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Publisher's Summary

Brilliant. Colorful. Visionary. Tenacious. Witty.

Since his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1986, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has been described as all of these things, and for good reason. He is perhaps the best-known justice on the Supreme Court today and certainly the most controversial. Yet most Americans have probably not read even one of his several hundred Supreme Court opinions.

Collecting the writing of the Supreme Court's most outspoken and controversial justice, the author here presents speeches, rulings, and opinions that reveal Scalia's wit and intelligence, both on the bench and off.

©2004 Kevin A. Ring (P)2012 Regnery Publishing

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 06-10-14

Interesting insight into Justice Scalia

I thought this book was written by Antonin Scalia but in fact only the inserted section of the dissent is written by Scalia the story is actually written by Kevin A Ring. The book is his narrative about Scalia’s witty words in his dissents. The book provides a brief summary of Scalia’s life. He was born in Trenton New Jersey. Graduated from Georgetown University obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School. He worked for six years in private practice in Cleveland then was a professor of law at University of Chicago. He was appointed Assistant Attorney General under Nixon and Ford. In 1982 President Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC circuit. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia to the Supreme Court. Scalia was the first Italian-American Justice and is a devote Catholic. The book was promoted to be about Scalia’s witty and scathing writing but I feel I learned more about Scalia the Justice. In the book Scalia explains his advocacy of textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in Constitutional interpretation. He says he uses these rules of interpretation in every case as a guide to his decisions. He says he is a strong defender of the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. Ring stated that Scalia gets more laughs during oral arguments and any other justice. Scalia states he has obtained dictionaries from the 1770 so he can better understand what the words meant to the people who ratified the Bill or Rights and the Constitution. He also obtains dictionaries from the time constitutional amendments were made as he stated the interpretation must be based on the mean of the words at the time of ratification. Scalia opposes the idea of a living constitution or the powers of the judiciary to modify the meaning to adapt to changing times. Scalia has voted to strike down laws on abortion, environmental protection, civil rights, affirmative action, race and gender discrimination. He vigorously defends the first amendment and the fourth amendment and the death penalty. After reading this book I feel I understand Scalia better and how he interprets the Constitution. Wyntner Woody did a good job narrating the book.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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A great compilation of Scalia's writings!

I has suspected as much from Antonin Scalia! He's a remarkable intellect, and a great justice! There are many facets of American life that would be better had he been in the majority, instead of the minority!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Interesting logic

If I learned anything, it is that Scalia is a more diverse thinker than I ever knew. As a critic on some of his decisions, I walk away with a profound sense of respect for the time he took to communicate the intricacies of the law.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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SCOTUS Made Simple

A wonderful mind explains in understandable terms with wit and style the often incomprehensible reasoning (which is not to imply reason or logic) of the Supreme Court on major topics such as federalism, protected speech, capital punishment, abortion, race, religion, judicial overreach and separation of powers. The format is for Kevin Ring, the author, to summarize each major topic, then summarize Judge Scalia's general reasoning about that topic, and finally to let the judge speak for himself using excepts from his written opinions, which are, delightfully, the majority of the book's content.

I thought the reader could have slowed his pace a bit.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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interesting subject matter, the reading was odd

What made the experience of listening to Scalia Dissents the most enjoyable?

good material

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

the performance was odd. the reading style seemed to change at intervals without any real relevance to the material. like the reader took a week off here and there, then didn't remember his tone from before. I haven't noticed that in other audible products.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Freedom Dissents

Freedom Dissents, Scalia has the back of freedom in America ! The Scalia views are the in accordance with our founding fathers and the constitution that are the bases of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Excellent, well presented book

What made the experience of listening to Scalia Dissents the most enjoyable?

The expository about how decisions are made to decide landmark cases and the refutation of all his critics.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The scholarly and consistent approach

If you could give Scalia Dissents a new subtitle, what would it be?

"and deftly addresses his critics"

Any additional comments?

Great listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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a must listen for all

Scalia was one of the most truthful and open judges of the past two generations. Do youself a favor and listen to this book to help get an idea of what law *is* and how it should be decided.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Since Marbury v. Madison the Supremes Get a Say

Any additional comments?

This book is a lucid look into the workings of the last stop for many Constitutional questions here in America. Even if you disagree with Scalia's findings, you will find it difficult to argue with the logical thread as it evolves from first principles to final finding for each of these interesting vignettes. There is a good chance you will learn a new way of looking at some of the important questions facing American society today.

As a Constitutional Originalist, Scalia's dissents are elegant in their dismemberment of the Loose Constructionist positions taken by other members of the Court where new methods of constitutional review or areas of judicial oversight can be, and are, created from whole cloth without a solid foundation in the US Constitution. Judicial Pragmatism as an argument for loose interpretation of the Founder's intent carries no discernible weight with this elegant and articulate writer.

Scalia's use of history, original intent and longstanding jurisprudence bring clarity to many of the issues under discussion in these pages. I found the book a fascinating listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 02-15-16

Justice Antonin Scalia died yesterday

After 30 years on the US Supreme Court Antonin Scalia died yesterday at age 79. This book was released 11.5 years ago but was updated in 2012 so it does cover most his career. Like him or not, Scalia was a judicial giant and one of the most intelligent people ever to serve in the US government.

Scalia did not write this book although he is listed as the author. The book discussed his early years and quotes very extensively from his dissenting opinions on important cases. The book does not quote from any of his majority opinions. Scalia's style, wit, and rhetoric is on full display in this book.

The great value of the book is in explaining the Scalia method of constitutional and law interpretation. He called it "textualism". Textualism is different from originalism and conservatism. Scalia's method was rational and consistent; that statement cannot be made about any other recent Supreme Court Justice, not even Thomas or Alito (the two who come closest).

The US Constitution did not intend for the Supreme Court to become political, yet most of the current members vote their political beliefs rather than interpret the Constitution. Maybe the time has come to change the Constitution to make Supreme Court members answerable to voters serving 12 or 18 year terms rather than be appointed for life. The current system is not working and the death of Antonin Scalia means it will work less well in the future.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful