Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived.

Author:Miller, Mark
Position:Book review

Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived

Edited by Christopher J. Scalia and Edward Whelan

When we remember Justice Antonin Scalia--or most any Supreme Court justice, living or dead--what we recall usually revolves around what the justice wrote in an important majority opinion or memorable dissent. Christopher J. Scalia, Scalia's eighth of nine children, and Edward Whelan, attorney and former Scalia law clerk, expand our understanding of Justice Scalia beyond the law reports by giving us Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived. The work, a collection of the late justice's memorable speeches, provides a thoughtful glimpse into what Scalia believed made a life well-lived.

The editors organize the speeches into six sections: the American people and ethnicity; living and learning; faith; law; virtue and the public good; and heroes and friends. Too many themes run through the speeches to list them all here, but his belief that friendship should cross party lines comes up again and again. To make that point, Scalia shares an anecdote about President William Howard Taft, who also served as chief justice of the Supreme Court. Taft, who Scalia held in high regard, always greeted his opponents, like labor leader Samuel Gompers, with a broad smile and warm handshake. Scalia notes "[h] ow much better that is than calling [one's political opponent] ... a reptilian bastard." Scalia's close relationship with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who graciously penned the foreword for this work) demonstrates that Scalia did not just pay lip service to this idea. As he put it: "I attack ideas. I don't attack people."

In his introduction to the collection, Christopher shares one of his father's favorite ways of describing the "living Constitution" approach to judging. Justice Scalia, of course, rejected that interpretive method in favor of "originalism" or "textualism."...

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