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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: 1.2 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 (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,982 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

Scalia's position on Constitutional rights is very simple.
J. Aubrey
In Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court's Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice, attorney Kevin A. Ring collects some of the most memorable of these opinions.
Monty Rainey
I had read the book before I ordered, so I knew what I was getting.
Steven William Lambson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 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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24 of 30 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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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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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William H. Folk II on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Scalia Dissents is a great look at what our country should be based on...the rule of law and where the law should come from.

The author does a great job setting the scene for each case and then allowing Scalia's own words to define the character of this Supreme Court Justice. There is very little to say other than Scalia is a master of the written word!!

One can wonder what our country would look like if we had more Scalia's and fewer Souter's (now retired) on the Court. The author gives you a glimpse of this in the last few pages.
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36 of 52 people found the following review helpful By J. Aubrey on April 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfully written book. I haven't come across any writer who better explains the issues and Scalia's jurisprudence than Ring, including Scalia himself.

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.
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