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Antonin Scalia's Jurisprudence: Text and Tradition Hardcover – February 6, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

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"In this masterful study, Rossum not only elucidates Scalia's theory of textualism and originalism, but shows how it plays out in a wide range of situations. Makes a persuasive case that Scalia's influence--like that of other great dissenters--may well reach its height among the next generation of lawyers."

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"In this masterful study, Rossum not only elucidates Scalia's theory of textualism and originalism, but shows how it plays out in a wide range of situations. Makes a persuasive case that Scalia's influence-like that of other great dissenters-may well reach its height among the next generation of lawyers."--Mary Ann Glendon, author of The Transformation of Family Law

"An insightful examination that captures the intellectual flair that Justice Scalia brings to his interpretive quest."--Kenneth W. Starr, author of First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life

"Far and away the best description of Scalia's jurisprudence."--R. Shep Melnick, author of Between the Lines: Interpreting Welfare Rights

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (February 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700614478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700614479
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Seth Cooper on April 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Accomplished scholar Prof. Ralph Rossum has penned a well-crafted book analyzing the legal opinions and writings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The result is a solid read about how Justice Scalia views the role of a judge and how he sees himself. At least, Rossum gives his own take on how Justice Scalia sees himself. Obviously, the only person who truly knows how he sees himself is Justice Scalia.

One of the two most interesting chapters is Chapter 2: "Text and Tradition." It summarizes Justice Scalia's textualist approach to statutory and constitutional interpretation. In short, when deciding a given case, the plain meaning of the words contained in statutes or constitution provisions matters. Where the plain text is unclear, a jurist should consult the tradition behind the text to understand what the words mean to those who adopted it. The original understanding of the text rather than any original or even secret intent should be controlling. Justice Scalia's approach is tied to an emphasis upon the democratic decision-making process as the basis for legitimate exercise of governmental authority. Not judicial adventurism and second-guessing of democratic decision-making evidenced by statutes and constitutional provisions.

This book is not lengthy. Nor is it written at a highly technical level. So although Rossum indicates on pg. 37 that Justice Scalia "simply has not developed a well-thought-out understanding of the principles of democracy," Rossum does not elaborate much on the point. One will just have to consult law review articles and the like for more in that regard.

The other chapter making for the most interesting reading is Chapter 3: "Constitutional Structure and Separation of Powers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Monica Bordas on April 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book to read along side of Scalia's A Matter of Interpretation if you really want to get a great perspective on Scalia's formalism, textualism, and originalism. Rossum is obviously pro-Scalia. But he does include others' criticisms and then attempts to rebut it when he can. Other times, he will admit when there is no answer, though that is rare. Overall, it is not a hard read, it is not too long. If you want to understand Scalia and his jurisprudence/philosophy then this is a good book to get a perspective on it along side to his own book where you hear it from the horse's mouth and four critics.
This was a very helpful research tool for me.
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