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Nominee: The Little ‘Nino’ Of Trenton’s Italian Neighborhood

June 18, 1986

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Even as a little boy, ″Nino″ Scalia showed an eager curiosity and a quick intellect, friends and relatives recall.

″He would ask me such questions 3/8″ said his aunt, Eva Panaro. ″He’d ask about the universe, about everything happening around. He floored me many times.″

Nino, the son of an Italian immigrant, grew up to be U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Antonin Scalia, and would be the youngest man ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court if President Reagan’s nomination is confirmed.

″He was always a student and an intellect,″ said another aunt, Rose O’Brien, gathered with other relatives Tuesday at Miss Panaro’s Ewing Township home. ″We never had a problem whipping him into going to school.″

But Miss Panero said: ″Conservative, there’s no doubt about it. He’s very conservative.″

Scalia, 50, a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard University Law School, was born here March 11, 1936, the only child of Catherine Panaro Scalia, a school teacher, and S. Eugene Scalia, a Brooklyn University professor of romance languages.

His parents lived in Ewing Township when they died within 10 days of each other last winter. Scalia’s father described him as a gifted child in an interview published by The Times of Trenton shortly before his death.

″He was good at anything he did. He played the piano when he was very young and I wondered how he managed to do so well and practice so little,″ the father said.

″He picked up the guitar in nothing at all. The minute I put him on a bicycle he took off, ’whoosh,‴ the elder Scalia said.

Scalia graduated first in the class of 1953 at St. Francis Xavier High School, then a Jesuit military academy in New York City.

″There was Scalia and there were the other kids,″ said Thomas Campion, a New Jersey trial lawyer who has been friendly with Scalia since the two attended Xavier.

Former New Jersey Attorney General James Zazzali, who attended Georgetown with Scalia, described him as ″not just bright. He was unbelievably brilliant.″

After law school, he worked for a private law firm in Cleveland and then taught at three universities.

He served in the Nixon and Ford administrations and Reagan named him to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington in 1982.

Scalia married Maureen McCarthy in 1960 and they have nine children.

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