February 15, 2016

Debating with Scalia: Aaron Van Oort Shares Memories from a Rare Clerkship

Following the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Feb. 13, Aaron Van Oort, business litigation partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, was featured on Fox 9 News in Minneapolis to share memories from his clerkship with one of the most influential justices in history.

Van Oort clerked for Scalia in 2000-01 prior to joining FaegreBD. In the Fox 9 interview, he explained that despite his reputation as an intimidating debater, he was personable outside the courtroom. “He’s an incredibly warm, engaging, charismatic guy,” Van Oort said. “You’d see how sharp his opinions were and you think [he] might be intimidating. Quite the opposite in an interpersonal manner; he’s the one who made everyone in the room feel welcome.”

Van Oort said he was expected to engage in debate with Scalia and question every word of any argument to be sure it precisely conveyed the arguer’s point. “We would fight it out to see who could defend and who could justify what the result was,” he said. “He would make us defend every word. I think the law is clearer and more predictable because of Justice Scalia.”

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