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Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court's Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice Hardcover – October 7, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing; First Edition edition (October 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895260530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895260536
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Brilliant. Colorful. Visionary. Tenacious. Witty. Since his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1986, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has been described as all of these things and for good reason. He is perhaps the best-known justice on the Supreme Court today and certainly the most controversial. Yet most Americans have probably not read even one of his several hundred Supreme Court opinions. In Scalia Dissents, Kevin Ring, former counsel to the U.S. Senate’s Constitution Subcommittee, lets Justice Scalia speak for himself. This volume—the first of its kind— showcases the quotable justice’s take on many of today’s most contentious constitutional debates, including: * Affirmative Action "In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American." * Religious Freedom "A priest has as much liberty to proselytize as a patriot." * Judicial Activism "No government official is ‘tempted’ to place restraints on his own freedom of action, which is why Lord Acton did not say ‘Power tends to purify.’" * Abortion "It thus appears the mansion of constitutionalized abortion law, constructed overnight in Roe v. Wade, must be disassembled doorjamb by doorjamb…"

Scalia Dissents contains over a dozen of the justice’s most compelling and controversial opinions. Ring also provides helpful background on the opinions and a primer on Justice Scalia’s judicial philosophy.

Scalia Dissents is the perfect book for readers who love scintillating prose and penetrating insight on the most important constitutional issues of our time.

About the Author

Kevin A. Ring was a former counsel to then-Senator John Ashcroft and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Constitution, Federalism, and Property Rights Subcommittee. He graduated with honors from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America. He is currently a partner at Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Washington, D.C. and resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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This is a wonderfully written book.
J. Aubrey
Ring's choice of Scalia's opinions is excellent and his summary of the issues at hand makes the text accessible to all.
David Cirasuolo
I had read the book before I ordered, so I knew what I was getting.
Steven William Lambson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By David Cirasuolo on October 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Despite your political affiliation, this book captures the essence of Scalia's opinion and biting wit. While the prospect of reading a collection of legal rulings seems like a sure fire way to defeat insomnia, Scalia Dissents surprises by enlightening the reader on the issue and how Scalia interprets each with flair. Ring's choice of Scalia's opinions is excellent and his summary of the issues at hand makes the text accessible to all. Big thumbs up!
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Interested Reader on October 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that makes a very difficult subject, the United States Constitution and an even more controversial Supreme Court Justice, Scalia, easy to read and understand. Ring has taken selected issues and presented them at three levels: The first level, the issue itself i.e. Abortion or Free Speech etc. and is his own words describes the issue. At the second level he has taken the specific case that relates to the issues and explains, in plain easy to understand language, the essence of the particular case. Finally he lets Scalia speak for himself with the actual text of Scalia's opinions written for the specific decision. You do not have to be a Constitutional Scholar to gain an understanding of the issues, the Supreme Court cases or Scalia's decisions. Actually Ring makes it fun to read about the law of the land. A must read for students of the U.S. Constitution.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By SupremeLawGirl on October 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The beauty of this book is that you dont need to know, or care, about the inner workings of the legal system to find this book both highly amusing and informative. Scalia's opinions have some of the most subtle and biting witticisms since (maybe) Shakespeare. Supreme Court rulings have an important affect on our daily lives, but youd be hard pressed to find anyone who can quote a passage or a court case in what the mainstream might consider a social setting. I'd bet youd find this author there though, and be pretty entertained throwing some of Scalia's quips around. Highly highly recommended
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Gelfand on January 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am a HUGE Scalia fan and agree with him on most constitutional and statutory questions, in addition to loving his sense of humor and wit. But for the life of me, I can't imagine why anybody would want to spend money on this book. The book is simply a handful of truncated Scalia opinions without the majority opinions to which he's responding.

All of these opinions can be accessed for free in their COMPLETE form from any number of legal websites (such as FindLaw, for instance). More importantly, those websites, unlike Ring's book, include the majority and concurring opinions in those cases, giving the reader at least the option of seeing what Scalia's opposition actually wrote.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ginny Maskinrug on October 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ring delves deep into Scalia's well-thought-out viewpoints while providing his own useful commentary. This is a surprisingly excellent read, both informative and historical.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia M. Clark on April 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This has to be one of the best books I've ever read - and I read A LOT of books. I've always been fascinated with US history and the founding of our country. I've also been a policial junkie for the past 25 years and recently made a mid-life career change and will be attending law school in the fall - so that may explain my interest in this book.

So many times over the years, the Supreme Court made decisions I couldn't understand. The mainstream media only reports the majority decision - not the dissenting opinions - so I thought maybe there was something in the Constitution I missed or didn't understand. Now I realize that I'm not alone - there is at least one Justice who believes that the job of the Supreme Court is to analyze an issue based on the original text and meaning (not "intent") of the Constitution - not to further social policies. If something is not addressed in that document - such as a phantom "right to privacy" - the SC should back off and let "we the people" and our elected legislatures make policy determinations, not 9 non-elected lawyers. If the people don't like something in the Constitution, or want something added to it, there is a specified way to change it.

This is a fascinating book and Scalia writes in a way that doesn't require any legal knowledge. His passion comes through in his writing, and he backs everything up with facts and/or appropriate analogies. I wish we had more like him on the Court, and fewer Justices who think they have the godlike right to effect social policy changes because of their personal feelings. Maybe then we could get rid of the farcical "litmus tests" on divisive issues like abortion for nominated Justices, and instead get some true Constitutional scholars.
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27 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Parsons on February 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In the dust jacket, the book purports to let "Justice Scalia speak for himself" and it sounds fairly neutral, praising his prose more than anything else.

Unfortunately, it quickly becomes clear this is more of a conservative love-fest, and at book's end, there is no longer any pretense at objectivity. Example: "In Scalia's America, freedom, democracy, and diversity would flourish...." Okaaaay.

There is no serious criticism of Scalia's opinions anywhere in the book. Which would be fine if this were truly a book that simply let Scalia speak for himself. But it isn't. Ring sings his praises at every turn, defends him against all his critics, and can seemingly find no fault with anything Scalia has ever said or written.

Many of Scalia's opinions in the book are actually very compelling, and he does have an acerbic wit. I found myself in complete agreement with Scalia in the ADA/PGA Golf Tour case, and I agreed in principle on his Affirmative Action and Death Penalty stances. So I'm not knocking this book because I dislike Scalia or his opinions. I simply think the book is operating under false pretenses.

When we get to Freedom of Speech, Ring mentions in passing that Scalia voted to uphold flag-burning as a form of speech, but doesn't explain how this passes Scalia's "originalism" test. Did Congress have flag-burning in mind when it adopted the First Amendment? If not, is there support for it in the country's legal and social traditions? If not, then how is it protected under "originalism"? Scalia avoided the question by silently joining the majority opinion. I'm guessing Ring avoided it because it didn't fit his conservative agenda.

Ring was more eager to discuss Hill v.
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