Ethics & Public Policy Center

Justice Scalia: The Right — and Wrong — Ways to Interpret Legal Texts



EPPC Senior Fellow Henry Olsen provided the introduction and moderated the question and answer session for a book forum featuring Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Before an audience at AEI, Justice Antonin Scalia delivered valuable insights into the interpretive methods by which judges should decide constitutional statutory cases and attorneys should argue them. Distilling his comprehensive book on legal interpretation titled “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” Justice Scalia explained why, in his view, constitutional interpretation must be rooted in the document’s meaning as understood at the time of its adoption. If interpreters stray from this originalist approach, the meaning of the document becomes subject to individual whims.

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