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11/03/2017

Great Reviews for "Scalia Speaks"
Michael Ramsey

Some highly positive reviews for "Scalia Speaks," the newly published collection of Justice Scalia's speeches edited by Christopher Scalia and Ed Whelan:

In the New York Times, from Alan Dershowitz, here, with this conclusion:

Liberal constitutional lawyers will continue to debate Justice Scalia many years after his death, because when it comes to jurisprudence, he was the most transformative jurist of our generation. His views cannot be ignored. That is his enduring legacy. But he was more than an influential justice. He was a great man, who lived life to the fullest — as a devout Catholic, a proud Italian-American, a devoted family man, a loyal friend, and a person of humor and culture who fondly remembered his roots in Queens and New Jersey. “Scalia Speaks” gives us a glimpse of the man, as I came to know and respect him, despite — no, because of — our arguments.

At SCOTUSblog, Ronald Collins: Justice Scalia’s living words.

If one would know Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, one must read his memorable speeches, especially his Civil War addresses. The same holds true for Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia: If you would know Scalia the man, read “Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived.” In this volume, Christopher Scalia (one of the justice’s sons) and Edward Whelan (law clerk to Scalia for the October 1991 term) give posthumous voice to the late justice by way of a collection of 48 thematically organized speeches delivered between 1984 and 2014. The book’s eight parts – concerning law, life, learning, faith, virtue, friendship and more – show this immigrant son as an American proud of his heritage. Whatever side of the ideological divide one stands on, it is hard not to take heed of what Scalia said in a 1986 speech, the one offered up as the lead in this anthology:

[O]ur attachment to and affection for our particular heritage does not drive our society apart, but helps to bind it together. Like an intricate tapestry, the fabric of our society is made up of many different threads that run in different directions, but all meet one another to form the whole. 

And then this: “[W]e should not fail to be grateful for what America has given to us. It has given us, first and foremost, a toleration of how different we were when we came to these shores.”

That ethos echoes through the book, as Scalia speaks about the nation he loved, the education he valued, the courage of others he esteemed, the faith he cherished, the law and freedom he treasured, and the heroes and friends he venerated. Whether in a speech to students at his alma mater (Xavier High School in New York City), or in his remarks at Wesleyan University (to deliver the Hugo Black Lecture on freedom of expression), or in his words to members of B’nai B’rith in Washington, D.C., time and again the voice of the man leaps from the pages.

At Law360 (subscription required), Judge William Pryor has a review that begins:

For those who will forever celebrate the life and career of the late Justice Antonin Scalia or for those who simply want to learn more about this giant of American law, one of Justice Scalia’s sons, Christopher, and one of his former law clerks, Edward Whelan, have teamed up to publish an indispensable collection of the late justice’s best speeches ...

In today's Wall Street Journal (also subscription required), University of Virginia law professor (and former Scalia clerk) John Duffy has this review; at NRO Ed Whelan has excerpts, including:

This marvelous book surely will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the mind of this great jurist and conservative thinker. But I would go further and say that it should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the mind of a great American, a figure so important to our history that his passing influenced the presidential election held months later. If Scalia Speaks can be said to have one fundamental flaw—one shared with the man’s life—it is that it ends too soon.

(Thanks to Ed Whelan for pointers).