent time with him in 2016 said that the late Supreme Court justice spoke favorably of then-candidate Donald Trump's presidential run.

Bryan Garner, a longtime friend of Scalia's, told the Wall Street Journal in a story published Monday that the late justice found Trump's candidacy "refreshing."

"Justice Scalia thought it was most refreshing to have a candidate who was pretty much unfiltered and utterly frank," said Garner, whose memoir of a decade-long friendship, Nino and Me, comes out Tuesday. Nino is the nickname that Scalia's friends and colleagues used.

"He was fascinated by the fact that Trump was so outspoken in an unfiltered way, and therefore we were seeing something a little more genuine than a candidate whose every utterance is airbrushed," Garner said.

Scalia died in February 2016, one week after returning from a two-week Asia tour through several Asian countries with Garner.

The two men co-authored Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, published in 2008, and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, published in 2012.

While Scalia may have approved of Trump's judicial nominations, Garner declined to speculate on how Scalia may have felt about some of the other aspects of Trump's presidency.

"These [were] early days in the campaign," Garner said of his discussions with Scalia on Trump. "It shouldn't be looked at through the lens of everything that's happened since."

The Journal noted that Trump has credited his election victory in part to promising to nominate a Supreme Court successor "very much in the mold of Justice Scalia," a pledge that earned him approval among a socially conservative Republican base.