Bench Memos

“Murphy’s Law”

From the new issue of National Review (available to digital subscribers here), that’s the title of my review of Bruce Allen Murphy’s Scalia: A Court of One. Here are the opening and closing paragraphs of my review:

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong: So goes Murphy’s Law. And so demonstrates another Murphy, Lafayette College professor Bruce Allen Murphy, in his new biography of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia (for whom I clerked more than two decades ago).

Murphy sets out to show how Scalia’s political views, religious faith, and personality have influenced his judicial decisions and speeches. But instead of the sophistication and nuance such an undertaking would demand, Murphy delivers a cartoonish and incompetent account.…

Not everything in Murphy’s book is inept or unfair, and there are some chapters, especially on Scalia’s formative years and his career before joining the Court, that are interesting despite Murphy’s heavy-handed intrusions. But Murphy is such an unreliable guide that the reader will have no idea when he can be trusted.

(Links to my full series of posts about Murphy’s book are available here.)

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