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06/18/2012

Scalia and Garner: The Interpretation of Legal Texts
Michael Ramsey

Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, by Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner, will officially be published June 19.  Here is the description from Amazon:

In this groundbreaking book by best-selling authors Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner, all the most important principles of constitutional, statutory, and contractual interpretation are systematically explained in an engaging and informative style-including several hundred illustrations from actual cases. Never before has legal interpretation been so fascinatingly explained. Both authors are individually renowned for their scintillating prose styles, and together they make even the seemingly dry subject of legal interpretation riveting. Though intended primarily for judges and the lawyers who appear before them to argue the meaning of texts, Reading Law is sound educational reading for anyone who seeks to understand how judges decide cases-or should decide cases. The book is a superb introduction to modern judicial decision-making. Justice Scalia, with 25 years of experience on the Supreme Court, is the foremost expositor of textualism in the world today. Bryan A. Garner, as editor in chief of Black's Law Dictionary and author of Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage, is the most renowned expert on the language of the law. Reading Law is an essential guide to anyone who wishes to prevail in a legal argument-based on a constitution, a statute, or a contract. The book is calculated to promote valid interpretations: if you have lame arguments, you'll deplore the book; if you have strong arguments, you'll exalt it. But whatever your position, you'll think about law more clearly than ever before.

Tony Mauro has this column in The National Law Journal: In Second Book, Scalia, Garner Warn Judicial Decisions Leading to "Descent into Social Rancor."  From the introduction:

A new book co-authored by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and legal writing expert Bryan Garner accuses judges – including some on the Supreme Court – of loose and unprincipled decisionmaking that has tarnished the reputation of the judiciary.

"The descent into social rancor over judicial decisions is largely traceable to nontextual means of interpretation, which erode society's confidence in a rule of law that evidently has no agreed-on meaning," the authors state. "Our legal system must regain a mooring that it has lost: a generally agreed-on approach to the interpretation of legal texts."

In the New York Times, Adam Liptak writes: Hints in New Scalia Book of Views on Health Law.  Notably, in Wickard v. Filburn, according to the book, "the Supreme Court 'expanded the Commerce Clause beyond all reason' by ruling that 'a farmer’s cultivation of wheat for his own consumption affected interstate commerce and thus could be regulated under the Commerce Clause.'"