Idaho reacts to Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia’s death

Dirk Kempthorne, former Idaho governor, senator and former U.S. Sec. of the Interior, said he was shaken by the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

“I'm both shocked and deeply saddened,” Kempthorne said. “He was absolutely a giant and he was someone who absolutely believed in the Constitution of the U.S.”

Kempthorne said he was honored to be sworn in as the Sec. of Interior by Scalia, but also that he felt blessed to have one-on-one moments with the justice. He recalled asking Scalia about his performance as Macbeth in college, and Scalia delivered a five minute segment of the play, Kempthorne said.

Scalia was a man who enjoyed fishing, and moreover, fishing in Idaho, Kempthorne said.

“It’s a delightful family and I know how heavy this is for them,” he said. “I certainly will include them all in my prayers tonight.”

Other Idaho leaders also shared memories of Scalia. U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador recalled meeting the justice in a statement.

“I am saddened by the news of Justice Scalia’s death. I had the honor of first meeting him in the early 1990s, while I was a third year law student at the University of Washington Law School,” he said in a statement. “At the time, I was president of the Federalist Society and we had invited him to address the entire student body. Many of the liberal students at the school protested and asked the school to rescind the invitation. He still came and gave a marvelous speech. He won the students over with his wit and great sense of humor.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch said, in a statement, that he went fishing with Scalia.

“Today America lost a great jurist,” he said in the statement. “From a personal standpoint, I lost a good friend. Justice Scalia loved Idaho and loved fishing. On his last trip to Idaho we spent a fabulous day fishing Silver Creek in Blaine County. He said it was one of the best, if not the best of days he had spent fishing. He and I shared a love of the outdoors. We had talked about a repeat trip but as often happens we waited too long. America will miss him and so will I.”

Erin Fenner: 208-377-6207, @erinfenner