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Book Review: Scalia Dissents

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I have just finished reading Scalia Dissents by Kevin Ring. I bought this book myself because of the upcoming confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Judge Roberts. I wanted to see what Scalia’s judicial philosophy really was since he was being used as the model for picks by President Bush.

This book has commentary by the writer, interspersed with the actual writings of Supreme Court Justice Scalia. I now know why everyone touts Scalia as a brilliant man and jurist. I can only hope that Judge Roberts’ judicial philosophy is similar.

Ring lays out the Scalia philosophy in a manner that is easy to read and understand. He points out how witty and prophetic he is in his writings. He does this with Scalia’s own words.

Scalia’s philosophy can be broken down into simple terms. He believes in the strict separation of powers between the branches. He believes you cannot totally discern the intent, nor should you. You have to look at what is actually written in the law and the meanings of those words at the time they were written. He is a textualist. He believes that courts should not change the law even if it is a bad law. He believes fixing bad law is the job of Congress, not the courts. That does not mean you cannot overturn a bad law. You should only do that though if it goes against the Constitution.

He is also a great believer in not using foreign law. The use of foreign law takes you out of interpreting our Constitution at that point. It also is circumventing the other two branches of our government. I have to totally agree with him there, and I hope Judge Roberts does as well.

I highly recommend this book to those going into law, or who just want to understand how a judge at any level should think and interpret the laws they have to judge. It is an excellent book to read.

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About Lennie

  • Marvellously brief synopsis of Scallia’s judicial thought, Lennie! Thanks for sharing that with us.

  • I read the book and just saw Justice Scalia speak at Chapman University. I have posted his more memorable comments on my site.

    Glad you enjoyed Scalia Dissents as much as I.

    Take care.

  • I wonder if the President will move Scalia to the Chief Justice post, now that Rehquist has died?

  • I sure hope he moves Scalia up. I think it would be great for the Country.

    Thanks for the quotes Richard. I’m going to link that post.

  • I’m starting to hear “CJ-SCOTUS Alberto Gonzales” noises again…

  • Andrew G.

    Justice Scalia is against foreign law?

    That’s hilarious!

    His father was a foreign language professor in NYC and he attended university in Switzerland.