- Hardcover: 608 pages
- Publisher: West; 1 edition (June 19, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031427555X
- ISBN-13: 978-0314275554
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Justice Scalia is well known, but Bryan Garner, the co-author and the editor of Black's Law Dictionary, is less so. They have collaborated on a prior book, The Art of Persuading Judges, which I liked, and I like this book even more. I don't think it is intended to be read cover-to-cover like the prior book, but as a condensation of the principles of constitutional and statutory interpretation, it is unrivaled. You could read cases for decades and not get as clear an understanding of how to interpret them as you would from thumbing through this book while attempting to interpret a particular statute.
The first 51 pages, which include the Introduction and Principles Applicable to All Texts fall into the category of exposition on theories of interpretation. It is humorous in places. For example, at one point the authors quote from a constitutional scholar who says "the language structure, and history of law serve best as mediums [sic.] of restraint rather than excuses for intrusion." The use of the Latin abbreviation "sic." for "sic erat scriptum" or "thus was it written" leads you to punchline contained in the footnote which says "unless the passage refers to clairvoyants, media is the proper term." I'm not sure if that is Scalia's or Garner's work on display, but I still found it funny.
In short, it is recommended for anyone who must interpret statutes. I consider it more a reference than an exposition, but one that save readers gobs of time when deciding what a statute does, or should mean.
Then I read yesterday's WSJ review on Justice Scalia's and Mr. Garner's book "Reading Law" (I wish Amazon would give reviewers a little more control in utilizing underlining or italics.) I bought a copy last night and have not been able to put it down.
This book is a goldmine for drafters of legal documents. The fundamental, semantic, syntactic, and contextual canons are not only fascinating to read, but are providing eminently practical drafting guidelines that have me intellectually hopping for joy. This book has already taken its place within handreach of my beloved Ninth Edition Black's Law Dictionary (thank you, Mr. Garner), my Chicago Manual of Style (thanks again for Mr. Garner's contributions), and my battered twenty-year-old Roget's Thesaurus.Read more ›
But Reading Law is not just for attorneys. Every American should read this book, in part to create accountability among judges at every level of government. Every American should know how judges should interpret the vast array of statutes and regulations now so deeply embedded in the fabric of American life. Judges should read it, obviously. So should legislators, many of whom are legal laymen needing better understanding of how their legislation should be read and it should fit within the template of federal and state constitutions. Yet, ordinary Americans, those whose lives and livelihoods are later judged against legislative standards may need this book even more, to anticipate how they will be judged and, later, to comprehend why.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Scalia and Garner offer concise, articulate, reasoned discussions on reading and interpreting law. Very practical examples help drive home the theories. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
A very informative book. One need not be a lawyer or even a law student to be able to comprehend what the book says.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Tough read. I'm really not smart enough to plow through it but for the adventurous, go for it.Published 3 months ago by Not Mark Twain