NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A day after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of a heart attack at a ranch in Texas, his friends and colleagues across the country remember him as a man of solid character. Here at home, one federal judge recalls the friendship he had with Scalia, a man he held in the highest regard.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman will never forget the day, 30 years ago, when he met Antonin Scalia.
"He drove up in a little beaten up car and I was kinda bored and standing on the front porch and he pulled up and he kinda waddled up to the house and he looked at me and he said, Judge Feldman, and I said Judge Scalia, and we became instant friends," Feldman recalled.
That was three years before Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court. Today, Feldman calls the 79-year-old one of his closest friends.
"He was loving, he was funny, he had absolutely no sense of celebrity. He was just a beloved human being," Feldman said.
It was Scalia's wife, Maureen, who broke the news of his death to the federal judge.
Feldman says, "She called me last night, late, she was sad, but strong. I probably cried more than she did."
The two forged a strong bond which lasted over the years. Looking around Feldman's home, it's obvious to see how close the two were. The two judges traveled together, and Scalia and his wife spent time in Feldman's home. They shared common interests and often confided in one another. Feldman says he admired the strong character of his friend, even when challenged with deciding the most controversial legal issues before the court.
"He was not intimidated by public opinion, he called every issue as he saw it," Feldman said.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer told Feldman a glow at the court has dimmed after Scalia's death. A glow that Feldman feels is now missing from his heart.
Scalia actually served as Feldman's godfather when he converted to Catholicism eight years ago. He says he just heard from the Supreme Court Justice last week, before he suffered his fatal heart attack.