Scalia on Interpreting the Law

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has a new book out on interpreting legal texts, which I would like to force every American judge to memorize like a fraternity pledge memorizing the names and majors of the upperclassmen, spanking them with a giant paddle when they recite it incorrectly.

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.

What!? Loose-cannon judges making decisions without regard for the meaning of the law? You’re kidding! Tell me more.

“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.”

Yeah, I can see how it could be helpful if the law always meant the same thing no matter which judge was reading it. But where’s the fun in that?