Statement of Justice Anthony Kennedy:

In years to come any history of the Supreme Court will, and must, recount the wisdom, scholarship, and technical brilliance that Justice Scalia brought to the Court.

The bold part doesn't sound very smooth to understand. Could you please tell me what the bold part means? And how can one rephrase it?

  • ell.stackexchange.com/questions/52460 discusses the word "history".
    – Jasper
    Feb 17, 2016 at 22:32
  • Wow, that's a quite long answer in the link. But I still don't understand how it answers my question. Feb 17, 2016 at 22:39
  • Just re-read the sentence without the "and must" part and the commas around it. It's likely the insertion that's disturbing the flow for you. Feb 18, 2016 at 4:00

2 Answers 2


In the years to come = "In the future"
history = A story that tries to describe how important people, things, events, and ideas (in the past, from the point of view of the story author) are related.
of the Supreme Court = of the people who work in the U.S. Supreme Court, and of the decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court
any history of the Supreme Court = In Justice Kennedy's opinion, it will not be possible to write any "history of the Supreme Court" (worthy of the name "history") that covers Scalia's time period that does not comply with this statement.
will = Future tense, because that story has not been written yet.
and must = Histories try to define a scope, and then comprehensively discuss what the author thinks is important within that scope. If the author covers the time that Justice Scalia was on the court, but does not discuss Scalia's contributions, then (in Justice Kennedy's opinion) the author has missed some of the most important things and ideas of the time period.

This sentence also implies:

  • Justice Scalia's contributions will remain important in the future.
  • Justice Scalia's "wisdom" will influence future ideas and decisions of the Supreme Court.
  • Justice Scalia's "scholarship" and "technical brilliance" will serve as a role model for Supreme Court Justices in the future.

The bolded part of the sentence seems to paraphrase a sentence in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

Kennedy is saying that Scalia's contributions are some of the most important things to have happened on the U.S. Supreme Court over the last 30 years, and that Scalia's influence will continue, and will be remembered.

  • I appreciate your answer. It clarifies a lot. But I think it is very important to me to know how I can say the sentence in a different way that conveys the same meaning. I think this would the most helpful so one can know the variations of the sentence. Feb 17, 2016 at 22:53
  • @Ghaith - It's very flowery language and hard to paraphrase.
    – J.R.
    Feb 18, 2016 at 1:05

I agree with you that the phrasing is a bit awkward. A paraphrase would be

In the future, when one retells the history of the Supreme Court, they must include the wisdom, scholarship, and technical brilliance that Justice Scalia brought to the Court.

Basically, Scalia should always be remembered for his contributions, because they were/are integral to the history of the Supreme Court.

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