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Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court's Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice Hardcover – October 7, 2004
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Scalia Dissents contains over a dozen of the justices most compelling and controversial opinions. Ring also provides helpful background on the opinions and a primer on Justice Scalias 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
In the first chapter, Ring clearly and crisply summarizes Scalia's interpretive methodology. The rest of the book is divided into various topics, such as separation of powers, abortion, race, religion, etc. Ring briefly explains the issues of selected cases in each topic, followed by excerpts from Scalia's (generally dissenting) opinions.
Ring's greatest achievement is avoiding polemics entirely. This is emphatically not just a book for conservatives. It's just as much for liberals who actually believe in democracy. Ring keeps his eye on the ball by emphasizing that the central issue is separation of powers (a judicial issue), not whether a policy result is good or bad (a legislative issue). In Scalia's view, separation of powers is even more important than the bill of rights in securing our liberties. Congress cannot usurp executive or judicial powers, the President cannot usurp legislative or judicial powers, and the Supreme Court cannot usurp legislative or executive powers.
Scalia's position on Constitutional rights is very simple. If the text of the Constitution does not explicitly protect the right and there was no tradition of protecting the right when the Constitution was ratified, it is not Constitutionally protected and that's the end of the analysis. If the right is to be protected, it's up to the elected members of Congress or the state legislatures, not five unelected life tenured lawyers. Any other methodology, such as one founded on the "living" Constitution or "evolving standards of decency," is nothing more than a legislative power grab.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It probably is a very good book...provided the reader is an experienced attorney. Stated differently, written by an attorney for attorneys.
That said, I'm a big fan of Scalia.
I'm a great supporter of Scalia but the book was composed by an attorney who only communicates with attorneys!Published 7 months ago by James L. Hasselbach
It's the typical Scalia stuff, edited to present the Justice's most snide and over-preening manner. If you're new to Supreme Court jurisprudence, I'd recommend starting with a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lucy
Scalia is an interesting character. I was hoping the book would be an educated and critical look at his opinions with respect to legal traditions. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Niall
no matter what you think of his ifeology or his politics Justice Scali is consistent as the day is long. He's a hell of a writer!!Published on August 9, 2013 by Craig Hatkoff
I needed a starting point for some great Supreme Court constitutional interpretation opinions. This book made my search extremely easy.Published on April 22, 2013 by Laurie Buchanan