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A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400882958
Pages: 200
Year: 2018-01-30
We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim—"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal—good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative. In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the “strict constructionism” that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly “smuggle” in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals. This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia’s ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints. In the spirit of debate, Justice Scalia responds to these critics. Featuring a new foreword that discusses Scalia’s impact, jurisprudence, and legacy, this witty and trenchant exchange illuminates the brilliance of one of the most influential legal minds of our time.
A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher:
ISBN: 0691174040
Pages: 176
Year: 2016-12-06
We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim--"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal--good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative. In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the "strict constructionism" that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly "smuggle" in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals. This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia's ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints. In the spirit of debate, Justice Scalia responds to these critics. Featuring a new foreword that discusses Scalia's impact, jurisprudence, and legacy, this witty and trenchant exchange illuminates the brilliance of one of the most influential legal minds of our time.
A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400822173
Pages: 176
Year: 1998-07-27
We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim--"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal--good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative. In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the "strict constructionism" that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly "smuggle" in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals. This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia's ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints. In the spirit of debate, Justice Scalia responds to these critics.
Reading Law

Reading Law

Author: Antonin Scalia, Bryan A. Garner
Publisher: West Group
ISBN: 031427555X
Pages: 567
Year: 2012
In this groundbreaking book, Scalia and Garner systematically explain all the most important principles of constitutional, statutory, and contractual interpretation in an engaging and informative style with hundreds of illustrations from actual cases. Is a burrito a sandwich? Is a corporation entitled to personal privacy? If you trade a gun for drugs, are you using a gun in a drug transaction? The authors grapple with these and dozens of equally curious questions while explaining the most principled, lucid, and reliable techniques for deriving meaning from authoritative texts. Meanwhile, the book takes up some of the most controversial issues in modern jurisprudence. What, exactly, is "textualism?" Why is "strict construction" a bad thing? What is the true doctrine of "originalism?" And which is more important: the spirit of the law, or the letter? The authors write with a well-argued point of view that is definitive yet nuanced, straightforward yet sophisticated.
Originalism

Originalism

Author: Steven G. Calabresi
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1596980605
Pages: 360
Year: 2007-08-21
What did the Constitution mean at the time it was adopted? How should we interpret today the words used by the Founding Fathers? In ORIGINALISM: A QUARTER-CENTURY OF DEBATE, these questions are explained and dissected by the very people who continue to shape the legal structure of our country.This is a lively and fascinating discussion of an issue that has occupied the greatest legal minds in America, and one that continues to elicit strong reactions from both those who support and those who oppose the rule of law. Steven G. Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society and professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law, has compiled an impressive collection of speeches, panel discussions, and debates from some of the greatest and most prominent legal experts of the last twenty-five years.
Scalia's Court

Scalia's Court

Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1621575330
Pages: 592
Year: 2016-04-04
The sudden passing of Justice Antonin Scalia shook America. After almost thirty years on the Supreme Court, Scalia had become as integral to the institution as the hallowed room in which he sat. His wisecracking interruptions during oral arguments, his unmatched legal wisdom, his unwavering dedication to the Constitution, and his blistering dissents defined his leadership role on the court and inspired new generations of policymakers and legal minds. Now, as Republicans and Democrats wage war over Scalia’s lamentably empty Supreme Court seat, Kevin Ring, former counsel to the U.S. Senate’s Constitution Subcommittee, has taken a close look at the cases that best illustrate Scalia’s character, philosophy, and legacy. In Scalia’s Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents, Ring collects Scalia’s most memorable opinions on free speech, separation of powers, race, religious freedom, the rights of the accused, abortion, and more; and intersperses Scalia's own words with an analysis of his legal reasoning and his lasting impact on American jurisprudence. “I don’t worry about my legacy,” Scalia once told an audience at the National Archives. “Just do your job right, and who cares?” Now that "the lion of American law has left the stage,” as the U.S. Attorney General put it, it is for the rest of America to worry about his legacy—and to care.
Freedom's Law

Freedom's Law

Author: Ronald Dworkin
Publisher:
ISBN: 0198265573
Pages: 427
Year: 1999
Written by the world's best-known political and legal theorist, Freedom's Law: The Moral Reading of the American Constitution is a collection of essays that discuss almost all of the great constitutional issues of the last two decades, including abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, homosexuality, pornography, and free speech. Professor Dworkin offers a consistently liberal view of the Constitution and argues that fidelity to it and to law demands that judges make moral judgments.He proposes that we all interpret the abstract language of the Constitution by reference to moral principles about political decency and justice. His `moral reading therefore brings political morality into the heart of constitutional law. The various chapters of this book were originally published separately and are now drawn together to provide the reader with a rich, full-length treatment of Dworkin's general theory of law.
Law's Empire

Law's Empire

Author: Ronald Dworkin
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674518365
Pages: 470
Year: 1986
A renowned legal scholar presents a theory of law based on Anglo-American legal principles and practices, juridical interpretations, legal precedence, and a forcefully argued concept of political and legal integrity
The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia

The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia

Author: James Brian Staab
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0742543110
Pages: 369
Year: 2006-01-01
The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia explores the similarities in political and constitutional thought between Justice Antonin Scalia and Alexander Hamilton and concludes that Hamilton holds the key to understanding Justice Scalia's past, present, and future decisions. From the fundamental premises of human nature to federalism, James B. Staab uses comparisons between the two men to find the underlying judicial philosophy that connects Justice Scalia's manifold decisions.
Active Liberty

Active Liberty

Author: Stephen Breyer
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307424618
Pages: 176
Year: 2007-12-18
A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.For Justice Breyer, the Constitution’s primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution’s lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Justice Antonin Scalia and the Conservative Revival

Justice Antonin Scalia and the Conservative Revival

Author: Richard A. Brisbin, Richard A. Brisbin, Jr.
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801860946
Pages: 488
Year: 1998-09-01
As the leading legal voice of the American conservative movement, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has challenged the assumptions and legal methodology of American liberals. In this thorough and exacting study of the development of Justice Scalia's legal principles, Richard Brisbin explores the foundation and elaboration of the justice's conservative political vision. After reviewing Scalia's legal experiences before joining the Supreme Court and describing the influences on his political and legal thought, Brisbin undertakes a detailed analysis of Scalia's Supreme Court voting record and opinions. The conservative philosophy emerging from Scalia's legal decisions, Brisbin argues, assumes the legitimacy and propriety of political regimes functioning under the rule of law. It disciplines—sometimes harshly—inappropriate uses of liberty and accepts the proposition that the law can serve as an effective means to structure, interpret, and control political conflicts. The most comprehensive study of Justice Scalia's politics and jurisprudence yet published, Justice Antonin Scalia and the Conservative Revival joins a vital discussion on contemporary American conservatism and the use of the law to restrain or undermine the New Deal state.
Antonin Scalia's Jurisprudence

Antonin Scalia's Jurisprudence

Author: Ralph A. Rossum
Publisher:
ISBN:
Pages: 298
Year: 2006
"This book is the first comprehensive, reasoned, and sympathetic analysis of how Scalia has decided cases during his entire nineteen-year Supreme Court tenure. Ralph Rossum focuses on Scalia's more than 600 Supreme Court opinions and dissents - carefully wrought, passionately argued, and filled with well-turned phrases - which portray him as an eloquent defender of an "original meaning" jurisprudence. He also includes analyses of Scalia's Court of Appeals opinions for the D.C. Circuit, his major law review articles as a law professor and judge, and his provocative book, A Matter of Interpretation."--BOOK JACKET.
Scalia Speaks

Scalia Speaks

Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher:
ISBN: 0525573321
Pages: 420
Year: 2017
"By any measure, Antonin Scalia lived an extraordinary life. A Supreme Court justice for three decades, he transformed the way that judges and lawyers think about the law. Married to his beloved Wife, Maureen, for more than fifty years, a father to nine children, and a grandfather to dozens, he was devoted to his family and his faith. He was gregarious, energetic, and a friend to people of all political stripes. Over his career, Justice Scalia delivered Hundreds of speeches across the country and throughout the world. Scalia Speaks collects for the first time his best speeches, covering topics as varied as the law, faith, virtue, pastimes, and his heroes and friends. Featuring a foreword by longtime friend Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and an intimate introduction by his youngest son, this volume includes dozens of speeches, some deeply personal, and nearly all of which have never been published before. Americans have long been inspired by Justice Scalia's ideas, delighted by his wit, and instructed by his intelligence. Scalia Speaks enables readers to encounter the man in full--to understand the legal insights that made him one of the most important justices in the Court's history and to learn from his broader insights into a life well lived. This timeless book is perfect for any reader interested in a man and mind that helped shape our nation."--Jacket.
American Original

American Original

Author: Joan Biskupic
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
ISBN: 1429990015
Pages: 448
Year: 2009-11-10
The first full-scale biography of the Supreme Court's most provocative—and influential—justice If the U.S. Supreme Court teaches us anything, it is that almost everything is open to interpretation. Almost. But what's inarguable is that, while the Court has witnessed a succession of larger-than-life jurists in its two-hundred-year-plus history, it has never seen the likes of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Combative yet captivating, infuriating yet charming, the outspoken jurist remains a source of curiosity to observers across the political spectrum and on both sides of the ideological divide. And after nearly a quarter century on the bench, Scalia may be at the apex of his power. Agree with him or not, Scalia is "the justice who has had the most important impact over the years on how we think and talk about the law," as the Harvard law dean Elena Kagan, now U.S. Solicitor General, once put it. Scalia electrifies audiences: to hear him speak is to remember him; to read his writing is to find his phrases permanently affixed in one's mind. But for all his public grandstanding, Scalia has managed to elude biographers—until now. In American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the veteran Washington journalist Joan Biskupic presents for the first time a detailed portrait of this complicated figure and provides a comprehensive narrative that will engage Scalia's adherents and critics alike. Drawing on her long tenure covering the Court, and on unprecedented access to the justice, Biskupic delves into the circumstances of his rise and the formation of his rigorous approach to the bench. Beginning with the influence of Scalia's childhood in a first-generation Italian American home, American Original takes us through his formative years, his role in the Nixon-Ford administrations, and his trajectory through the Reagan revolution. Biskupic's careful reporting culminates with the tumult of the contemporary Supreme Court—where it was and where it's going, with Scalia helping to lead the charge. Even as Democrats control the current executive and legislative branches, the judicial branch remains rooted in conservatism. President Obama will likely appoint several new justices to the Court—but it could be years before those appointees change the tenor of the law. With his keen mind, authoritarian bent, and contentious rhetorical style, Scalia is a distinct and persuasive presence, and his tenure is far from over. This new book shows us the man in power: his world, his journey, and the far-reaching consequences of the transformed legal landscape.
51 Imperfect Solutions

51 Imperfect Solutions

Author: Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190866063
Pages: 288
Year: 2018-05-07
When we think of constitutional law, we invariably think of the United States Supreme Court and the federal court system. Yet much of our constitutional law is not made at the federal level. In 51 Imperfect Solutions, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton argues that American Constitutional Law should account for the role of the state courts and state constitutions, together with the federal courts and the federal constitution, in protecting individual liberties. The book tells four stories that arise in four different areas of constitutional law: equal protection; criminal procedure; privacy; and free speech and free exercise of religion. Traditional accounts of these bedrock debates about the relationship of the individual to the state focus on decisions of the United States Supreme Court. But these explanations tell just part of the story. The book corrects this omission by looking at each issue-and some others as well-through the lens of many constitutions, not one constitution; of many courts, not one court; and of all American judges, not federal or state judges. Taken together, the stories reveal a remarkably complex, nuanced, ever-changing federalist system, one that ought to make lawyers and litigants pause before reflexively assuming that the United States Supreme Court alone has all of the answers to the most vexing constitutional questions. If there is a central conviction of the book, it's that an underappreciation of state constitutional law has hurt state and federal law and has undermined the appropriate balance between state and federal courts in protecting individual liberty. In trying to correct this imbalance, the book also offers several ideas for reform.