Justice Scalia’s Troubling Friend
The New Yorker has an interesting read which brought back memories of a gift my parents gave when I became a teenager. That might seem like a strange memory expect that gift hangs inside a walk in closet in our home. Throughout my life the plaque which contains words of wisdom has always found a place on a wall so to remind me of some of the constant truths about life. The truism that leapt to my mind upon reading the column below is quite straight-forward.
Choose your companions with care, you become what they are.
The kind of people who Supreme Court Justice Scalia surrounded himself has long been a topic that generated interest. Since his death there have been a number of articles about his companions, but none more troubling than the one below.
Scalia travelled to the Texas hunting trip on a private plane with a friend named C. Allen Foster, a seventy-four-year-old lawyer in D.C. Foster has a varied law practice, specializing in the law of construction, but also representing several right-leaning clients. He represented the Republican Party in redistricting cases and the company formerly known as Blackwater in a case arising out of the death of four of its contractors during the American occupation of Iraq. (Foster did not reply to an e-mail or return a phone call.)
Foster is a hunting enthusiast, as was Justice Scalia. The lawyer described his passion a couple of years ago in an autobiographical portrait for the fiftieth reunion of the Princeton Class of 1963. Like many such essays, Foster’s begins in a jocular vein—“You’re only as old as your current wife,” he writes. But then he goes on to say that while he spent his professional career practicing law, “I’ve also been pursuing my passion—killing things. I’m sure many of you have become mamby-pamby girly men and think that killing things is oh, so redneck and lower class. Well, you’ll be delighted to know that I generally go killing things with Continental royalty and English nobility, and we look down on the rednecks just like you do.” (According to the Web site of the Order of St. Hubertus, the current grand master is His Imperial Highness Istvan von Habsburg-Lothringen, the archduke of Austria.)
Foster went on, “I am pleased to report that I’ve killed lots of elephants, lions, buffalo, leopards, kudu, deer and the last legally shot black rhinoceros, together with more than 150,000 birds of various species. When the last duck comes flying over with a sign around his neck ‘I am the last duck,’ I will shoot it.” Concluding with a political observation, Foster writes, “It also won’t surprise you that I still rail against liberals, the academic kleptocracy, Washington bureaucrats and feminazis.”