Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Happy Constitution Day!

This 233rd anniversary of the Constitutional Convention’s unanimous promulgation of the Constitution is also the 34th anniversary of the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Antonin Scalia’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I’m pleased to highlight three new pieces out today on The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law, the just-released collection of Justice Scalia’s legal work that I had the privilege of co-editing with Sixth Circuit judge Jeffrey Sutton (and that I introduced in this post on Tuesday).

In his excellent review at Law & Liberty, law professor John McGinnis writes that The Essential Scalia is “essential for anyone who studies law.” Plus, “[b]eyond its theoretical interest, The Essential Scalia is great fun because Scalia was undoubtedly the wittiest Supreme Court justice in history.”

Mark Pulliam also has an outstanding review at Law & Liberty:

The curated excerpts from opinions, articles, and speeches read like essays, allowing Scalia’s distinctive voice to ring clearly without distraction. They are a joy to read. In this, the third sampler drawn from Scalia’s vast corpus, Sutton and Whelan have succeeded in producing a comprehensive summary of Scalia’s inimitable writing style and forcefully-expressed judicial philosophy.

And Judge Sutton draws on his great introduction for the book to provide an insightful overview in this piece for Fox News. Here’s a passage that would have Justice Scalia chuckling:

How inspiring in these polarized times that many Americans, and nearly all American judges, know that Justice Scalia attended one opera after another with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and taught Justice Kagan how to hunt.

Who can say what showed more collegiality: enduring 35 years of long, difficult-to-follow operas, or teaching a potential adversary how to use a gun?

I will provide a signed and inscribed bookplate for The Essential Scalia to anyone who buys the book by the end of today. If you would like a bookplate, please send an email to with (1) proof of purchase, (2) your mailing address, and (3) the name of the person(s) to whom the book should be inscribed. (If you buy multiple copies, I will happily provide a bookplate for each.)


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