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To University of Utah law Professor Paul Cassell, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was one of a kind.

"He was one of the most brilliant jurists that has ever served on the Supreme Court," said Cassell, who clerked for Scalia in 1984 and 1985, when the justice was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Cassell, a former federal judge, said Saturday that Scalia will be remembered "for revitalizing some very important doctrines, such as interpreting law in accord with its text and interpreting our constitution in accord with its original meaning."

Scalia believed a statute should be interpreted according to its original meaning and not its legislative history, Cassell added.

He also said Scalia was skeptical that important evidence in criminal trials should be excluded because of a technical error and his goal was for truth in the courtroom to prevail.

Off the bench, Scalia was also larger-than-life, according to Cassell, who described the justice as gregarious and friendly.

"He was a very big-hearted person," Cassell said.

A few other Utahns got to hear Scalia's legal philosophies in person. In 2008, he spoke at Utah State University.

Scalia urged the audience to regard the Constitution as "static," and said jurists should confine themselves to interpreting the document.

"I'm questioning the sanity of having value-laden decisions being made by unelected judges," Scalia said in Logan. "Nothing I learned at Harvard or in my practice of law qualifies me to decide whether there is a right to abortion or to assisted suicide."

Other Utahns praising Scalia Saturday included Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who was in Senate when it confirmed Scalia in 1986.

Hatch on Saturday called the late justice "a giant of the law and a true patriot."

"As a scholar and a jurist, he led a much-needed revolution in the law, based on the enduring principle that the role of a judge is to say what the law is, not what the law should be," Hatch said. "His opinions, filled with unmatched wit, will continue to shape our nation for decades to come."

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee offered "deepest condolences to the Scalia family."

"Justice Scalia was one of the greatest Supreme Court justices of all time," Lee's statement added. "His intellect was admired by Americans of all political persuasions and his consistent fidelity to the text and original meaning of the Constitution have transformed the way we all approach the law."

Rep. Mia Love said on Twitter that she was very sad to hear of Scalia's death. She added that he "will be missed as a champion of the Constitution and rule of law."

Rep. Chris Stewart tweeted: "My heart breaks for my county. Scalia will be missed by millions of Americans. But senate must not allow this Pres to seat his replacement."

And Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said Scalia was an unwavering defender of the rule of law and the Constitution.

"Justice Scalia was a titan of the legal community and leaves an indelible legacy on the high court," Reyes said.

Reporter Thomas Burr contributed to this report.

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC