Scalia: A Court of One

Bruce Allen Murphy. Simon & Schuster, $35 (656p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9649-6
Justice Antonin Scalia is fighting a losing battle to put his conservative stamp on the Supreme Court, according to this penetrating biography by historian Murphy (Wild Bill). The book reveals a smart, ebullient, gleefully argumentative man with an intellect and militancy honed by Jesuit educators. Scalia's "originalist" juridical philosophy is based on close, sometimes tortured, readings of the Constitution. The author argues that Scalia's uncompromising abrasiveness has alienated even court conservatives—especially his nemesis, the erratic, sentimental Justice Anthony Kennedy. Murphy also suggests that rather than providing a neutral, consistent rule book for interpreting the Constitution, Scalia's originalism is a morass of biased "law-office history" that amounts to "just another tool to reach whatever ideological result that a judge preferred." He probes Scalia's evolving ideas through detailed recaps of his judicial opinions on controversial issues from abortion and gun control to gay marriage, along with accounts of behind-the-scenes court politicking and extensive (sometimes rambling) quotations from the justice's speeches; Scalia's entertainingly tactless public utterances are also sampled. Murphy's thoughtful analysis of Scalia's intellectual journey shows just how difficult it is to straitjacket the Constitution within a narrow interpretation. Photos. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/07/2014
Release date: 06/10/2014
Show other formats
FORMATS
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-1-4516-1146-5
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.