Bench Memos

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Scalia and Garner’s Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts


On my return to my office, I’m very pleased to have discovered in my mail a copy of Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, co-authored by Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner.

I’ve barely had time to crack the book, but I did read and comment on an earlier draft (and am grateful to be included in the book’s acknowledgments). Based on that earlier read, I heartily concur in Seventh Circuit judge Frank Easterbrook’s assessment, in the book’s foreword, that the book is a “great event in American legal culture” and in Stanley Fish’s celebration of the book as “wonderful,” “compulsively readable,” and a source of “pleasure and illumination.” (Much of Fish’s New York Times blog post, I’ll note, is devoted to disputing the book’s case against intentionalist interpretation.)

Garner, as Easterbrook aptly puts it, is the “preeminent legal lexicographer of our time.” This is Scalia and Garner’s second book together. In 2008, they published Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.


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