Bench Memos

“This Is Not a Good Book”

In a perceptive review in the Wall Street Journal, law professor Joshua Hawley provides that gently stated bottom-line assessment of Bruce Allen Murphy’s laughably incompetent new biography of Justice Scalia.

Among other things, Hawley points out, Murphy “shows an alarming willingness to bend the facts to fit his caricature,” “substitutes amateur psychologizing” in place of historical analysis, and spews charges that “are either unsubstantiated, purely ad hominem or … simply untrue.” Indeed, even “to call the book a ‘biography’ is overgenerous,” as Murphy, having failed to do any interviews or other original research, “never manages to place [his] discrete snippets [about Scalia] into anything resembling a historically informed portrait of the justice’s life.”

In the several opening and closing paragraphs that sandwich his review, Hawley provides vastly superior insight into Scalia’s jurisprudence and influence than you’ll find in the hundreds of pages of Murphy’s hash of confusion.

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

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